News of a trade deal with Mexico and a wide range of major economic data caused some volatility this week. The net effect of all the news was minor, however, and mortgage rates ended just slightly higher.
Since consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., the retail sales data is a closely watched indicator of growth each month, and the most recent report revealed that spending has been solid this year. In May, retail sales increased a healthy 0.5% from April, and the results for April were revised significantly higher. Forecasts for second quarter GDP, the broadest measure of economic growth, were raised following this report.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for U.S. goods and services. Despite the strength in consumer spending and the labor market seen this year, the most recent data revealed that core inflation has been holding steady. Core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, rose less than expected in May. It was just 2.0% higher than a year ago, down from an annual rate of increase of 2.1% last month.
Over the weekend, trade officials announced that a deal with Mexico had been reached and proposed tariffs set to begin on June 10 will be postponed indefinitely. Regarding the negotiations with China, there was little fresh news this week except that talks are expected to resume on June 28 at the G20 summit.
Looking ahead, the big story will be Wednesday’s Fed meeting. No change in rates is expected, but investors will be watching for hints that a rate cut may take place later this year. It will be a light week for economic data. Housing Starts will be released on Tuesday and Existing Home Sales on Friday. In addition, news about the trade negotiations may influence mortgage rates.
|Fri||6-21||Existing Home Sales|