The Reasonabilists? Negative-yielding Debt Exceeds $17 TRILLION With Japan And France Leading In Negative-yield Issuance (Danish 10-year Fixed Mortgage Rates At -0.5%!)

It has been over 100 years since The Federal Reserve System was created by Congress in December 1913 and then signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. Since its creation, the purchasing power of the US dollar for consumers has gone from $3.32 in December 1913 to $0.13 today.

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Virtually even nation has a central bank and together they have helped push down sovereign yields into negative territory in the amount of > $17 TRILLION.

The global stock of negative-yielding debt is now in excess of $17 trillion as rising market volatility lends extra force to this year’s unprecedented bond rally.

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Thirty percent of all investment-grade securities now bear sub-zero yields, meaning that investors who acquire the debt and hold it to maturity are guaranteed to make a loss. Yet buyers are still piling in, seeking to benefit from further increases in bond prices and favorable cross-currency hedging rates—or at least to avoid greater losses elsewhere.

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France is the leader in Europe at $2.3 trillion in negative-yielding sovereign debt. France’s 10-year sovereign debt bears a coupon of 0.50% at €109.004 and a yield of -0.408%.

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Japan, of course, is the global leader in negative-yielding debt at $7.3 TRILLION.

Mortgage rates can be negative as well. Just ask the Danish bank Jyske Bank. Jyske is offering a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) at … -0.5%.  Finland’s Nordea Bank is offering a 20-year FRM in Denmark at … 0%.

But wait! Who on earth would buy negative interest rate mortgage bonds? PIMCO, that’s who! 

But are negative mortgage rates reasonable? Or is Zorp the Surveyor approaching?

Zorp the surveyor.

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Mortgage Purchase Applications Back To 1998 Levels As Mortgage Refi Applications Slow A Bit From Refi Wave

If you have recently applied for a mortgage refinancing given plunging mortgage rates, you may have noticed a delay in the underwriting. Why? US lenders are in the midst of a “refi wave” and some lenders are swamped with work, particularly underwriters.

Mortgage applications decreased 6.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending August 23, 2019.

The Refinance Index decreased 8 percent from the previous week and was 167 percent higher than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 4 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 2 percent higher than the same week one year ago.

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The 30 year mortgage rate has been generally falling since November 2018 as European (Brexit) and Asian (China trade) pressures have increased. As a consequence, we have seen a “refi wave” in 2019.

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Mortgage purchase applications have risen gradually since 2014, but litigation against lenders and rules created under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) resulted in mortgage purchase applications at 1998 levels.

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A refi wave can feel like surfing at Nazare in Portugal.

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US Treasury 2Y Auction Sees 1.516% High Yield (Down From 1.825% At Previous Auction), Yield And Swap Curves Remain Cratered

The US Treasury just auctioned $40 billion of 2-year Treasury Notes at a high yield of 1.516%, down from the prior auction of high yield rate of 1.825%.

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As a result, the cratered yield and dollar swap curve remain … cratered.

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Sadly, the US Treasury yield and swaps curves remind me of the Lochnagar mine in France.

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Shakin’ All Over! German Yield Curve Completely Negative Yield As Germany Issues €869M Zero-coupon Bonds At -0.11% (Tried To Sell €2B)

Things are getting crazy in Europe, particularly in Germany and Denmark,

As Brexit approaches, Germany is desperately trying to save their economy (or at least their banking system) by borrowing at negative rates for 30-years.

The German government sold 869 million euros of 30-year bonds with a negative yield, for the first time ever, adding to the world’s growing $15 trillion in existing negative yielding debt.

The bund, set to mature in 2050, has a zero coupon, meaning it pays no interest. Germany offered 2 billion euros worth of 30-year bunds, and investors were willing to buy less than half of it, with a yield of minus 0.11%.

Here are the German sovereign yield curve (blue) and the Danish sovereign curve (green).

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Of course, the US Treasury curve has the same “bucket” shape as Germany and Denmark (as well as numerous other nations).

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The US Treasury 10Y-3M curve slope is now -40 BPS.

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While not totally submerged, Sweden, France and the UK all have the bucket shape.

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Just so we understand, it’s not just Europe that is slowing. China is slowing too (and before the tariff war).

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Sovereign yield curves are Shakin’ all over.

Mortgage Market Reopens to Risky Borrowers (Strict Lending Requirements Put In Place After Financial Crisis Are Starting To Erode)

This is a surprising story …. NOT!

(Wall Street Journal) The risky mortgage is making a comeback.

More than a decade after home loans triggered the worst financial crisis in a generation, the strict lending requirements put in place during its aftermath are starting to erode. Home buyers with low credit scores or high debt levels as well as those lacking traditional employment are finding it easier to get credit.

The loans have been rebranded. Largely gone are the monikers subprime and Alt-A, a type of mortgage that earned the nickname “liar loan” because so many borrowers faked their income and assets. Now they are called non-qualified, or non-QM, because they don’t comply with post-crisis standards set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for preventing borrowers from getting loans they can’t afford.

Borrowers took out $45 billion of these unconventional loans in 2018, the most in a decade, and origination is on track to rise again in 2019, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, an industry research group. Such mortgages aren’t guaranteed by government agencies and typically charge higher interest rates than conventional loans.

Proponents of unconventional loans argue that mortgages became too hard to get in the aftermath of the crisis and that their proliferation will open the housing market to sound borrowers who had been shut out of it. But some worry that the competition for customers could drive lenders to loosen standards too much.

Right now, unconventional loans are largely being extended by nonbank mortgage lenders. But big banks have found another way in: JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and Citigroup Inc. have in recent months been arranging mortgage bonds backed by unconventional loans.

Some $2.5 billion worth of subprime loans, those with FICO credit scores below 690, ended up in mortgage bonds in the first quarter of 2019. That is more than double a year earlier and the highest level since the end of 2007, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. There was $1.9 billion worth of subprime mortgage bonds in the second quarter.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (FF) back about half of new mortgages in the U.S. 

Actually, it is no surprise to learn that credit standards have been eroding.

FF are seeing debt-to-income (DTI) ratios rising again (back to 2005/2006)/

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Average credit (FICO) scores have been declining since 2012.

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While DTI and FICO are eroding in terms of credit quality, average LTV is higher now than during the housing bubble era of 2005-2007. That is called “chasing risk.”

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Let’s see how FF behave after the “patch” is lifted.

 

 

Come Dancing? US Treasury Considering Issuing 50- or 100-year Bonds As 30-Year Treasury Bond Yield Hits All-time Low (Negative Yielding Debt Growth Sends Gold Skyrocketing – 14 European Countries Have Negative 10-year Yields)

As the US House of Representatives (that controls the purse strings of the Federal government) escalates spending, the US Treasury has to issue more debt. In fact, the US has now exceeded the 100% debt to GDP that was first exceeded back in 2012 in the wake of the financial crisis.

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And with the US Treasury 30-year yield hitting all-time lows,

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Treasury is exploring longer-term maturities to refinance its debt and issue additional debt to cover the Federal budget deficit.

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(Bloomberg) — With interest rates on 30-year U.S. debt hitting all-time lows this week, the US government is once again considering whether to start borrowing for even longer.

The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday that it wants to know what investors think about the government potentially issuing 50-year or 100-year bonds, going way beyond the current three-decade maximum.

Well, US dollar swaps go out to 50 years, so 50-year Treasuries are not that much of a leap.  But can we try 40 years first??

But given the unusual shape of the Treasury and Swap curves (both inverted in the short-term), is this Fed-caused disturbance in the yield curve or a signal of recession in the coming 5 years.

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And as global negative yielding debt explodes, so does gold prices.

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Its the same all over the world in terms of negative yields.

In fact, 14 European nations have negative 10-year yields.

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