The Highlander Banking System: PacWest Says in Talks With Potential Partners After Share Plunge (But Powell Promise That The Banking Crisis Is Close To Over)

As Connor MacLeod said in the film Highlander, “There can only be one!” The US banking system under Joe Biden’s Reign of Error is like the film Highlander: apparently, there can only be one bank. And it is likely JP Morgan Chase.

Take the JP Morgan Chase (JPMC) acquisition of First Republic Bank:

In Acquiring First Republic Bank, JP Morgan Has:

  1. Bypassed laws against acquiring bank while controlling 10%+ of US deposits
  2. Shared $13 billion in losses with the FDIC
  3. Received a $50 billion loan from the FDIC
  4. Effectively bought back its own deposits
  5. Expects to profit $5 billion+ over the next 5 years

This crisis has taught us that rules don’t matter in times of panic, particularly to regulators.

And now we have PacWest Bancorp. Lender says it’s been approached by potential investors. Bill Ackman warns US regional banking system at risk.

The turmoil at PacWest shows how investor angst still remains elevated after a string of failures and deposit outflows in the sector despite Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s assurance Wednesday that authorities were closer to containing the crisis. It’s reignited the debate over whether more US regional lenders will fall after this year’s collapse of SVB Financial Group’s Silicon Valley Bank, Silvergate Capital Corp., Signature Bank and most recently First Republic Bank.

Smaller banks are under pressure after a year of interest-rate hikes hammered the value of their bond holdings and drove unrealized losses to an estimated $1.84 trillion. Trouble in commercial real estate is adding to the pain, while depositors take their money out to seek better returns elsewhere. These stresses have put the spotlight on these lenders, which typically have fewer resources to defend themselves.

We are seeing a consolidation of the banking system .. again as smaller and regional banks fail and get gobbled up by the Too-Big-To-Fail (TBTF) banks like … JP Morgan Chase.

Biden’s Reign of Error is not over yet. His campaign slogan (which was also Bill Clinton’s campaign reelection slogan) is “Finish the job!” With Biden’s idiotic mortgage idea of punishing borrowers with good credit and giving subsidies to those with bad credit, Biden is trying to finish off the US economy and banking system.

We are in for more hell.

Commercial Real Estate Is The “Boa Constrictor” That Will Crush The Economy And “Force The Fed To Restart QE” (Nothing Has Been The Same Since The Financial Crisis And COVID Economic Shutdowns)

From ZeroHedge, here is a tantalizing story … behind a pay wall. But here is the gist of what I think the article says. Or at least my spin on it.

Here is a chart of US office vacancies nationally (yellow), New York (white), San Franciso (green) and Los Angeles (orange). Note the rapid decline in office vacancies just prior to the financial crisis (often mislabeled as the subprime mortgage crisis). Then look at office vacancies after The Fed’s massive monetary experiment of setting rates to near zero and buying a ton of Treasuries, Agency MBS. etc. While San Francisco returned to pre-financial crisis levels of office vacancy, in general the office market never fully recovered.

And then “the slammer” struck: the COVID economic shutdowns. After 2020 shutdowns, office vacancy rates rose dramatically. Two complicating factors: 1) the US moved to working at home rather than commuting to an office and largely remains that way. 2) crime is going bonkers in American cities, particularly New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about other gang nests like Chicago and Detroit). I saw that California’s woke governor Gavin “Nancy Pelosi’s nephew” Newsom said the word “gang” then apologized and replaced it with “organized groups.” No wonder Newsom can’t fix anything, but he is running for President of the US! (insert Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” painting here,)

The Fed responded to the financial crisis by lower rates to 25 basis points and printing a boat load of money. Unfortunately, office vacancies rose to a peak in October 2010 then began falling again. Only to start rising again after Trump took office in 2017. Alas, Covid struck in 2020, The Fed and Federal government panicked. States and local governments (not to mention teacher’s unions) shut down economies and schools. Office vacancies are now higher than at peak of the Covid shutdowns!!!

But never fear! Too low for too long (TLFTL) Fed Chair Janet Yellen is back as Biden’s Treasury Secretary. To royally screw things up even more.

The Fed’s “Doomsday Machine”! Catching Up From Bernanke/Yellen’s “Too Low For Too Long” Policies (US Treasury 2-Year Yields UP 16.1 Basis Points)

I feel like I am watching the Star Trek original series episode “The Doomsday Machine” as former Fed Chair and current US Treasury Secretary effectively just guaranteed ALL US bank deposits. Aka, a massive bank bailout. The episode was about a robot space vehicle that destroy planets … and anything in its path. And if it changed course to destroy something, it gradually returned to its original destructive path. Like The Federal Reseve.

But after a few days of declining Treasury yields because of the mess created by Bernanke/Yellen’s too low for too long policies, and the Biden/Congress insane spending, the US Treasury 2-year yield is up 16.1 basis points.

Whether it was politcally motivated to protect Obama/Biden or Obama/Biden’s economic recovery was terrible, The Fed only raised their target rate once before Trump’s election. And then Yellen raised rates like crazy. Only to hand her mess off to Powell who had to drop rates like a rock and massively expand the balance sheet … again … to fight Covid.

The Federal Reserve from a car on Constitution Avenue in Washington DC.

Fed Terminal Rate Falls To 5.475% On Only 311k Jobs Added After 504k Jobs Added In January (Silicon Valley Bank Seized By Regulators)

Its just like The Fed. The Taylor Rule says that The Fed’s target rate should be 10.29%, but now the terminal rate has been lowered to 5.475%, almost half of where the target rate should be.

Today’s jobs report for February was a huge disappointment IFF you expected another blowout jobs report like the one from January (504k jobs added). February saw just 311k jobs added, a decline of -38.3% MoM.

And just like that, The Fed’s terminal rate fell to 5.475%, a far cry from the 10.29% rate according to the Taylor Rule.

Today’s Fed Funds Target rate is 4.75% leaving only 72.5 basis points to move.

Today’s market hurl? The Dow fell -300 points and Europe looks like WWIII just broke out.

And the US Treasury 2-year rate plungeed -26.1 basis points.

Of course, Powell until recently followed the Yellen Rule. That is, keep rates at 25 basis points.

This is a classic communications breakdown between The Fed and the economy.

Let’s see if The Fed holds course with Silicon Valley Bank collapsing in biggest failure since 2008.

Silicon Valley Bank became the biggest US lender to fail in more than a decade after a tumultuous week that saw an unsuccessful attempt to raise capital and a cash exodus from the tech startups that had fueled the lender’s rise.

Regulators stepped in and seized it Friday in a stunning downfall for a lender that had quadrupled in size over the past five years and was valued at more than $40 billion as recently as last year.

The move by California state regulators to take possession of the lender, known as SVB, and appoint the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. receiver underscores the impact that the US’s rapid interest-rate increase is having on smaller lenders. SVB is the second regional lender to fold this week after Silvergate Capital Corp. announced it was voluntarily liquidating its bank, spurring a broader selloff in bank stocks. 

The FDIC has set up a bridge bank to handle the failure of SVB. VERY rare. The last bridge bank was for IndyMac Bank from LA.

SVP is the second biggest bank failure in US history after Washington Mutual (WAMU).

RIP Gary Rossington, the last remaining Lynyrd Skynrd original member.

US Treasury Yield Curve Inverts To -82 Basis Points, Worst Since 1981 As Fed Tightens Policy (112 Straight Days Of Inversion)

Whoop there it is!

The US Treasury 10y-2y yield curve descended further into inversion at -82 basis point, the worst since 1981.

This is not a good sign, since the 10Y-2Y curve typically inverts just prior to a recession.

The current US Treasury curve is currently humped at 1 year, then declining rapidly. The swaps curve is peaking at 9 months, then declining rapidly.

The Fed Funds Futures market is pointing to a peak Fed Funds rate of 5% at the May 3rd FOMC meeting.

Yes, a recession is headed our way.

Deceleration Nation! US Home Price Growth Slows Most On Record In August As Fed Hits Brakes, But Still Growing At 12.99% YoY (US Treasury 10-yr Yield DOWN -17 BPS Today)

Alarm! US home prices are decelerating as inflation rages and The Fed tightens.

Home price growth in the US slowed the most on record as a doubling of borrowing costs (thanks to the US Federal Reserve) has sapped demand.

A national measure of prices increased 13% in August from a year earlier, but is down from 20.79% in March, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index showed Tuesday. That’s the biggest deceleration in the index’s history.

The housing market has started to slump as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates to curb the hottest inflation in decades. Even with the deceleration, prices remain high compared to last year. Coupled with mortgage rates that are edging closer to 7%, many would-be buyers have been shut out, while some sellers have retreated. 

While 13% growth sounds good, it is not good for renters looking to buy a home.

According to S&P/CoreLogic/Case-Shiller, Southern (red) cities Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Miami and Tampa all still grew at over 20% YoY. Other cities like blue cities Detroit, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC are grew at UNDER 10% YoY.

It looks like some people have taken three steps and left blue states for red states.

On related news, I always said in my classes that +/- 10 basis point in the US Treasury yield is a big deal. This morning, the US Treasury 10-year yield is DOWN -16.1 bps. In fact, the 10-year yields are down across the board globally.

Its that smell of impending recession.

Well, they certainly aren’t calling Biden “The Breeze.” Except for the recession that is going to clobber the US.

Blackhawks! Where Interest Rates Are Headed In One Chart (Fed Blackhawks Versus Doves)

The Federal Reserve’s DOTS PLOT shows where each Fed official’s projection for the central bank’s key short-term interest rate is headed. As of the September 21, 2022 Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, the prediction of future Fed target rates is decidedly DOWNWARD SLOPING.

The Fed hawks, those that want to tighten monetary policy, are Bowman, Waller, Kashkari, Mester and George. The Fed doves (or those who are neutral) are Biden recent appointees Barr, Cook, Jefferson, Logan, Collins. Note that Brainard and Bostic are the only technical doves.

I call the hawks at The Fed “The Blackhawks” since their mission of fighting inflation may lead to a recession. And Bowman, Mester and George are Lady Blackhawks.

On a different note, I am always amazed at First Lady Jill Biden’s wardrobe. She looks like she shops as La-Z-Boy furniture stores.

The Perils Of Fed Tightening In One Chart (Or Sweet Home DC!) Treasury Yield Curve Remains In Reversion And Stock Market Declining As Fed Reduces Money Supply Growth

Sweet home DC! At least for the ruling elites. For the rest of us mortals, Bidenflation is crushing our finances.

To combat Bidenflation, The Fed has signaled that they will continue to raise interest rates. But at what cost?

(Bloomberg) — The world’s leading central banks are finally pushing their interest rates into restrictive territory, causing fears of overkill in financial markets and stoking chatter that policymakers may need to pivot at some point.

And with the withdrawal of monetary stimulus comes the slowdown of US M2 Money growth (green line). And with that slowdown, we see a declining stock market and an inverted US Treasury yield curve.

Of course, Biden could reverse his green energy agenda and allow for oil and natural gas exploration … again. Or begin building nuclear power plants again. But nooooo.

Another peril is rising mortgage rates.

Here is the S&P 500 against global liquidity.

Speaking of Freddie King, here is Joe Biden’s favorite song: hideaway.

Great Reset?? US Treasury 10yr Yield Tanks -20 Basis Points (UK 10yr Tanks -24.1 BPS)

As I frequently told my investment and fixed-income securities students at Chicago, Ohio State and George Mason University, any 10 basis point change in the US Treasury 10-year yield is significant.

But how about today’s 20 basis point decline in the US Treasury 10-year yield?

The UK’s 10-year yield is down even more at -24.1 basis points. Germany is down -18 bps and France is down -10.3 bps.

Speaking of credit default swaps, Credit Suisse is back to financial crisis levels while UBS and Deutsche Bank are not … yet.

And gold jumped $28.5 dollars today as POP goes the yield.

With all the turbulence in markets thanks to the war in Ukraine and Biden’s green energy mandates and spending (not to mention Statists like Klaus Schwab screaming about a Great Reset), I was reminiscing about more simple times.

UMich Buying Conditions For Houses Remain Depressed As Fed Tightens (Fed’s Brainard Calls For Fed To Keep Tightening!)

Bidenflation and The Fed’s counter-attack has caused considerable damage to the housing and mortgage markets.

Today, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment indices were released for September. Of note, buying conditions for houses remained in the tank.

Meanwhile, Fed Vice Chair Lael “Brainless” Brainard is calling for The Fed to NOT stop tightening money and raising interest rates.

As The Fed tightens, the entire range of Agency MBS TBA (to be announced) are under $100.

For example, the FNCL 2.5% TBA is now 84-17. And falling like a paralyzed falcon.

Here is Brainard with Fed Chair Jerome “Foul Owl” Powell, the dynamic duo of crashing markets.