The Federal Open Market Committee adjourns from its 6th scheduled meeting of the year today, and 7th overall.
Upon adjournment, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will release a formal statement to the market. In it, the Fed is expected to announce “no change” to the Fed Funds Rate.
Currently, the Fed Funds Rate is within a target range of 0.000-0.250 percent. It’s been at this same level since December 2008.
Note that the Feds Funds Rate is not “a mortgage rate” — nor is it a a consumer rate of any kind. The Fed Funds Rate is a rate that defines the cost of an overnight loan between banks. And, although the Fed Funds Rate has little direct consequence to everyday Chicago homeowners, it is the basis for Prime Rate, the interest rate on which most consumer cards are based, plus many business loans, too.
Therefore, because the Fed Funds Rate won’t change today, neither will credit card rates. Mortgage rates, however, are a different story. Mortgage rates should change today — regardless of what the Fed does.
It’s more about what the Fed says.
In its statement, the Federal Reserve will highlight strengths and weaknesses in the economy, and threats to growth over the next few quarters. Depending on how Wall Street interprets these remarks, mortgage rates may rise or fall.
If the Fed’s comments signal better-than-expected growth, bond markets should lose and mortgage rates should rise. Conversely, if the Fed’s comments signal worse-than-expected growth, mortgage rates should fall.
If you’re actively shopping for a mortgage, it may be prudent to lock your rate ahead of the Fed’s announcement today. The Fed adjourns at 2:15 PM ET. Call your loan officer to lock your rate.
The Fed meets 8 times annually.