Mortgage Rates Focus Shifts from Fed News to Geopolitical Risk

After dipping by about 10 basis points in the middle of last week, mortgage rates recovered all of that drop and are now in line with where they stood a week ago, just shy of four-year highs. The average prime 30-year fixed mortgage rate quoted on Zillow stood at 4.29 percent on Wednesday.

Incoming economic news and Federal Reserve expectations have dominated market headlines in recent news cycles, but political/geopolitical developments once again seized markets’ attention this week. Growing uncertainty about the direction of U.S. trade policy has pushed up the near-term risks to the American economy. Abroad, the results of elections in Italy raise risks to the European economic outlook.

To be clear, Fed news was still in the background: In testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell moderated comments made earlier in the week implying a faster pace of interest rate hikes than had been expected, but Fed Gov. Lael Brainard gave a speech echoing Powell’s initial comments. In addition, reports of the likely candidates to fill the Fed’s currently open Vice Chair role point to a more hawkish tilt to the Federal Open Market Committee.

The main economic news due this week is Friday’s monthly jobs report. Absent a major disappointment, geopolitical news is likely to continue dominating the headlines.

The post Mortgage Rates Focus Shifts from Fed News to Geopolitical Risk appeared first on Zillow Research.