According to statement issued at the conclusion of today’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting, committee members decided against raising the target federal funds rate. Mixed economic conditions, slower economic growth in the 4th quarter and low inflation contributed to the decision against raising rates. The target federal funds rate was raised in December to a range of 0.25 to 1.59 percent after remaining at 0.00 to 0.25 percent for several years. While rising fed rates were expected to cause a hike in mortgage rates, mortgage rates fell after December’s rate hike.
After prolonged speculation by economic analysts and news media, the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates for the first time in seven years. Committee members voted to raise the target federal funds rate to a range of 0.25 to 0.50 percent from a range of 0.00 to 0.25 percent to be effective December 17.
Last week’s scheduled economic releases included reports on job openings, retail sales and consumer confidence in addition to usual weekly releases on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.
Last weekâs economic events included reports the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index, Housing Starts and the release of minutes for the most recent meeting of the Fedâs Federal Open Market Committee. The details:
Last week’s scheduled economic news was sparse due to no scheduled releases on Monday and the Veterans Day Holiday on Wednesday. A report on job openings was released on Thursday along with regularly scheduled weekly reports on jobless claims and Freddie Macâs report on mortgage rates.
Last week’s economic reports included releases on construction spending and several labor-related reports including ADP payrolls, Non-Farm payrolls, average hourly earnings and weekly jobless claims. Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates rose as the national unemployment rate decreased to 5.00 percent.
A number of economic reports released last week indicate mixed economic progress. The 20-City Home Price Index showed that August home prices rose, but New Home Sales dropped in September. The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve indicated that it may reserve the target federal funds range at its next meeting in December.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) / Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reported that home builder confidence rose by one point to a reading of 62 for September. This was the highest reading since November 2005, when the NAHB reported a reading of 68 for home builder confidence.
A short week after the Labor Day Holiday provided a slack schedule for economic news. Bloomberg reported that residential investment for the second quarter of 2015 represented 3.34 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Compared to the long-term average reading of 4.56 percent, analysts said that the Q2 15 reading suggested pent-up demand in the housing market that could help propel the economy through any setbacks that could occur when the Fed raises rates.
The stage was set in high suspense for FOMC’s post-meeting announcement on Wednesday. As fall approaches, analysts and the media are looking for any sign of when and how much the Fed will raise its target federal funds rate. According to CNBC, some analysts were projecting two interest rate hikes before year end, but the truth of the matter remains unknown until the Federal Open Market Committee announces its intentions.