Mortgage bond prices had another volatile week with rates rallying midweek as the additional Treasury debt was absorbed well. Foreign demand for the shorter-term auctions was surprisingly strong
while the longer-term auction was average. The US Treasury auctioned $963 billion of debt the first half of this year and is expected to offer $1.1trillion in he second half. Weekly jobless claims were not as bad as expected which didn't help mortgage bond
prices. However, falling oil prices helped ease inflation fears and enabled mortgage bond prices to increase, which pushed rates lower. Oil was under $60/barrel last Thursday morning. For the week interest rates improved by about 1/2 of a discount point.
The consumer price index data Wednesday will be the most important data this week. Signs of inflationary pressures from any of the data releases will not bode well for mortgage interest rates.
The Federal Open Market Committee decided in December of 2004 to reduce the lag time between the open market committee meeting and the release of the minutes from six to eight weeks to only three
weeks. The minutes from the meeting have the ability to cause mortgage interest rate volatility because they provide more policy details than the standard post meeting release. Most importantly the minutes provide the Fed's complete economic analysis and the
various opinions of individual Fed members. There is typically an overwhelming consensus among the members. However, there can also be dissension, which often causes uneasiness in the financial markets. The release often comes and goes without much uproar
but keep in mind that if any of the text seems troubling to analysts you can see market volatility.
Remember that mortgage interest rates remaining historically favorable. Capitalizing on current levels is wise amid the recent economic instability across the globe. Inflation fears could be stoked with continued Middle East tension and hurricane season heading
our way. Inflation, real or perceived, generally does not bode well for mortgage bonds and could cause rates to rise.