The government shutdown had a nominal effect on markets and no effect on rates. Another shutdown is possible February 8th, the new deadline for a deal. The dollar slumped this week, its biggest weekly decline in 18 months. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says a weaker dollar could boost U.S. trade though. Jobless claims were up from last week’s 45-year low, but still lower than expected. The labor market continues to tighten with near full employment.
Existing home sales were down 3.6% in December from November, but were up 1.1% year-over-year. A lack of supply of homes on the market played a role. New home sales were also down in December, blamed partly on unseasonably cold temperatures. However, new home sales were 14% higher than a year ago. Rising mortgage rates have spurred more buyers off their couches and into the market. Mortgage applications were up 4.5% over last week, 6.1% over last year.