Don’t kid yourself. The talking heads at The Federal Reserve (more like Feral Reserve) are only about halfway there in terms of rate hikes. There is still over $8 trillion in monetary stimulus sloshing around the economy.
The Taylor Rule implies a target rate of 10.12% while the current target rate is just over half that rate at 5.25%. A little over halfway there and The Fed is likely to pause rate hikes.
Of course, Yellen and Powell think The Taylor Rule is a pork roll product from Trenton, New Jersey.
The not-so-good news? A large diverengence between the Establishment survey and Household survey. +339k versus -310k. What’s it going to be?
The bad news? While US average hourly earnings YoY cooled to 4.3%, inflation is still roaring at 4.9% (headline) and 5.5% (core). So Americans are still losing ground to inflation.
The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in May while the underemployment rate rose to 6.7%.
With unemployment rising to 3.7%, the Taylor Rule implies a Fed Funds Target rate of 10.12%. We are currently at 5.25%. Or just a little over halfway there. But The Fed is talking a pause in rate hikes.
Worsening conditions in the US mortgage-backed securities market are doing little to ease fears over financial contagion as a recession looms.
MBS current-coupon yield spreads over Treasuries are near the highest level since 2008 subprime crisis, as economic and political concerns weigh on performance, Erica Adelberg, a Bloomberg Intelligence strategist, wrote in a BI Chart Book. Mortgage-related exchange traded funds are seeing outflows, even as bond funds as a whole enjoy inflows. Applications for loans are near 25-year lows as the housing market languishes.
Use the GP tool for charting and run BI to search for research, data and chart books.
The top panel shows nominal current-coupon yield spreads are back near decade highs, surpassing those seen in the fourth quarter and reaching peak levels from the pandemic panic in March 2020. The bottom panel shows option-adjusted spreads are also wide, trading near two standard deviations of the average level, though slightly more in line than nominals, Adelberg wrote.
Primary mortgage rates are approaching historic highs versus Treasuries too.
Both the secondary mortgage spread to Treasuries (white) and the primary mortgage spread to secondaries (blue) have blown wider. That has increased the total spread between 30-year-fixed consumer mortgage rates and 10-year Treasuries (pink) to near financial-crisis levels.
Elevated spreads could make it harder for borrowers to find rate relief, even if Treasuries rally and secondary mortgage spreads tighten, Adelberg wrote.
Mortgage ETFs saw marginal outflows while bond funds as a whole continued to see inflows. To monitor ETF flows:
Flows into US aggregate bond ETFs are mostly positive this year, as investor demand has improved on higher yields. Agency MBS-specific ETF flows, however, are more muted, Adelberg wrote.
Loan applications remain near all-time lows, showing no signs of life yet.
Loan applications for refinancings and purchases are near 25-year lows as housing-market activity is still depressed, and most refinancings are uneconomical at current rates, Adelberg wrote. The 30-year fixed mortgage contract rate hovers around 6.7%.
Activity in the existing-home market continues to wane.
Single-family existing-home sales in April fell 3.5% month-over-month and are down more than 20% from a year ago. Existing-home median prices continued to decline as well, seeing their largest year-over-year drop since early 2012, though this may partly reflect the mix of homes purchased. Low existing homes for sale, with many homeowners locked into low-rate mortgages, are depressing resale activity.
MBS spreads may remain under pressure until the economic and inflation outlooks become more optimistic, Adelberg wrote on May 31.
Mortgage applications (demand) decreased 3.7 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 26, 2023.
The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.7 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 5 percent compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 7 percent from the previous week and was 45 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 3 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent compared with the previous week and was 31 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
Here is the rest of the story.
1% down payment mortgages when home prices are falling? Truly, a land of economic confusion under Country Joe.
It is not a surprise that the ill-advised COVID economic shutdowns would harm small businesses that large corporations.
Yes, The Fed’s M2 Money printing press went wild with COVID emergency refief. And so did the discrepancy between the top 1% and the bottom 50% in terms of “Share of Total Net Worth Held.” The top 1% is in blue and the bottom 50% is in red. M2 Money is in green.
Compared to pre-COVID, the top 1% increased their share of total net worth from 29.7% to 31.9%, an increase of 7.4% since January 2020. The bottom 50% fell from 30% to 28.5%, a -5% decline. An elitist wonderland!
And The Biden family keeps raking in the money far about Joe’s salary.
And I assume Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also made fortunes from COVID relief.
Well, Biden and McCarthy have agreed in principle to a budget revision, raise the debt ceiling and avoid a US debt default. The Uniparty strikes again! No restraint of reckless Federal spending t speak of . The big donor class wins and middle class Americans lose.
Mike Shedlock (aka, Mish) makes a good point: the US is already in recession if we look at GDI (gross domestic income) rather than GDP (gross domestic product). The US has already declined two consecutive quarters in terms of negative GDI growth.
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