AgentIndustry News

Fed on a mission to slow economy

Rate hikes should curb energy-induced inflation

Interest rates at all maturities rose last week were crossing important divides Friday morning, pushed by the prospect of more Fed tightening ahead, perhaps a lot more. Low-fee mortgages are still below 6 percent, but a deteriorating 10-year T-note suggests six-plus shortly. Current and forward-looking economic data are garbled into uselessness by Katrina/Rita. In an economy as large as ours, there is no way to isolate the storms' impact from the baseline of national economic activity. Pre-storm reports still trickling in contradict expectations for a late-summer slowdown: August orders for durable goods rebounded strongly from July. However, this week's employment data for September and purchasing managers' indices – the most important data in any month – won't tell us a thing. In the vacuum, markets are trading on suppositions about the impact of energy cost, and consequences for the Fed. The near-dominant forecast holds that energy prices will inevitably knock consumer...