No recommendation until tomorrow. All eyes are on the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee today. At 2:15PM (EDT), 11:15 (PDT), they will release their interest rate decision and statement. The fixed income securities market believe there is a 43% chance that the Fed will RAISE rates to stifle inflation in August and that there is a 61% chance that the hike will come in November.
The eyes will be on the Fed’s commentary, though:
”We expect the Fed to keep the funds rate at 2% today but to shift to a more hawkish statement by placing more emphasis on inflation over growth risks,” strategists at Credit Suisse wrote in a research report. “The Fed will likely use this meeting as an opportunity to set the stage for a potential rate rise in August.”
If the Fed signals that rates could rise as early as August, expect mortgage rates to jump .25% higher, from today’s 6.375% 30 year fixed rate, over the next few weeks. If the Fed signals rate hikes are “possible” as a way to fight inflation, expect rates to stay level through in July (6.25% to 6.5%).
Finally, if the Fed shifts back to its anti-recessionary talk, we could see rates drop down to 6%.
As you can see, there are a lot of “ifs”. This is why today’s Fed commentary is all important. The Fed’s ambiguity has traders convinced that higher rates are a foregone conclusion.
Here’s the silver lining hidden in this dark cloud; mortgage rates are equal to what they were in July, 2007. The Fed Funds rate was at 5.25%, then.
Today, the Fed funds rate is at 2.25%. What that means is that mortgage rates SHOULD be able to withstand some 5-6 rate hikes and stay under 7%.
Alas, markets are discounting mechanisms. We still think there is a lot of risk to higher mortgage rates until the commodities bubble bursts.
Brian Brady is the Managing Director of the Mortgage Leaders Division of World Wide Credit Corporation, America’s #1 Mortgage Broker lending in 43 states.