Updated on January 16, 2019 10:09:38 AM EST
There is no relevant economic data being released today. December’s Retails Sales report was scheduled but delayed due to the government shutdown. It is a very important measurement of consumer spending that often causes movement in the markets and mortgage rates. This particular release would have included highly important holiday shopping figures. We can consider this the biggest economic report to be affected by the shutdown so far. There will be another next week if there is no progress in Washington D.C. As the shutdown continues, it raises the possibility of the Fed and market traders not getting enough data to accurately gauge the status of the economy. The longer the shutdown goes on, the more impact it is going to have on the markets and mortgage rates.
The Federal Reserve will post their Beige Book at 2:00 PM ET this afternoon. This report is named simply after the color of its cover and details economic conditions throughout the U.S. by Fed region. Since the Fed relies heavily on this info during their FOMC meetings, its results can have a fairly big impact on the financial markets and mortgage rates if it reveals any surprises. Of particular interest is information regarding inflation, unemployment or future hiring. If there is a reaction to the report, it will come during mid-afternoon trading.
We will not get to see December’s Housing Starts (new home groundbreakings) tomorrow because of the shutdown. But we will get last week’s unemployment figures at 8:30 AM ET. It is expected to show that 221,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week, up from 216,000 the previous week. Rising claims are a sign of a softening employment sector, meaning the higher the number of initial filings, the better the news it is for mortgage rates. This is only a weekly snapshot, so its impact on mortgage rates is usually minimal at best. However, with more reports being delayed, we could see a bit stronger reaction to these results than we usually do.
©Mortgage Commentary 2019