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Archive for December, 2008

US Trade Gap Narrows and Mortgage Market Heats Up

Friday, December 19th, 2008

The US trade gap narrowed in the third quarter to just over $174 billion (4.8% GDP) from a downwardly revised $180.9 billion (5.1% GDP )in the second quarter. After a long dry spell, mortgage applications began to increase last month. The mortgage rates being offered were so low that almost everyone who’s not in a state of negative equity could benefit. Lending standards have tightened, so there are many individuals who can’t benefit from the low rates, or the market stimulus that came from the Fed’s pledge to buy billions of dollars of mortgage bonds. The Fed’s rate cut to near zero has put the dollar at near record lows against the Japanese Yen which has also stimulated the mortgage market. All in all, the  application activity index maintained by the Mortgage Bankers Association rose 2.9 percent to a 841.4 (seasonally adjusted) in the week ending December 12.