The escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing dominated discussions at the G-7 gathering in France.Politicsread more
The latest round of tariff announcements in the last few days means that by the end of the year, essentially all Chinese goods exported to the U.S. will be subject to duties.China Economyread more
Futures fell after Trump said the U.S. will raise tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese imports, increasing trade tensions.Marketsread more
As Washington and Beijing continue to up the ante in their protracted trade fight, the potential of a recession in the U.S. is now "the biggest concern," according to Standard...US Economyread more
Tensions stemming from the U.S.-China trade war escalated sharply over the last few days, with much happening as Asian markets were shut down for the weekend.China Economyread more
Clouding the G-7 gathering, which represents the world's major industrial economies, are the tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing.Politicsread more
Neither the U.S. nor China wants to be seen as the party that derailed trade talks, says William Reinsch of Center for Strategic and International Studies.World Economyread more
China said Friday it will be resuming 25% duties on U.S. autos, and a further 5% on auto parts and components.Asia Marketsread more
World leaders, environmental groups and celebrities have publicly decried the vast swaths of forest being destroyed by the fires.World Newsread more
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung says the Singapore government has been preparing for the challenge of an aging workforce "for the past 20 years."Employmentread more
Megvii is known for its facial recognition technology and while revenue grew over 350% in 2018, its losses have widened.Technologyread more
Rising interest rates and rising home prices are cutting into mortgage demand, as fewer consumers have the incentive to refinance or buy a home.
Total mortgage application volume slipped 0.4 percent last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted report. Volume now stands 24 percent lower than a year ago.
With interest rates now considerably higher than they were a year ago, applications to refinance have nowhere to go but down. They decreased 2 percent week to week and are down just over 40 percent from a year ago. Refinance volume has been falling for the past month as interest rates inch slightly higher.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of $424,100 or less increased to 4.12 percent from 4.11 percent, with points increasing to 0.45 from 0.40, including the origination fee, for 80 percent loan-to-value ratio loans.
"Rates moved higher over the course of last week, at least partially due to signs of stronger economic growth. Four of the five mortgage rates that we track increased," said Joel Kan, an MBA economist.
Mortgage applications to purchase a home are still running well below historical averages and moved just 1 percent higher for the week. They are nearly 5 percent higher than a year ago, but home sales have been weakening for five of the past six months, indicating a slowdown in the overall housing market. That is due less to rising interest rates and more to a lack of homes for sale and higher prices.
One telling sign that first-time buyers are struggling most is a sharp drop in purchase applications for FHA loans, down 8 percent from a year ago. FHA offers a low down payment of just 3.5 percent, making it the loan of choice for first-time or lower-income borrowers. The supply of homes for sale is tightest at the low end of the market, unfortunately where demand is the highest today.
Demand for adjustable rate mortgages is also rising. ARMs offer lower interest rates. Last week, the average rate on a five-year ARM fell to just 3.30 percent. As buyers struggle increasingly to afford a monthly payment, they are choosing these options. ARM rates are fixed for a designated period but then change according to broader market rates.