Interest Rate Roundup

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

callin' it in from home today

Ugh. Nothing more fun that waking up to a sick kid. Since I'll be taking care of my littlest girl today, I'm not planning much in the way of posts. A few things that caught my eye, though ...

* The Mortgage Bankers Association's purchase application index fell back below the 400 mark in the most recent week. Its 4/13 reading of 396.5 is the lowest since the week of 2/16 (381.4). Before that, we haven't seen a reading this low since the week of 12/22 (390.2).

* The U.S. dollar continues to be the world's doormat, with the British pound breaking through the $2 level yesterday before consolidating some of those gains today. The New Zealand dollar also touched 20+ year highs.

* What's going on? The U.S. Fed is afraid to raise rates, despite the fact inflation is well above its stated comfort zone, because the housing market is in the toilet. Meanwhile, both economic growth and inflation is surging overseas. So, foreign central banks are hiking interest rates. That's driving sovereign yields above U.S. yields in some countries, and closing the gap between foreign yields and U.S. yields in others. As a result, capital is migrating to foreign countries and away from the U.S. dollar.


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