Weekly Economic Review: “Reasonable” to Believe Rate Hike in June Less Likely, Jobless Claims Fall Sharply

Posted by Laine Smith on 4/13/15 8:00 AM

Topics: Economy

With a light economic calendar of reports released last week there is little change to report in the economic world. Mortgage rates ended the week with a minimal increase.

Weekly_Economic_Review__4-13-15

Mortgage applications surged for a third week, up to their highest level since July 2013. This is the latest positive sign out of the housing sector. Year-over-year, the index for mortgage applications is up a strong 12 percent.

Thursday’s release of Jobless Claims showed initial claims fell sharply in the March 28 week, down 20,000. Next to a reading in January, this is the lowest reading since April 2000. The drop pulls the 4-week average to 285,000, the lowest reading since November 2014. The total number of people collecting unemployment fell to its lowest level since 2000.

The Minutes from the March 18 Fed meeting contained no surprises, though it revealed that “several” Fed officials supported a rate hike of federal funds in June. Weaker-than-expected economic data caused Fed President William Dudley to project that it is “reasonable” to believe the Fed is less likely now to support a proposed June rate hike. Further gains in the labor market, stabilization of energy prices and a “leveling out” of the value of a dollar would need to occur before a rate hike, according to meeting minutes.

Last week in the economy:

  • The S&P 500 started the week at 2,067, increasing 1.7% and ended the week at 2,102.
  • Mortgage rates (the national average) saw a minimal increase of 0.02% (2 basis points). 
  • According to Tuesday’s JOLTS report, job openings at the beginning of March was 5.1 million, the highest level since 2001.
  • Consumer Credit showed a $3.7 billion decline in revolving credit – the 4th decline in 5 months – reflecting consumer reluctance to finance purchases with credit card debt.
  • Mortgage Applications were up 7% the week of April 3.
  • Initial Jobless Claims was down 20,000 to 268,000.

What's on the economic calendar for the week of April 13, 2015:

  • Tuesday: Retail Sales will be released.
  • Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications and Housing Market data will be released.
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims and Housing Starts will be issued.
  • Friday: Consumer Price Index will be updated.

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