MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 04/17/2020

Intermediate and long Treasury yields declined last week, as the Treasury market looks to be settling into a trading range after a period of extreme volatility.  The 10-year yield dropped by about 8 basis points, leaving the 2-10 year spread narrower by about 6 basis points.  The decline in the 10-year yield reflected a sharp decrease in the 10-year TIPS break-even (i.e. the projected future inflation rate), which moved in sympathy with weakness in oil prices.


*The MBS Weekly Market Profile Report corresponds to the commentary below.*

MBS struggled last week, as the Fed tapered back its purchases of the product amid continued weak institutional demand.  The conventional and FHA 30-year current-coupon spreads widened by 17 and 18 basis points, respectively, while the 15-year conventional spread over the 5-year closed about 27 bps wider.   The most liquid coupons (FN/G2 2.5s and Dwarf 2s) trailed their Treasury hedge ratios by over three-quarters of a point.  Both the 30-year Fannie and GNII 3.5/3 coupon swaps remained under severe pressure; the Fannie 3.5/3 swap closed at 8/32nds, while the GNII swap moved back to -18/32s, closing in on its worst level of -28 ticks that it reached in March.

Fed purchases were more than $14 billion lower from the prior week despite reflecting a full five days of purchases.  The table below shows the Fed’s purchases by product and coupon; they basically reduced all their purchases except for Fannie 2.5s and (to a lesser extent) 15-year 2s and 3s. Click to enlarge Their average daily purchases dropped from over $20 billion to roughly $13.6 billion.  Their activity arguably reflected the desire to find the “right” level of purchases to keep the market stable (and liquidity healthy) without pushing prices inordinately higher.  The Fed is planning to further reduce its daily purchases this week to something in the area of $10-12 billion, which hopefully will continue to support the sector without causing prices to spike.

One interesting development last week was the uptick in conventional 2% trading.  FINRA only starting breaking out trading in UM30 2s on 4/9; prior to that, they only listed “<=2.5%” on their daily reports.  Trading rose from virtually zero at that point to over $5 billion on Friday, and while that pales beside the respective $84 billion and $50 billion recorded for UM30 2.5s and 3s it still represented an impressive total, especially since about $3.2 billion was in specified pools (versus the $6-7 billion in conventional 2.5s and 3s).  A key question remains whether the Fed will ever purchase the coupon; they only began purchasing 30-year 2.5s late last year after eschewing them since 2013.

Finally, overall application activity remains fairly robust in spite of the pandemic-induced spike in unemployment and the resulting weak purchase market.  The chart below shows the MBA’s composite (i.e., total) application index, re-indexed so that the first quarter of 2015 represents a level of 100.  The chart indicates that while overall application activity is about 35% off its early March highs it is still about 82% than its average from September 2013 through the end of 2019.  This suggests that once the backlog of locks in lenders’ pipelines clears out there should be a lot of refinancing business to be done at the current all-time low levels of mortgage rates. Click to enlarge



About the Author: Bill Berliner

As Director of Analytics, Bill Berliner is tasked with developing new products and services, enhancing existing solutions, and helping to expand MCT’s footprint as the preeminent industry-leader in secondary marketing capabilities for lenders.

Mr. Berliner boasts more than 30 years of experience in a variety of areas within secondary marketing. He is a seasoned financial professional with extensive knowledge working with fixed income trading and structuring, research and analysis, risk management, and esoteric asset valuation.

Mr. Berliner has also written extensively on mortgages, MBS, and the capital markets. He is the co-author, with Frank Fabozzi and Anand Bhattacharya, of Mortgage-Backed Securities: Products, Structuring, and Analytical Techniques, which was named one of the top ten finance texts in 2007 by RiskBooks. He wrote and edited chapters for The Handbook of Mortgage-Backed Securities, The Handbook of Fixed-Income Securities, Securities Finance, and The Encyclopedia of Financial Models. In addition, Mr. Berliner co-authored papers published in The Journal of Structured Finance and American Securitization. He also wrote the monthly “In My View” column for Asset Securitization Report from 2008-2012.

10-Year Treasury Yield Curve

Compare this chart with the mortgage rates chart to see how the 10-year treasury and mortgage rates are correlated. Read more below to learn how mortgage rates are tied to the 10 year treasury yield. View raw data on U.S. Department of the Treasury website.


Mortgage Rates Today

The current MBS daily rates are shown below in this chart for 5/1 Yr ARM, Jumbo 30 Yr, FHA 30 Yr, 15 Yr Fixed, 30 Yr Fixed. Sign up for our MBS Market Commentary to receive daily mortgage news in your inbox.

About the Author

Robbie Chrisman, Head of Content, MCT

Robbie started his mortgage industry career with internships during high school and college at Peoples National Bank in Colorado, and RPM & Bay Equity in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Finance in 2014, he went to work at SoFi, where he rose to Director, Capital Markets assisting in the creation of SoFi’s residential mortgage division before leaving to work for TMS in Austin, Texas. From there, he went to work for FinTech startup Riivos in San Francisco and now is the Head of Content at Mortgage Capital Trading (MCT) in San Diego.

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Previous Weekly Market Reviews by Mortgage Capital Trading (MCT)

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MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 1/27/23

Even with the most aggressive pace of rate hikes in over a generation during the past year, recent data suggests that there’s still a path to a “soft landing” for the Federal Reserve. The U.S. economy posted the kind of mild slowdown in the last quarter of 2022 that the Fed wants to see as it attempts to tame inflation without choking off growth. Gross domestic product beat expectations to rise at a 2.9% annualized pace, down from 3.2% in the third quarter and a long way from a recession.

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 1/20/23

Have you heard? Inflation was so 2022. All jokes aside, after we learned last week that U.S. inflation cooled for the sixth consecutive month (the consumer price index dropped 0.1% in December compared to the month prior), expectations are now that the Federal Reserve is likely to downshift rate hikes to 25 BPS going forward, beginning at next month’s FOMC meeting.

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 1/13/23

Pay attention to the bond market rather than the Fed. That’s what I’m hearing as we learned this week that inflation continued to ease in December, though much focus was also on Wells’ exit from the correspondent space and its ramifications. The headline CPI (-0.1% month-over-month, +6.5% year-over-year) posted the slowest inflation rate in more than a year and core inflation (+5.7% year-over-year), which excludes food and energy, also posted the smallest advance in a year.

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 1/6/23

While it’s back to business as usual, it was a fairly quiet week as we settled into the new year. Fast inflation and high interest rates dominated the narrative and upended markets across the world last year. When the dust settled, 10-year Treasuries were 200+ BPS higher than the start of the year, the curve inverted in a bearish fashion faster and farther than ever, implied volume spiked, and mortgage spreads were pushed from stubbornly rich to suddenly cheap. The result was an entire trade-able universe moving out of the money, originations grinding to a halt, and duration becoming a function of illiquid trade flows.

MBS Weekly Market Commentary Week Ending 12/23/22

MCT would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Talk to close the year has been dominated by the Federal Reserve’s most aggressive policy tightening in four decades and its impact on the economy, and for us the residential housing market.