RATES MOSTLY STEADY IN HOLIDAY-SHORTENED WEEK While the weak economy has shown signs of encouragement in recent weeks, Federal Reserve officials ultimately decided that it is still in need of aggressive therapy. This past week, minutes from the Fed's March meeting elaborated on its difficult decision to infuse the economy with another $1 trillion. In a week that offered little economic news, the U.S. trade deficit continued to shrink and U.S. consumers continued to reduce debt. The minutes showed: "Although the near-term economic outlook is weak, the Committee anticipates that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, together with fiscal and monetary stimulus, will contribute to a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth." According to the minutes, officials also lowered economic growth estimates for this year and 2010, lowered their inflation estimates, and raised their unemployment estimates. The minutes stated further: "In these circumstances, the Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote economic recovery and to preserve price stability." The new loan limits of $729,750 are still not available at nearly all banks. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have still not published the new guidelines. News continues to suggest mortgage rates will stay stable to lower as the Fed continues to purchase mortgage securities and as banks’ capacity to lend remains available. We may notice periodic up ticks in rates simply due to capacity constraints.