Mortgage Market Update
This week brings us the release of only one piece of monthly economic data for the markets to digest, but we will also get the minutes from last month's FOMC meeting and quite a few Fed member appearances. Even though it appears there isn’t much to watch, we still may have a relatively active week for mortgage rates.
February's Factory Orders data will start the week's activities late tomorrow morning. This data is similar to the Durable Goods Orders report that was released the week before last, except it includes orders for both durable and non-durable goods. It will give us another measurement of manufacturing sector strength and is considered to be only moderately important to the bond and mortgage markets. Therefore, unless it varies greatly from forecasts of a 0.6% decline, I suspect that the data will have a minimal impact on tomorrow's mortgage rates.
Neither Tuesday nor Wednesday have any data that we need to be concerned with. Wednesday afternoon has the minutes from the March 15-16 FOMC meeting. Market participants will be looking at them closely as they give us insight to the Fed's current thought process and individual Fed member opinions regarding future monetary policy moves, particularly the size of the Fed’s next rate increase. Any surprises in the 2:00 PM ET release could cause afternoon volatility in the markets Wednesday and possible changes in mortgage pricing. This meeting included revised economic projections and a press conference, so the likelihood of getting that surprise has been minimized.
There are a high number of Fed member speaking engagements scheduled this week. With little else to drive trading, those speeches should draw plenty of attention, especially if Ukraine headlines don’t point towards a significant change in the conflict.
Overall, no day stands out as a clear candidate for most active day for rates. Wednesday afternoon has the potential to be it if the minutes give us a big surprise. Even though this week's calendar is light compared to recent weeks, it still would be prudent to be attentive to the headlines and market movement if floating an interest rate and closing soon.