US Mortgage Applications Drop For 3rd Week
Mortgage applications in the US fell 2.5 percent in the week ended March 19th, 2021, the third consecutive decline, mainly due to a 5.1 percent fall in home refinancing as higher mortgage rates started to dent the market. Meanwhile, applications to purchase a home rose 2.6%. “Purchase applications were strong over the week, driven both by households seeking more living space and younger households looking to enter homeownership,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “The average purchase loan balance increased again, both by quickening home-price growth and a rise in higher-balance conventional applications”. The average interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.36% from 3.28%, the highest since the beginning of June.
Fitch Revises Iraq’s Outlook to Stable
Fitch Ratings changed on Wednesday 24 March 2021 Iraq’s sovereign credit rating outlook to stable from negative and affirmed the debt grade at B-, citing a smaller-than-expected decline in foreign reserves and materially higher oil prices relative to its baseline in April 2020, when the negative outlook was assigned. The agency added that policymaking remains hamstrung by political-economy dynamics, although an 18.5% devaluation of the Iraqi dinar and government approval of a white paper on fiscal and economic reforms indicate some potential for measures to place Iraq’s finances on a more sustainable footing. Standard & Poor’s credit rating for Iraq stands at B- with stable outlook. Moody’s credit rating for Iraq was last set at Caa1 with stable outlook.
Crude Oil is up by 2.03%
Crude Oil WTI increased 2.03% to 58.92 USD/Bbl
Oil Prices Recover Some Ground from 1-Month Low
Oil prices jumped more than 3% on Wednesday, after falling to an over one-month low in the previous session on supply concerns after container ship ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal and several attempts to refloat it have failed. However, sentiment remains bearish amid rising US crude inventories and growing concerns about demand recovery in the wake of new pandemic curbs in Europe. WTI crude is down more than 13% since hitting its highest since October 2018 at $67.98 on March 8th, as a new wave of coronavirus infections across Europe dampened expectations of an imminent recovery in fuel demand. Latest API data showed stocks of crude oil in the US increased by 2.927 million barrels in the week ended March 19th, compared with market expectations of a 0.9 million decline. Traders await EIA figures to be released later in the day.