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Mortgage rates up but still under 3%

Average long-term mortgage rates rose slightly this week continuing a months-long trend of little movement. They remain under 3%.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average rate for a 30-year mortgage edged up to 2.88% from 2.86% last week. The rate for a 15-year loan increased to 2.15% from 2.12% last week.

Amid anxiety that the highly contagious delta variant could cause the economic recovery from the pandemic to stall, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday signaled its belief that the economy has recovered sufficiently from the recession for it to soon begin dialing back the emergency aid it provided after the virus erupted.

 

Philanthropies pledge billions at UN meeting

Bill and Melinda Gates' private foundation announced Thursday it will spend more than $900 million over the next five years to curb global malnutrition. It's one of several pledges private donors have announced this week as world leaders gather in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly.

On Wednesday, a coalition of nine foundations said they would collectively spend $5 billion by 2030 to protect at least 30% of the planet's land and sea.

Foundations have played a prominent role in supporting the U.N.'s 2030 agenda for sustainable development. And experts say they're choosing to announce initiatives this week to influence the public agenda.

 

Dubai firm DAMAC to take firm private

A Dubai real-estate company known for its deals with former President Donald Trump says it has received regulator approval for an effort to take the firm private.

DAMAC Properties still plans to offer $595 million for outstanding shares of the company, the firm said in a filing on Dubai Financial Market stock exchange. It said it would offer an update on the plan in the coming weeks.

It earlier announced plans in June for the offer to take the company private, then withdrew them as regulators examined the plan. DAMAC's billionaire founder Hussain Sajwani already owns nearly four-fifths of the company through various investment firms.

 

Jobless claims up for second week

The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid rose last week for a second straight week to 351,000, a sign that the delta variant of the coronavirus may be disrupting the job market's recovery, at least temporarily.

Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims rose by 16,000 from the previous week. As the job market has strengthened, unemployment aid applications, which generally track layoffs, have tumbled since topping 900,000 early this year, reflecting the economy's reopening after the pandemic recession. Still, jobless claims remain somewhat elevated: Before the pandemic tore through the economy in March 2020, they generally numbered about 220,000 a week.

 

Bank of England keeps rates on hold

The Bank of England kept its main interest rate at the record low of 0.1% but warned that inflation is set to be double its target rate by the end of this year largely as a result of a sharp spike in energy prices.

The decision Thursday from the central bank's nine-member Monetary Policy Committee was unanimous, though two members voted to start reining in a stimulus program intended to keep borrowing rates low in financial markets.

The panel said in its meeting minutes that developments over the past month had "strengthened" the case for some tightening of monetary policy in order to meet the bank's 2% inflation target sustainably in the medium term.

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