Fed Maintains Interest Rates as Yellen’s Tenure Winds Down

Posted on February 02, 2018 in Uncategorized | Add Your Voice
Fed Maintains Interest Rates as Yellen’s Tenure Winds Down
Janet Yellen oversaw her final meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee(FOMC) Wednesday afternoon, with the Committee holding fast on interest rates and revising its projections on expected inflation.

“Gains in employment, household spending, and business fixed investment have been solid, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” read the FOMC statement. “On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have continued to run below 2 percent. Market-based measures of inflation compensation have increased in recent months but remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.”

As expected, the Fed left interest rates unchanged this time around, following the hike to a range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent during the December 2017 FOMC meeting. The vote to maintain the current benchmark interest rate was unanimous.

The FOMC statement explained, “The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.” Analysts expect another rate hike to come in March, following the first FOMC meeting under the leadership of new Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
read more: DS News

What’s Keeping Manufactured Housing In the Shadows?
A recent study of the manufactured housing sector by the Urban Institute has pointed to three main reasons—restrictive zoning, unavailable finance, and lower appreciation—that are keeping the manufactured housing industry in the shadows despite being a highly affordable alternative to traditional housing.

The study compared the costs between manufactured homes, new site-built homes and existing site-built homes. It indicated that manufactured housing was 35 to 47 percent cheaper per square foot than new or existing site-built housing, yet the number of manufactured homes shipped each year has gone from averaging 242,000 per year between 1977 and 1993 to just 92,500 units in 2017, despite being much higher in quality than the ones available in the 1990s.

According to the study, unavailability of financing was a key factor that affected the manufactured housing sector. In 2016, only 17 percent of new manufactured homes shipped were titled as real property, while others were financed through chattel loans. In most states, to obtain a mortgage loan, the manufactured home must be affixed to a permanent foundation on land owned by the manufactured home’s owner.

read more: The MReport

What CFPB Gained, Lost in Appeals Court Ruling
A federal appeals court handed a major victory — and a significant defeat — to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by upholding its constitutional structure while also slapping down the agency’s practice of making new interpretations of law through enforcement actions.

The results were similarly mixed for other key players. On the one hand, the ruling, which says the president can only fire a CFPB director for cause, will allow any appointee of President Trump to survive into the next administration should the president not win reelection. Yet it also prevents the president from having greater control over the CFPB once a new chief is installed.

Democrats, too, both win and lose. They praised the decision as a victory because it leaves more power with the independent CFPB. But the ruling may stop a future Democratic president from retaking control of the CFPB swiftly after the election.

read more: American Banker

At Annual GOP Retreat, Party Seeks To Sharpen 2018 Focus
A tragic train wreck almost put an early end to this year’s GOP policy retreat as lawmakers grappled with whether or not to carry on after an Amtrak train carrying them to the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., collided with a garbage truck and resulted in at least one fatality.

“Personally I gave it a lot of thought. I was very conflicted. Every ounce of me said: Get home to Texas as fast as you can,” said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, a physician who helped treat the injured at the accident scene. No one onboard the train suffered any major injuries. The White House ultimately informed lawmakers the president and vice president still planned to attend. “That put it in a little bit of different context for me,” said Burgess.

Republicans are gathered at the storied Greenbrier Resort — home to a Cold War-era bunker once meant to house Congress in the event of a nuclear attack — to plot the party’s legislative agenda for 2018 and strategize for what could be a bruising midterm election.

read more: NPR

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