Mortgage rates have increased dramatically under “Middle Class Joe” as The Federal Reserve attempts to choke-off inflation caused by … The Fed coupled with Biden’s energy policies (hope you are enjoying those high gasoline and diesel prices!) and the Federal government’s staggering spending spree under Pelosi, Schumer and McConnell.
Thus far, The Federal Reserve has leveled-out out their Treasury Note and Bond purchases, increased their Agency Mortgage-backed Securities (AgMBS) holdings, but strangely have reduced their holding of Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) in the face of rising inflation.
And while The Fed Funds Target rate is a lowly 1%, it is projected to rise to 2.890% by the February 1, 2023 FOMC meeting. That should send mortgage rates up.
As if mortgage rates haven’t skyrocketed already, thanks to The Fed’s jawboning about having to raise rates and extinguish inflation.
With sizzling mortgage rates (cooling a bit as the global economy slows), home mortgage payments have risen +43.4% YoY.
Now we have President Biden trying to scare us about the Monkey Pox, yet leaves the southern border wide open. One would think that Biden would shut the borders (as if the surge in Fentanyl, sex trafficking and other diseases aren’t reason enough. But I do predict another massive spending bill from Biden/Congress to combat Monkey Pox and the resurgence of Covid variants.
Meanwhile The Fed jawbones fighting inflation with monetary tightening in the future, even if they jawboning causes mortgage rates to soar and mortgage payments to spiral.
US Existing Home Sales were 5.61M SAAR in April, down -2.4% from March’s -3.0% MoM reading. But median prices YoY for existing home sales printed at 14.85%, still hot, hot, hot.
With 3 consecutive declines in MoM existing home sales, how can prices still be raging at 14.85%? First, inventory for sale in April remains low compared to 2010 (yellow line). Second, The Federal Reserve’s Stimulypto (excessive monetary easing) is still out there in force despite Jerome “Slowhand” Powell signaling rate increases (green line). 30Y mortgage rates are still rising.
Where do we go from here? 30 year mortgage rates have been climbing as The Fed signals its intents to tighten monetary policy. But with global economic slowing, Treasury yields have been coming down (like today’s -5.2 BPS drop (Germany’s 10Y Bund Yield dropped -8 BPS on slowing global economic growth).
But remember, the Existing Home Sales numbers are for April.
Let’s look at average hourly earnings. Thanks to “progressive” energy policies from Biden, REAL average hourly earnings growth has crashed and burned.
But here is the chart that the Biden Administration touts showing average hourly earnings growth at 5.6% YoY (although I doubt if Jen Psaki would leave out the massive distortion caused by The Federal Reserve’s “Let’s go crazy!” monetary policy.
Another Medusa Touch moment is the reverse repo market. When I wrote about reverse repos before, several people wrote me saying “You don’t understand. This is a temporary problem and will vanish shortly.” However, The Fed’s reverse repo facility has now climbed to an all-time high.
Then we have the disruptive effects of The Federal Reserve deciding for us that mortgage rates are too low and should be higher.
Now look at lithium prices, a key element for electric car batteries. Making the switch from Internal combustion engines to electric motors far more costly.
The list goes on and on.
Suffice it to say, everything the Biden Administration touches turns to stone.
But I wager that the Biden Administration wishes that Hunter Biden’s laptop would turn to stone.
Only an elitist DC bureaucrat like Joe Biden would laugh at inflation that is ruining the lives of millions of Americans.
Here is the ratio of the S&P 500 index against the Bloomberg Commodity Price Index. This ratio is plotted against The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet of assets. Notice the decline in the Commodity Ratio in 2022, even ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Global currencies, on the other hand, have been really crushed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Japanese Yen, China’s Renminbi and Europe’s Euro relative to the US Dollar are falling due to a variety of reasons. Covid lockdown in China, Japan’s insistence on monetary easing while other Central Banks are tightening and the Euro with Russia threatening nuclear war.
WTI Crude is back to $100 a barrel. Critical metals are down today related to a slowing global economy and wheat is up 2.75%.
Could it be that US Dollar hegemony is nearly over and commodity-backed currencies are the way of the future?
Now the basis of this system, which has operated for the past 50 years, is being called into question. The sanctions on Russia, which showed that reserves accumulated by central banks can simply be taken away, raised the question of “what is money?”
That question may explain why Pozsar believes a huge shift in the way the world organizes money and reserves is now underway, “creating a “Bretton Woods III backed by outside money,” (gold and other commodities). Including crude oil and bitcoin.
At least crude oil has fallen below $100 as Biden merrily drains the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Gasoline prices have fallen slightly as this is being done before the midterm elections with political, not economic, intent. Once the midterms pass, will Biden continue draining the SPR until there is little left forcing the US to convert to “green energy”?
The purchasing power of the consumer dollar took a plunge under Biden as other commodities such as Bitcoin and crude oil soared.
An alternative asset, gold, have generally risen under Biden’s Reign of Error, but particularly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.