If you live in Phoenix or Los Angeles, the temperature outside your window might be rising. If you live in Philadelphia or Boston, the snow piled up by your driveway is as high as you’ve seen in a year.
But there’s always one place in America these days where the digits are falling — and that’s in the certificate of deposit market.
For the week, rates were down yet again, signaling another new low for the domestic CD market. For the week, one- and three-month CDs were down; to 0.403% from 0.41%, and to 0.618% from 0.623%, respectively.
One-year CDs declined to 0.917% from 0.925%, while two-year issues were off to 1.364% from 1.379%. At the higher end of the scale, four-year CDs dropped ever-so-slightly to 1.886% from 1.890%. Five-year models fell to 2.19% from 2.195%.
Obviously, the drop in CD rates last week wasn’t sharp, but it did represent a continuing decline in the value of bank CD rates this year — certainly bank investors will be happy to wave goodbye to 2009 with both hands.
But even with the drop in CD rates, it’s a fairly benign period for bank rates these days. Most banks — and probably a lot of investors — are distracted by end-of-the year tax positioning and by holiday shopping and Christmas parties. So there’s a not a great deal of activity in the bank CD market, anyway.
Much like we’re seeing in the U.S. mortgage rate market, the biggest driver of rates downward is the Federal Reserve, which announced Dec. 17 that it would keep its key rate low (from 0% to 0.25%), so as to keep priming the credit pump and help the U.S. economy get back on its feet.
The Fed’s rate-setting committee did show some signs that low rates wouldn’t be like an out-of-town visitor who stayed long past his welcome. While pledging to keep rates low for an "extended period," the Fed’s rates committee commented that the economy was on the mend and that unemployment, the key economic indicator on the Fed’s collective minds these days, was showing signs of "abating."
If you like to read tea leaves, the Fed comments indicate a willingness to raise rate perhaps sooner than later — in other words, in April or May instead of June or July of 2010. That said, with Chairman Ben Bernanke freshly approved by the U.S. Senate’s Banking Committee, don’t expect any big surprises from the Fed.
Because when it comes to higher CD rates, economic policy coming from Washington clearly tells us to wait ‘til next year.
If you have an itchy trigger finger, go ahead and get the best CD rates in the business by logging on to BankingMyWay.com’s CD Rate Search. Banks, perhaps buoyed by the holiday spirit, are offering some decent CD deals. You’ll find the best at BankingMyWay.
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