Mortgage rates rose over the last week, surging higher on positive trade developments before retreating slightly in recent days.
Rates remain historically low, but it appears that they are in the midst of a rebound after months of strong downward momentum. Bond yields have been steadily rising over the last month and a half, as a combination of improving economic conditions and easing trade tensions have encouraged investors to resume their pursuit of riskier assets.
Trade talks between the U.S. and China have been warming, and reports that they had agreed to cancel some tariffs drove bond yields, and thus mortgage rates, higher. Those agreements were later walked back, but yields retreated only slightly as investors remained hopeful that the talks were progressing, albeit somewhat erratically.
Looking ahead, Friday brings the latest test of these improving economic conditions in the form of October's retail sales data release. A repeat of last month's disappointing release might be enough to break rates' recent upward momentum.
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