US Mortgage Rate Declines To 6.77% As European Yields Increase (Fed Starts Digital Dollar Experiment … In Terror!)

Despite The Federal Reserve removing some of the monetary punch bowl, Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate declined to 6.77% yesterday.

Catch a rising yield and put it your pocket. European sovereign yield are up over 10 basis points today.

On this side of the pond, The Federal Reserve has begun their experiment with big banks using digital currency. This is a step towards going to a cashless economy.

Why is this terrifying? Blockchain technology is a fantastic innovation for processing payments given its ledger capabiliities. But that means that The Federal Reserve might be able to look at your complete history of expenditures. Or worse, perhaps even shut down your ability to make payments, This may lead to a China-style “social credit score” where the Fed and the Federal government punish people for driving “too much” increasing your carbon footprint or eating non-Federal government approved foods and lowering your social credit score.

Will there be safeguards? Allegedly, but remember the FBI hid Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the Presidential election of late 2020. And HOW did our nation’s regulators completely drop the ball on Sam Bankman-Fried (or Spam Bankfraud)?

Thus, it is an Experiment in Personal Liberty Terror.

Sorry, the poster for Experiment In Terror looks like Biden sniffing a teenager girl.

US Mortgage Rates Plunge for a Second Week, Hit Two-Month Low, Purchase And Refi Applications Rise (But Purchase Apps Down 86% YoY, Refi Apps Down 41% YoY)

The global economic slowdown has one nice unintended consequence: as the 10-year Treasury yield softens, mortgage rates decline.

US mortgage rates retreated sharply for a second week, hitting a two-month low and providing a bit of traction for the beleaguered housing market.

The contract rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage decreased 23 basis points to 6.67% in the week ended Nov. 18, according to Mortgage Bankers Association data released Wednesday. 

Rates have plunged nearly a half percentage point in the past two weeks, the most since 2008, as recession concerns mount, inflation shows signs of cooling and a number of Federal Reserve officials say it may soon be appropriate to slow the pace of monetary tightening.

The slide in borrowing costs helped stir demand as the group’s index of applications to buy a home climbed 2.8%. That marked the third-straight increase since the gauge stumbled to the weakest level since 2015.

The pickup in demand allowed the overall measure of mortgage applications, which includes refinancing, to rise for a second week, but it still remains depressed. The index of refinancing activity edged up from a 22-year low.

The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and was 86 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 9 percent compared with the previous week and was 41 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

But you need an electron microscope to see the increase in both purchase and refi apps.

One indicator of a slowing global economy is the decline of FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) with declining liquidity.

Buying Typical US Home Now Requires Income of Over $100,000, Up 46% YoY (19 Straight Months Of Negative REAL Wage Growth Isn’t Helping)

Redfin had an interesting post where they showed that the “typical” US home now requires income of over $100,000.

Of course, it is easy to blame the figure on rapidly rising mortgage rates and Federal Reserve tightening.

But the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey used to say) is that US REAL wage growth has been NEGATIVE for 19 straight months. This alone makes housing unaffordable for the middle class and low wage workers.

Good day!

Again, why are Biden and Trudeau wearing Mao jackets in Bali? And why is Biden looking like a robot?? Biden does look like he is saying “Take me to my leader, Pei.”

The Fed’s BIG Green Bag (Of Money)! Goldman Sees Fed Rate Peaking In March At 5%, Core Inflation Rate UP > 400% Under Biden (US Yield Curve Inverted Prior To Nov 2nd FOMC Meeting)

The next Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in on Wednesday, November 2nd. Let’s see what The Fed does with its BIG GREEN BAG … OF MONEY.

As I set here on Sunday morning waiting to see how the Cleveland Browns will lose to cross-state rival Cincinnati Bengals, I see that both the US Treasury 10yr-2yr and 10yr-3mo yield curves are inverted (below zero).

Core inflation (CPI less food and energy) YoY (blue line) was only 1.3% in February 2021 shortly after Biden was sworn-in as President and is now 6.6% in September 2022. That is over a 400% increase in core inflation!

We have this tantalizing headline on Bloomberg:

Goldman Sachs Now Sees Fed Rates Peaking at 5% in March By Simon Kennedy(Bloomberg) — 

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists said they now expect the US Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to 5%, higher than previously predicted.

The central bank will lift its benchmark rate to a range of 4.75% to 5% in March, 25 basis points more than earlier expected, economists led by Jan Hatzius wrote in an Oct. 29 research report.

The route to the new peak includes increases of 75 basis points this week, 50 basis points in December and 25 basis points in February and March, they said.

The economists cited three reasons for expecting the Fed to hike beyond February: “uncomfortably high” inflation, the need to cool the economy as fiscal tightening ends and price-adjusted incomes climb, and to avoid a premature easing of financial conditions.

Well, not exactly earth-shattering. Fed Funds Futures data point to a peak of near 5% (4.905%) for the May 2023 FOMC meeting, so Goldman Sachs is calling for an earliest peak at the March 2023 FOMC meeting,

Regardless of what Goldman Sachs thinks, Fed officials are expecting a peak in 2023 followed by a decline to 2.5%.

Brainard and Bostic are the only “doves.” Which is silly because Chicago’s Evans is a perma-dove. Let’s see how the Dots Plot changes at the November 2nd meeting.

America’s distressed debt pile is biggest since September 2020.

US Mortgage Rates At 7.20% As US Yield Curve 10YR-3MO Inverts (M2 Money YoY Lowest Since 2010)

As the midterm elections get close, the news for Americans gets worse.

On the housing/mortgage front, Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate (yellow line) just hit 7.20%, the highest since 2000. Also, the US Treasury 10yr-3mo yield curve (white line) inverted, historically a precursor to recession, before barely climbing back above 0%.

Meanwhile, M2 Money growth has collapsed to the lowest level since 2010.

US GDP numbers are due out at 8:30AM EST for Q3. The numbers are expected to show slow growth (around 2.4%) with rapid inflation (5.3%). While the GDP numbers are better than Q2’s numbers, they are still pretty lousy.

Fed Is Losing Billions, Wiping Out Profits That Funded Spending (Agency MBS Prices Falling While Duration And Convexity Soar)

As I told my Chicago, Ohio State and George Mason University finance and real estate students, repeatedly, “Watch out when The Fed begins to tighten monetary policy. It will be a bloodbath for taxpayers.”

Well, here we are. I argue that Biden’ green energy knucklehead policies are driving inflation, or it could be the insane level of Federal spending that Obama economist Larry Summers warned us about, or rising wages (in part due to Federal spending) is to thank for inflation. Or all of the above.

Regardless of the cause, the bond market is enduring its worst selloff in a generation, triggered by high inflation and the aggressive interest-rate hikes that central banks are implementing. Falling bond prices, in turn, mean paper losses on the massive holdings that the Fed and others accumulated during their rescue efforts in recent years.

Rate hikes also involve central banks paying out more interest on the reserves that commercial banks park with them. That’s tipped the Fed into operating losses, creating a hole that may ultimately require the Treasury Department to fill via debt sales. The UK Treasury is already preparing to make up a loss at the Bank of England.

The Reserve balance has crashed into negative territory.

And Fed losses are skyrocketing.

Agency MBS prices are up today, but are down since August 2022. But risk measures duration and convexity are zooming upwards.

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.

‘Fragile’ Treasury market is at risk of ‘large scale forced selling’ or surprise that leads to breakdown (Fed tighening to fight Bidenflation as a recession becomes imminent, Dow Futures UP 770 Points For Monday)

Things are getting interesting in DC, to say the least. The US is 100% likely to face a recession in the next 12 months while The Federal Reserve is on its crusade to fight inflation caused by … The Federal Reserve, Biden’s green energy shenanigans and massive, irresponsible Federal spending that even Former Obama economist Lawrence Summers warned would cause inflation. So what will The Fed do? Lower rates and expand their assets purchases to fight the impending recession OR keep tightening to fight Bidenflation? But where we are now is that the fixed-income market could be in big, big trouble.

According to MarketWatch, the world’s deepest and most liquid fixed-income market is in big, big trouble.

For months, traders, academics, and other analysts have fretted that the $23.7 trillion Treasuries market might be the source of the next financial crisis. Then last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged concerns about a potential breakdown in the trading of government debt and expressed worry about “a loss of adequate liquidity in the market.” Now, strategists at BofA Securities have identified a list of reasons why U.S. government bonds are exposed to the risk of “large scale forced selling or an external surprise” at a time when the bond market is in need of a reliable group of big buyers.

“We believe the UST market is fragile and potentially one shock away from functioning challenges” arising from either “large scale forced selling or an external surprise,” said BofA strategists Mark Cabana, Ralph Axel and Adarsh Sinha. “A UST breakdown is not our base case, but it is a building tail risk.”

In a note released Thursday, they said “we are unsure where this forced selling might come from,” though they have some ideas. The analysts said they see risks that could arise from mutual-fund outflows, the unwinding of positions held by hedge funds, and the deleveraging of risk-parity strategies that were put in place to help investors diversify risk across assets.

In addition, the events which could surprise bond investors include acute year-end funding stresses; a Democratic sweep of the midterm elections, which is not currently a consensus expectation; and even a shift in the Bank of Japan’s yield curve control policy, according to the BofA strategists.

The BOJ’s yield curve control policy, aimed at keeping the 10-year yield on the country’s government bonds at around zero, is being pushed to a breaking point.

Well. Bidenflation certainly isn’t helping, but Statist Economist and Cheerleader Janet Yellen can’t bring herself to blame green energy policies, rampant Federal spending or irresponsible Federal Reserve policies for the crisis.

You will note the differences between today and the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The financial crisis gave us a massive surge in government securities liquidity thanks to then Fed Chair Ben Bernanke imitating Japan’s Central Bank and buying US government securities. Fast forward to today and the liquidity index hasn’t budged much since 2010 (except for a little blip around the Covid Fed intervention of early 2020), but we are now seeing near 40-year highs in inflation and a barely declining Fed balance sheet. And M2 Money YoY (mostly commercial bank deposits) are crashing.

I am guessing that The Fed will pivot given that stock futures are way up for Monday. The Dow Jones mini is up 770 points and the S&P 500 mini is up 88.75 points.

Bond market futures (specifically the US Ultra Bond) is down for Monday, meaning yields will be climbing.

While perusing MarketWatch, I noticed this headline from the uber-attention whore Nouriel Roubini: “New Yorkers are ‘stupid’ for moving to Texas, Florida: Wall Street’s ‘Dr. Doom’.” Seriously? Nouriel, you aren’t talking to friends in a Bleeker Street bar. Like Bernanke.

I remember giving a speech at The Brookings Institute in Washington DC. Talk about stranger in a strange land. One person who I was debating got frustrated and said “You are such a … Republican!!!” As if that was the worst slur he could throw at me.

My Kuroda! Dow UP 774 Points And 10Y Treasury Yield Down -2.2 BPS As Japan’s Central Bank Intervenes To Prop Up Currency (Options Expiration Likely Explanation For Stock Surge)

My Kuroda!

Wall Street saw another day of stunning reversals, with stocks rallying after a Treasury selloff sputtered. The yen jumped as Japan intervened again to prop up the currency.

After many twists and turns, the S&P 500 pushed solidly into the green and headed for its best week since June as 10-year yields fell from the highest since 2007.

Probably because The Fed is likely to pivot with impending recession. The Dow is up 774 points this Friday. And today was a huge option expiration day!!

And the 10-year Treasury yield fell -2.2 basis points.

Here is the result of Japan’s intervention.

But today’s numbers were largely monthly stock index option expiration.

Why did it fall upon Powell to be the wielder of the Fed tightening scimitar? Why didn’t Yellen? Because “Good Girls Don’t.” But Powell did.

Have a nice weekend. I will be rooting for Ohio State to annihilate the Iowa Hawkeyes at noon on Saturday.

Winter Is Coming! US Electricity Prices UP 24% Under Biden (S&P 500 Index DOWN -25.3% In 2022 As Fed Rate Reversal Expected In May 2023)

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter. Perhaps we should call Biden “Frosty The Snow Man” because it is going to be a miserable winter for the middle class and low wages workers as Biden’s green energy policies sink in.

The US CPI for electricity is up 24% under Nuclear Joe as The Fed continues to leave their balance sheet relatively untouched.

You might have to bail on the stock market to stay warm this winter, but it is a shame that the S&P 500 index is down -25.3% in 2022 as The Fed counterattacks Bidenflation.

When will The Federal Reserve pivot? That is, when can we sing “Here comes Santa Claus”?

According to the Fed Funds Futures data, Santa Claus is expected to return in May 2023 (rate reversal).