Long-term Treasury rates broke out of a month-long range...upward, and today above last November's two-year high at 4.68 percent. Mortgage damage is modest for now, fixed-rate loans still within sight of 6.25 percent, but we are going higher. The source of pressure is global, having nothing to do with new domestic economic data. The rate rise on Thursday was, if anything, limited by weakish news: February retail sales disappointed, consumer confidence continued to sag, home sales slid for the fourth-straight month, and long rates rose anyway. Global: the European Central Bank raised its cost of money for the second time, from 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent, and signaled that more hikes are coming. Inflation in Germany is running 2.7 percent; all modern central banks are trying to hold it below 2 percent. Global: Japan's consumer prices appear to have risen for the first time in a half-dozen years. During that time the Bank of Japan has kept the cost of money at zero, trying to get out o...
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