Saturday, July 20, 2024

Inflation Report and the Fed: Live Announcements

American households hoping that interest rates will drop soon will have to wait a little longer.

The Federal Reserve is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Wednesday, at least until there are clear signs that inflation is slowing. But forecasters say Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell will be asked for any clues about how long they expect to keep rates relatively high.

The central bank raised its key interest rate from near zero to 5.33 percent in a series of hikes between March 2022 and last summer, and has remained unchanged since then. The goal was to lower inflation, which has cooled significantly, but is still higher than the central bank wants, suggesting interest rates will remain higher for longer than economists had previously expected.

For those who keep money in high-yielding savings accounts, a succession of higher rates translates into higher interest income. But for people saddled with high-cost credit card debt or homeowners marginalized by high interest rates, the low-rate environment isn’t coming anytime soon.

“Whether you’re looking for an auto loan, credit card, personal loan or any other type of loan, shopping around can make a huge difference,” said Matt Schulz, analyst at online loan marketplace LendingTree.

Here’s how different rates are affected by the Fed’s decisions — and where they stand.

Credit cards

Credit card rates are closely tied to the Fed’s actions, meaning consumers with revolving credit have seen those rates rise rapidly over the past two years. Increases usually occur within one or two billing cycles, but don’t expect them to drop too quickly, even when rates eventually drop.

“The rush to pay off high-cost credit cards or other debt has not abated,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate. “Interest rates went up the elevator, but they’re going down the stairs.”

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That means consumers should prioritize paying off high-cost loans and take advantage of zero-percent and low-rate balance transfer offers when they can.

The average rate on credit cards with rated interest was 22.63 percent at the end of March. Central ReserveAt 16.17 percent at the end of March 2022, compared to 20.92 percent a year ago, the central bank began its series of rate hikes.

Car loans

Auto loan rates continue to rise, which has reduced affordability and reduced demand among car buyers. But automakers and dealerships are starting to offer more discounts and other offers, luring some buyers back into the market.

“In May, we saw some positive news on the sales front,” said Erin Keating, managing analyst at Cox Automotive. “Most of those sales gains were juiced by higher incentives and lower prices, which is good news for consumers worried about inflation.”

The average rate on new car loans was 7.3 percent in May Edmonds7.1 percent in 2023 and 5.1 percent in 2022. Used car prices were even higher: the average loan rate was 11.5 percent in May, 11 percent in 2023 and 8.2 percent in 2022.

Car loans tend to track the yield on the five-year Treasury note, which is affected by the Fed’s key rate — but that’s not the only factor that determines how much you’ll pay. The borrower’s credit history, type of vehicle, loan term and down payment all factor into that rate calculation.

mortgages

Mortgage rates have also been elevated: The most popular loan topped 7 percent in mid-April and has largely maintained that level since then, making home ownership an even more expensive proposition.

According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year mortgage rate was 6.99 percent as of June 6, up from 6.71 percent in the same week last year.

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It’s a volatile ride. Rates rose to 7.79 percent in late October, stabilizing a point lower — at least temporarily.

“Rates are just shy of 7 percent, and we expect them to decline modestly through the remainder of 2024,” said Sam Cutter, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “If a potential buyer is looking to buy a home this year, waiting for a lower rate may result in small savings, but shopping around for the best price can be very beneficial.”

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages don’t move in tandem with the Fed’s benchmark, but instead typically track the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds, which are influenced by a variety of factors, including inflation, the Fed’s expectations. Actions and how investors react.

Other home loans are more closely linked to the central bank’s decisions. Home equity loans and adjustable-rate mortgages — each with variable interest rates — typically go up within two billing cycles after a change in the Fed’s rates. As of June 6, the average rate for home equity loans was 8.6 percent. According to the bankMeanwhile, the average home equity loan was 9.18 percent.

Student loans

Borrowers who already have federal student loans are not affected by the Fed’s actions because such loans are a Fixed rate Established by Govt.

But rates on new federal student loans will jump to their highest level in a decade: Borrowers who take out federal undergraduate loans after July 1 (but before July 1, 2025) will pay 6.53 percent, up from 5.5 percent. Same period a year ago.

Loan interest rates for graduate and professional students will rise to 8.08 percent. And the rates for Plus loans are – Funding is available For parents of undergraduate students and graduate students – increase to 9.08 percent.

The price is set each July using a formula based on the 10-year Treasury bond auction in May.

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Borrowers of private student loans have already seen rates climb because of previous rate hikes: Both fixed- and variable-rate loans are tied to benchmarks that track the federal funds rate, the federal benchmark rate.

Storage vehicles

Savers generally benefit when the federal funds rate is high because many banks put more money into their savings accounts — especially if they want to attract more deposits. (Many banks make money on the difference between interest rates on deposits and loans.)

Online institutions tend to price their savings accounts more competitively than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, though some have started dialing back their rates because they expect the Fed to cut rates this year. Certificates of deposit, which track similarly dated Treasury bonds, have already seen their rates fall several times this year.

Ken Dumin, founder of DepositAccounts.com, said, “Small gains and declines in online deposit rates will continue this year until we approach the next Fed rate cut or rate hike.

The average one-year CD at online banks stood at 4.96 percent on June 3, down from its peak yield of 5.35 percent in January, but from 4.86 percent a year earlier. DepositAccounts.com. But you can still find one-year CDs with yields higher than 5.25 percent.

Most online banks have kept their savings account rates relatively steady: The average yield on an online savings account was 4.40 percent as of June 3, according to DepositAccounts.com, down slightly from a peak of 4.49 percent in January and up from 3.98. percent a year ago.

The yields on money-market funds offered by brokerage firms are even more attractive because they track the federal funds rate more closely. yield on that day Crane 100 Money Financial IndexIt was at 5.12 percent on June 11, which tracks the largest money market funds.

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