For all of the talk about the slowdown in consumer spending, it appears that this Holiday Season was a winner. This morning’s Retail Sales report doubled economists’ expectations by showing 1.0% growth.
This is just one more inflationary pressure in the economy and makes it less likely that the Fed will lower the Fed Funds Rate in the next six months.
Strong economic growth tends to keep mortgage rates high and that helps to explain why mortgage rates are slightly higher this morning.In a "surprise" move, The Bank of England raised its benchmark by 0.25% to 5.250%. Only one of 50 economists surveyed had predicted the increase and its unexpected nature played a key role in moving mortgage rates higher today on this side of the pond.
The Bank of England is equivalent to our own Federal Reserve Bank. It issues debt (i.e. bonds) backed by a strong government and, therefore, the debt is considered to be guaranteed money.
This is its third rate hike since August.
Because global bond money tend to flow to higher relative returns (i.e. to England) from lower relative returns (i.e. the United States), we can assume that The Bank of England's move forced traders to sell U.S.-backed bonds and that pushed mortgage rates higher
It’s truly a global marketplace and this is one of the major reasons why it’s impossible to predict where interest rates are headed in the future. Just when you think you understand the U.S. market, a foreign nation makes an announcement that shifts the entire balance.