Federal Reserve raises rates another .25 percent, revises projections for 2019
Along with rising interest rates by another quarter point, the Federal Reserve also released revised economic projections for 2019: GDP growth declined from 2.5% to 2.3%, PCE core inflation rose from 2.0% to 2.1%, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.1%, and the Federal Funds rate declined from 3.1% to 2.9% as the pace of increases is expected to slow.
November Leading Economic Index rose 0.2 percent, but pace of growth slowing
The LEI increased 0.2 percent to 111.8 in November, but its overall pace of improvement has slowed in the last two months. Despite the recent volatility in stock prices, the strengths among the leading indicators have been widespread. Solid GDP growth at about 2.8 percent should continue in early 2019, but the LEI suggests the economy is likely to moderate further in the second half of 2019.
Mortgage applications fall 5.8 percent, rates drop to lowest level in three months
The Market Composite Index decreased 5.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, with purchase loans falling 7.0 percent and refinance activity slipping 2.0 percent. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to its lowest level since September 2018, 4.94 percent.