[By Doug French, with Frank Raiter, Susan Barnes, Gail McDermott, Terry Osterweil, Michael Stock, and Thomas Warrack, analysts, residential mortgages group, structured finance ratings, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services]

The U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) market is expected to remain healthy throughout 2000, but it is unlikely to revisit the record loan origination levels achieved in 1998. The prospect of more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in 2000 will continue to pressure these originations, which will probably not reach the US$1 trillion mark for the first time since 1997.

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