Last week’s scheduled economic reports included preliminary monthly readings on inflation and consumer sentiment along with weekly reporting on mortgage rates and jobless claims.
University of Michigan Reports Slower Inflationary Growth
The University of Michigan predicted lower inflationary growth as December’s year-over-year reading for inflation fell to 4.6 percent from November’s year-over-year reading of 4.9 percent. This was the lowest inflation reading since September 2021. Analysts credited lower gasoline prices for slowing rapid inflation rates seen in recent months.
Falling gas prices also contributed to higher consumer sentiment levels reported in December’s edition of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index. Consumer sentiment rose to an index reading of 59.1 in December as compared to November’s reading of 56.8 and analysts’ expected reading of 56.5.
Component readings for current consumer sentiment data included consumer sentiment regarding current economic conditions and consumer views about economic conditions within the next six months. December’s index reading for consumer views of current economic conditions rose to 60.2 from November’s index reading of 58.8. The index reading for consumer views of economic conditions within the next six months rose to 58.4 from November’s reading of 55.6.
Mortgage Rates Fall, Jobless Claims Rise
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as the average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 16 basis points to 6.33 percent. The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by nine basis points to 5.67 percent.
First-time jobless claims rose to 230,000 claims from the previous week’s reading of 225,000 initial claims filed. Ongoing jobless claims also increased last week with 1.67 million continuing claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 1.61 million ongoing jobless claims filed.
This week’s scheduled economic events include reports on inflation, the post-meeting statement of the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee, and Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference after the FOMC statement.