Mortgage Rates Top 7%, Highest Level Since Late 2023 By Hardika Singh

A relentless climb in government bond yields has sent mortgage rates back to 7%, hurting home affordability. Meanwhile, pension fund managers are cashing out, thanks to the stock market's bull run. And Grayscale's bitcoin fund is losing money. Read on for this news and more.

Top News Housing Market Slumps as Mortgage Rates Top 7%

The U.S. housing market is coming under renewed pressure, buffeted by mortgage rates that rose above 7% again and uncertainty over changes to the commission system for buying and selling a home.

Mortgage rates started to rise again in February, weighing on March sales. The recent spike in borrowing costs could drag affordability back to the historic lows it reached last year. Home prices are near record highs. Other costs to own a home, such as insurance premiums, property taxes and maintenance, have skyrocketed, too.

U.S. Economy Pension Funds Are Pulling Hundreds of Billions From Stocks

Stock portfolios at large pension funds had a blockbuster run. Now, managers are cashing out. Corporate pension funds are shifting money into bonds. State and local government funds are swapping stocks for alternative investments. The nation's largest public pension, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, is planning to move close to $25 billion out of equities and into private equity and private debt.

Financial Regulation Grayscale's Once-Mighty Fund Is Bleeding Bitcoin

For years, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust was one of the few ways to bet on bitcoin without buying the cryptocurrency itself. Now, with the sector awash in lower-cost competing funds, investors are fleeing the exchange-traded fund.

Forward Guidance Friday (all times ET)

10:15 a.m.: Bank of England's Ramsden speaks at Peterson Institute for International Economics

10:30 a.m.: Chicago Fed's Goolsbee in moderated Q&A at SABEW Annual Conference


10 a.m.: EU Flash Consumer Confidence Indicator

10:30 a.m.: Bank of Canada market participants survey

Research U.S. Export Sales Weakness Hits Soybeans

Multiple factors are hurting the competitiveness of U.S. grains on the world export stage -- particularly for soybeans. "The stronger dollar and weakening real in Brazil are widening out the price spread to Brazil's favor," Karl Setzer of Consus Ag Consulting said. The U.S. dollar index is up 0.2%, continuing to rise as expectations for an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve push farther out in the year. The weekly export sales report is also hurting soybeans, Setzer says. This week's report showed sales within analyst expectations for soybeans, but on the low side overall. - Kirk Maltais

Basis Points A congressional investigation found that Wall Street used billions of dollars of American retirement savings and other investments to buy shares in index funds that included more than five dozen blacklisted Chinese companies. - Lingling Wei Japan's consumer inflation has stayed above the Bank of Japan's 2% target for two years , government data confirmed Friday, amid speculation over further interest-rate increases. - Megumi Fujikawa S&P Global Ratings said it lowered its long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Israel to A-plus from AA-minus, citing geopolitical risks. - Stephen Nakrosis About Us

WSJ Pro Central Banking brings you central banking news, analysis and insights from WSJ's global team of reporters and editors. This newsletter was compiled by markets reporter Hardika Singh in New York. Send your tips, suggestions and feedback to [].

This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-19-24 0715ET