Daily News 3/19/2015

March 19, 2015

Thursday – March 19

Federal Reserve members lowered forecasts for both economic growth and inflation in their monetary policy statement that was released yesterday. The March statement opened by saying that economic growth has somewhat moderated, which differs from the previously worded statement that economic activity is expanding at a solid pace. The Fed decreased projections on Gross Domestic Product, now to expand 2.3% to 2.7% this year, down from the of 2.6% to 3% in their December projections, while the core inflation forecast was lowered to a high of 1.4% from 1.8%. The Fed went on to say that “inflation is anticipated to decline further in the near term.”

Home loan rates continued to hover just above historic lows this week, as reported by Freddie Mac. The 30-year fixed conventional home loan rate edged lower to 3.78% with a 0.6 point added on top of the rate. The spring buying season is kicking off with low rates, which could lure in more buyers this year. If you are looking for a 15-year term, the rate is at 3.06, with a 0.6 point added on top. Mortgage rates continue to remain low due in part to support from the Federal reserve along with a soft patch of economic data in the past month.

Economic data as of late has hit a soft patch as the harsh weather in January, February and early March could have temporarily caused some problems across the country. The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index fell to 5.0 from the 5.2 registered in February and below the 6.9 that was expected. Within the report it showed that the employees index is well below the average reading of around 14 over the second half of 2014. In addition, there was a sharp drop in shipments, which fell to -7.8 in March, from the +8.1 in February.