Last week’s economic reporting included readings on monthly and year-over-year inflation and the preliminary reading on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
Gas Prices Drive High Inflation in March
Consumers felt near-record pain at the pump in March as gas prices continued to rise. Month-to-month inflation increased by 1.20 percent in March as compared to February’s month-to-month inflation rate of 0.80 percent. Analysts expected inflation to rise by 1.10 percent in March. The extent of rapidly rising gasoline prices on inflation is evident when comparing readings for the Consumer Price Index and the Core Consumer Price Index, which excludes food and fuel prices. The month-to-month Core Consumer Price Index reading for March was 0.30 percent; analysts predicted a reading of 0.50 percent growth, which matched February’s reading.
Year-over-year Consumer Price Index readings showed 8.50 percent inflation, which exceeded the expected reading of 8.40 percent, and February’s year-over-year reading of 7.90 percent growth in inflation. The year-over-year core Consumer Price Index rose to 6.50 percent in March and matched analyst expectations based on February’s year-over-year core inflation reading of 6.40 percent.
Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claim Rise
Freddie Mac reported the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 28 basis points to 5.00 percent last week; rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.17 percent and were 26 basis points higher on average. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 3.16 percent and averaged 13 basis points higher than in the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.80 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 0.90 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.
First-time jobless claims rose to 185,000 new claims filed, which surpassed expectations of 172,000 new claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 167,000 new jobless claims filed. 1.48 million ongoing jobless claims were filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.52 continuing jobless claims filed.
The University of Michigan released its Consumer Sentiment Index for April with an index reading of 65.7 as compared to the expected index reading of 64.1 and the March index reading of 59.4.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders on housing markets, federal government readings on housing starts, and building permits issued. Weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.