Last week’s economic reporting included readings on inflation, consumer sentiment, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
Inflation Rate Holds Steady in July
Month-to-month inflation rose at a pace of 0.20 percent in July and met analysts’ expectations. There was no change in the pace of month-to-month inflation from June’s reading of 0.20 percent growth. The Consumer Price Index also reported that year-over-year inflation reached 9.10 percent, which was the highest reading since reaching a 40-year high in mid-2022.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel prices, was unchanged from June’s month-to-month pace of 0.20 percent growth. July’s month-to-month reading matched analysts’ expectations. Year-over-year core inflation dipped slightly to 4.70 percent in July as compared to June’s reading of 4.80 percent year-over-year inflation.
Federal Reserve leaders said that they would continue monitoring domestic and global economic developments along with financial and economic data before determining whether or not to raise the Fed’s key interest rate range.
Mortgage Rates, Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported higher mortgage rates for the third consecutive week. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage approached seven percent and rose by six basis points to 6.96 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages rose by nine basis points to 6.34 percent.
248,000 initial jobless claims were filed last week, which surpassed expectations of 231,000 new claims filed and the previous week’s reading of 227,000 first-tine jobless claims filed.
University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey
In other news, the University of Michigan released its monthly preliminary reading on U.S. consumer sentiment.
Consumer sentiment rose to an index reading of 72.0 in August as compared to the July reading of 71.6. The majority of.consumers surveyed indicated that the economy improved in the three months leading up to the survey., Component readings included consumer sentiment index readings for current economic conditions and economic conditions within the next six months. The survey reading for consumer sentiment about economic conditions over the next six months fell to an index reading of 67.3 from the July reading of 68.3 Readings over 50 indicate that most consumers are confident about current economic conditions.
Joanne Hsu, the University of Michigan’s director of consumer surveys, said: “…In general, consumers perceived few differences in the economic environment from last month, but they saw substantial improvement relative to just three months ago.”
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes reading on housing starts and building permits issued, the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s recent meeting of its Federal Open Market Committee, and weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims.