Correspondent, Washington
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Aug 29, 2014

U.S. housing regulator seeks more support for poor borrowers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The regulator for U.S. housing finance giants Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac <FMCC.OB) said on Friday it wants the two firms to provide more support to some low-income Americans taking out mortgages and refinancing their home loans.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released proposed goals for the two state-owned firms for 2015-2017 that would advance agency chief Mel Watt’s aim to widen access to housing credit.

Aug 27, 2014

Stronger hiring boosts outlook for U.S. home sales: Reuters poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Stronger job creation in the United States is making economists more optimistic about the outlook for home resales over the next two years, according to a Reuters poll that showed little change to expectations for house price rises.

The annual pace of existing home sales will likely rise to 5.25 million units in the first three months of 2015 from 5.09 million in the current quarter, according to the poll’s median forecast.

Aug 21, 2014
Aug 20, 2014

U.S. job market gains not yet enough to push forward rate hike -Fed

WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve has been
surprised by how quickly the U.S. labor market is healing but
doesn’t want to bring forward a planned rate hike until the
recovery looks more convincing, according to minutes of its last
policy meeting.

Policymakers “generally agreed” improvements in the labor
market over the last year had been “greater than expected,”
according to minutes of the central bank’s July 29-30 meeting
released on Wednesday.

Aug 7, 2014

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to send U.S. Treasury $5.6 billion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Government-controlled mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday they will pay U.S. taxpayers a combined $5.6 billion in dividends after another profitable quarter.

Once they make their latest payments in September, they will have returned $218.7 billion to taxpayers in return for the $187.5 billion in aid they received after being placed under the government’s wing at the height of the financial crisis.

Aug 6, 2014

U.S. Treasury to conduct test bond buyback operations

WASHINGTON, Aug 6 (Reuters) – The United States will buy
back debt in the coming quarter for the first time since 2002 to
make sure its computer infrastructure is adequate for any future
buyback operations, the U.S. Treasury said on Wednesday.

The Treasury also said it was holding steady borrowing
amounts for two- and three-year maturities during the coming
quarter, and that coupon auction sizes “will remain steady going
forward.”

Aug 1, 2014

Jobs data bolsters Yellen’s argument on labor market slack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve has made a big bet that recovery of the labor market is a long way from creating a worrisome surge of inflation. A range of economic data on Friday suggested the Fed has been reading the odds well.

While the Labor Department’s monthly employment report showed more than 200,000 jobs created for the sixth straight month, wages were about flat in the private sector and there was little improvement in America’s blight of long-term unemployment.

Aug 1, 2014

Fed’s Fisher, Plosser push for earlier rate hike

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two top Federal Reserve officials known for their hawkish policy views said Friday they believed the U.S. economy was ready for interest rate hikes sooner than many expect, with one saying he thought rate hikes should start this year.

Fed policy, which has included keeping short-term borrowing costs near zero since December 2008, “remains well behind what I consider to be appropriate given our goals,” Charles Plosser, president of the Philadelphia Fed, said in a statement.

Aug 1, 2014

SEC launched extensive probe to identify sources in Reuters stories

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission watchdog conducted an extensive, months-long investigation to find out who had leaked information that appeared in two Reuters stories published last autumn, but it was unable to identify the sources, according to a report of the probe seen by Reuters on Thursday.

The SEC’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) started the investigation after Reuters published information about the regulator’s decision, taken in a closed-door meeting on September 12, 2013, to settle its probe into JPMorgan Chase & Co’s massive London Whale trading loss.

Jul 31, 2014

Fed nods to firmer prices yet still focused on labor weakness

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday reaffirmed it was in no rush to raise interest rates, even as it upgraded its assessment of the U.S. economy and expressed some comfort that inflation was moving up toward its target.

After a two-day meeting, Fed policymakers took note of both faster economic growth and a decline in the unemployment rate, but expressed concern about remaining slack in the labor market.