While the economic data calendar is well-populated in the September 25 week, nothing will distract from the looming federal shutdown if Congress fails to fund the government by September 30. A failure to pass a spending package would mean adding uncertainty to the economic outlook. Many businesses including small ones depend on government contracts; and without new contracts signed, a round of layoffs could be triggered at a time when skilled workers are difficult to replace. An extended shutdown would disrupt government services including the routine reporting of economic data not to mention inconvenience and perhaps damage businesses and households.
For housing reports, the ongoing surge in mortgage rates makes data from July and August relatively out of date. September data from both home builders and mortgage bankers point to a pullback as consumers reconsider buying while prices remain elevated and mortgage rates at 22-year highs. For September to date, the 30-year fixed rate has averaged 7.16 percent, the highest since 7.16 percent in July 2001. If the housing market is in a downturn due to high rates and elevated prices, the lack of supply of homes has helped maintain competition for available units. Determined homebuyers do have some negotiating power – more for new construction than existing units. Those buying in the current market may be doing so with the expectation that mortgage rates will come down again and allow them to refinance to a more affordable rate.
On Friday, the report on personal income and spending at 8:30 ET will include the PCE deflator for August. This is the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation. It is likely to mirror the moves in the August CPI with energy costs boosting the overall index a bit, but with signs of further moderation in prices outside of food and energy.