Banks and the Economy

Mortgage Rates Take Downward Turn

The rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4 percent this week, down from last week’s 4.04 percent, Freddie Mac said today. At this time last year, the 30-year FRM rate averaged 4.17 percent.

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CPI Increases on Higher Energy Prices

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.4% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, led by sharp increases in prices for gasoline. Prices are unchanged from one year ago, a slight improvement from the 0.1% decline reported last month.

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Fed Holds Steady

Though the Committee noted that economic activity has expanded moderately after the first quarter, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee in its June meeting reaffirmed its view that the current 0% to 0.25% target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate.

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Industrial Production Declines Again in May

Industrial production decreased 0.2 percent in May—the sixth consecutive month without a gain in the index. April’s reading was revised downward to 0.5 percent, but the rates for previous months were revised higher.

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Producer Prices Post Largest Gain Since 2012

Producer prices rebounded in May, climbing 0.5 percent, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, attributable to prices for final demand goods which rose 1.3 percent. This was the second monthly increase in the past six months. Producer prices fell 1.1 percent on a yearly basis.

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Retail Sales Climb in May

There were $444.9 billion of retail and food services sales in May (after adjustment for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences but not for price changes), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This level represented an increase of 1.2 percent from the previous month, and 2.7 percent from May of last year.

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