Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation and consumer sentiment along with weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
Inflation Rate Unchanged in July
According to the government’s Consumer Price Index, month-to-month inflation did not rise in July as compared to June’s reading of 1.30 percent growth. Analysts expected a reading of 0.20 percent inflationary growth. Inflation rose by 8.50 percent year-over-year against expectations of 8.70 percent year-over-year growth and June’s year-over-year inflationary growth of 9.10 percent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.30 percent month-to-month in July. Analysts expected a core inflation rate of 0.50 percent month-to-month in July based on June’s reading of 0.70 percent growth.
Core inflation rose by 5.90 percent year-over-year in July; analysts expected a reading of 6.10 percent based on June’s year-over-year reading of 5.90 percent.
Lower gas prices contributed to slower inflation, but analysts said there were no guarantees of ongoing reductions in fuel prices.
Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported higher average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 23 basis points to 5.22 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by 33 basis points to 4.59 percent and the average rate for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages rose by 18 basis points to 4.43 percent. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.00 percent for 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages.
Initial jobless claims rose to 262,000 new claims filed as compared to the expected reading of 264,000 first-time jobless claims filed. and the previous week’s reading of 248,000 initial claims filed. Continuing jobless claims also rose with 1.43 million ongoing jobless claims filed as compared to 1.42 million continuing jobless claims filed in the previous week.
The University of Michigan published its preliminary consumer sentiment index for August. Consumer sentiment rose to an index reading of 55.10 as compared to the expected reading of 52.50 and July’s index reading of 51.5. Index readings above 50 indicate that a majority of consumers surveyed had a positive view of current economic conditions.
This week’s scheduled economic releases include readings on home prices, sales of previously-owned homes, along with reports on building permits issued, housing starts, and data on retail sales. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be published.