Mortgage rates climbed measurably higher this past while CD rates were held in place.  Credit card rates were down but, it was by the slimmest of margins and money market rates .  The impetus for the rate increases appears to be the actual or perceived strength of the US economy. 

The bond market and interest rate markets have been taking their cues predominantly from two events this year, the Euro crisis and the sluggish US economy.  Both of these events are now reporting a change which is pushing bank rates higher.

Early in the month, the employment report showed better than expected figures and now retail sales and factory utilization came in surprisingly higher.  Employment growth is still at very low rate but not only was the report stronger than expected, recent weekly unemployment claims have been coming in lower over the past few weeks. 

Retail sales for July jumped and are now about 4 percent higher than the same month in the previous year and 0.80 percent above the June number for this year.  Retail sales growth has matched the growth in intermodal rail shipments, US intermodal volume in 2012 through July was 3.6% higher than it was in 2011, giving some support to sustained growth in sales. 

In the meantime, the Euro crisis has hit a lull.  Other than some lip service, there is no real solution or action plan for solving the Euro crisis but there has been no negative news either.  The weaker European nations continue to show no economic growth and are burdened by excessive government debt and a weak banking sector.  Again, no new solution has surfaced for this problem and it will be no surprise if the Euro problems flare up in a big way in the coming weeks.  Euro problems impact our bank rates when investors move out of foreign securities and buy US bonds pushing prices higher and interest rates lower.

As far as the US economy goes, the statistics appear to show slow growth.  The key word is not slow but growth.  Unemployment claims improving, sales up, factories running at higher levels of utilization all point to continue progress.  Europe will keep a cap on our growth and if it flares up again expect bank rates to blip down once again but with these numbers interest rates may continue a slow crawl higher. 

After regurgitating all that, remember interest rates whether they are rates for borrowing such as mortgage rates or for savings like CD interest rates, all remain low.  The average 30 year fixed rate mortgage in this week’s survey was higher by only 15.7 basis points or 0.157 percent.  The average 30 year mortgage rate found at the nation’s top ten largest banks increased to 3.870 percent from 3.713 percent.

CD rates as measured by the CD rate index were unchanged on the week.  The average CD interest rate remained at 1.046 percent across all CD terms from three month CD rates to five year CD rates.  Three month CD rates were unchanged on the week, six month CD rates were higher and the one year bank CDs, two year and five year bank CD rates were all lower.

Bank money market rates and savings account rates moved higher on the week, rising to 0.955 percent from 0.953 percent in the previous week.

Credit card rates on new credit card offers were down.  The rate reduction on new credit cards was reported at .01 percent but this figure was rounded higher, the actual number shows a change of less than one basis point.  Credit card issuers continue to play around with cash back offers, credit card rewards and to a lesser extent new promotional rates to attract customers instead of lowering the long term credit card rate or the margin added to the prime rate that sets the interest rate for the vast majority of credit card accounts.

The weekly bank rate survey provides a detailed report on bank savings rates and lending rates by consumer rate category.  The most current survey is for the week ending August 17, 2012.  The weekly rate survey presented the following interest rates and their changes for mortgage rates, CD interest rates, credit card rates, money market rates, savings account rates and Treasury rates.

Bank Rates Market Recap for August 17, 2012

CD interest rates:
Composite CD interest rate index 1.046 percent (unchanged)
3 month CD rates 0.491 percent (unchanged)
6 month CD rates 0.778 percent (up .017 percent)
1 year CD rates 1.041 percent (down .012 percent)
2 year bank CD rates 1.171 percent (down .001 percent)
5 year CD rates 1.750 percent (down .002 percent)

Money market and savings account rates:
Bank money market rates and savings account rates 0.955 percent (up .002 percent) 

Mortgage rates:
30 year mortgage rate 3.870 percent (up .157 percent) 
15 year mortgage rate 3.100 percent (up .130 percent) 
20 year mortgage rate 3.666 percent (up .141 percent) 
30 year jumbo mortgage rate 4.215 percent (up .110 percent) 
30 year FHA mortgage rate 3.683 percent (up .108 percent)

Credit card rates:
Credit card rates for new credit card offers 13.69 percent (up .010 percent)

Treasury rates:
Six month Treasury rate 0.14 percent (unchanged)
One year Treasury rate 0.20 percent (up .02 percent)
Two year Treasury rate 0.29 percent (up .02 percent)
Five year Treasury rate 0.81 percent (up .10 percent)
Ten year Treasury rate 1.81 percent (up .16 percent)

All bank savings rates and lending rates are based on surveys conducted by at the close of August 17, 2012 with all of the interest rates obtained directly from the banks within the survey.  Treasury rates are obtained directly from the Department of the Treasury.  

For more information detailed interest rate data on mortgage rates, CD rates, credit card rates and savings account rates for the week ending August 17, 2012 please see: 3 month CD rates, 6 month CD rates, 1 year CD rates, 2 year CD rates, 5 year CD rates, 30 year mortgage rates, 15 year mortgage rates, FHA mortgage rates, 20 year mortgage rates, 10 year mortgage rates, jumbo mortgage rates, best interest checking accounts and best credit card rates.

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