While it was never likely to contain too many surprises, this week’s much-anticipated Jackson Hole speech from Fed Chair Powell served as an important reminder as to why rates have risen so sharply in August. The Fed has 8 scheduled policy meetings per year.  At the conclusion of those meetings, the Fed releases an official statement which includes any potential changes in the Fed Funds Rate.   The Fed Funds Rate is quite different from mortgage rates, but the things that lead the Fed to adjust its rate hike pace often have an impact on longer-term rates like mortgages and 10yr Treasury yields.   All that to say, there was no official policy statement from the Fed this week and no change to the Fed Funds Rate.  Markets were nonetheless eager to check in with Fed Chair Powell and were forced to rely on a brief speech delivered at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, or simply “Jackson Hole” to market watchers. Jackson Hole has been responsible for helping to telegraph a few important shifts in Fed policy over the years.  As such, it always garners a bit of speculation as a potential flashpoint for the market, even if the big reactions have been more scarce over the years. This year was perhaps more deserving of some anxiety considering the Fed’s policy path as communicated by Powell in late July and multiple Fed members in the subsequent weeks.  In short, the Fed Funds Rate has risen quickly enough that policymakers can BEGIN to consider slowing the pace of rate hikes.
Source: Mortgage News Daily