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The Weekly Mortgage Market Commentary

September 4th, 2017

This week brings us the release of only two monthly or quarterly reports that have the potential to affect mortgage rates. The stock and bond markets are closed Monday in observance of the Labor Day holiday and will reopen for regular trading Tuesday morning.

July’s Factory Orders data will start this week’s calendar late Tuesday morning. This report measures manufacturing sector strength and is similar to the Durable Goods Orders release the week before last, but includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods. It is expected to show a 3.2% decline in new orders. A larger than expected increase would be favorable for bonds, but I don’t see this data causing much movement in rates unless its results vary greatly from forecasts since the big-ticket products portion of the report was released already.

The Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book report at 2:00 PM ET Wednesday. This report details current economic conditions in the U.S. by Federal Reserve regions. It is believed to be a key source of data when the Fed meets for their FOMC meetings and is usually released approximately two weeks prior to each meeting. If it reveals any significant surprises or changes from the previous release, we may see movement in the markets and mortgage pricing as analysts adjust their theories on the Fed’s likelihood of raising short-term interest rates before the end of the year.

The final report of the week will be revised 2nd Quarter Productivity numbers that measure employee productivity in the workplace. Strong levels of productivity allow the economy to expand without inflation concerns. It is expected to show an upward revision from the previous estimate of a 0.9% increase. Forecasts are currently calling for a 1.2% annual rate, meaning productivity was stronger than previously thought. This would be positive news for the bond market and mortgage rates, but this report doesn't usually cause much movement in rates.

Overall, the most active day of the week will probably be Tuesday, but that is due to the weekend news of North Korea's nuclear bomb test, not because of the economic data. We would likely have seen a favorable move in bonds if the markets were open Monday. Since there is almost two days between the news and markets opening, we could see more of a subdued reaction. Still, the move Tuesday should be favorable to mortgage shoppers. Just how favorable will be determined if anything further transpires before Tuesday. The rest of the week carries the same importance and likelihood of volatility. Despite the lack of significant economic data, it still would be prudent to maintain contact with your mortgage professional if still floating and interest rate and closing soon.

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