Long-term interest rates are sitting on a six-month low, the 10-year T-note at 4.75 percent and low-fee 30-year mortgages at 6.5 percent. The reasons that these rates are so low are not the widely advertised pre-recession or housing collapse. The biggest recent help to long rates is the authentic collapse in commodity prices: oil is $62.70 this morning, natural gas $4.85 (10 bucks below last winter), wholesale gasoline $1.53 (which should put retail at $2.20 or less within two months), and gold is in freefall at $573 (down from $730 in May). Aside from improving the inflation outlook, the big drop in energy costs will relieve household budgets. As is, consumption has not faltered much: August retail sales were forecast to decline and instead rose. Probably the largest force pushing down ...
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