Weekend Update! Goldman Cuts US Growth Forecast for 2023 After Rate Path Change, FedEx Drops -44 Pts, US Treasury Yield Curve Further Inverts To -42.3 BPS (As Biden Drains The Strategic Petroleum Reserve)

Its a beautiful morning here in Columbus Ohio! Unfortunately, things are not so beautiful for the US economy.

Let’s begin with the US Treasury 10yr-2yr yield curve slope. Historically, the yield curve inverts prior to a recession. As of this sunny morning, the US Treasury yield curve is inverted and sinking further into inversion. Notice that headline inflation (blue line) has increased declined slightly after hitting 40-year highs as The Federal Reserve begins SLOWLY trimming their balance sheet (orange line). The green line is the expectation of Fed rate hikes by the December 2022 FOMC meeting indicating further monetary tightening.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its US economic growth estimates for 2023 after recently boosting its predictions for Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

US gross domestic product will increase 1.1% in 2023, economists including Jan Hatzius wrote in a note Friday, compared with a forecast of 1.5% previously. The projection for 2022 was left unchanged at 0%. 

Goldman raised its federal funds rate forecast by 75 basis points over the last two weeks for a terminal rate forecast of 4% to 4.25% by the end of 2022.

Then we have Federal Express which plunged -43.85 points on Friday. I use this an example on how inflation begat Fed tightening that begat an economic slowdown.

The Biden Administration is cheering the “Inflation Reduction Act” and the recent decline in the rate of inflation to a gut-wrenching 8.3% YoY. Bear in mind that since Biden was sworn-in as President, WTI Crude Oil is UP 75%, gasoline prices UP 54%, food prices are UP 48% and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is DOWN -32%.

Then we have Gold and Bitcoin relative to the INVERSE of the US Dollar since Biden was installed as President.

But I still get to look out my window and see a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

(Cheap) Bottle Of Wine? US August Inflation Report Worse Than Expected (Headline Inflation = 8.3% YoY, Core Inflation = 6.3% YoY, REAL Hourly Wages = -3.06% YoY) As Fed Slow To Withdraw Monetary Stimulus

After the August US inflation report, I am going to have to start drinking cheap bottles of wine to cope with red hot inflation.

The August inflation report from the BLS shows that headline inflation is still hot, hot, hot at 8.2% YoY. Core inflation rose to 6.3%.

REAL average hourly earnings growth remain in the toilet at -3.06% YoY.

Fuel oil used to heat homes rose 68.8% YoY. Food at home rose 13.5% YoY while rent (shelter) rose “only” 6.2% YoY. Wow, renters are REALLY getting the short-end of the stick from The Fed and the Biden Administration!!

New vehicles are UP 10.1% YoY. Good luck buying those “cheap” electric cars that Mayor Pete Buttigieg trumpets! And wait for the bill when the battery needs to be replaced!!!

Behind The Curve! US Headline Inflation 8.5% Is Far Ahead Of Fed Target Rate 2.5% (Eurozone Is In Similar Situation 9.1% Inflation Versus 0.75% Deposit Rate)

The Federal government reaction to the Covid outbreak in early 2020 included massive monetary stimulus, Federal government spendathons and Biden’s green energy policies have resulted in a sizzling 8.5% inflation rate (update on Monday morning).

The problem is that The Federal Reserve is far behind the inflation curve with their target rate at only 2.5%. And The Fed’s balance sheet remains near $9 TRILLION in assets held.

In Euroland, we are seeing a similar problem (Frankfurt, we have a problem!). The Eurozone inflation rate is at 9.1% while their version of The Fed Funds Target rate is only 0.75%, a large catch-up gap.

If we look at the Taylor Rule for the US using headline inflation, we see that The Fed needs to raise their target rate to … 21.72% to crush inflation.

In Euroland, the problem is similar. At 9.10% inflation, the ECB will have to raise their version of The Fed’s target rate to 16.80% to combat inflation. As if that will happen in either the US or Euroland.

On a different note, is it my imagination or does US Democrat Senate candidate from Pennsylvania John Fetterman look like the alien from the flick “Battleship”?

Fetterman is the top picture.

Here is a video of the Fetterman/Dr. Oz debate … if it ever occurs.

US Treasury Yields And Mortgage Rates Rise As Fed Vows To Extinguish Inflation Fire (Caused By Themselves And BAD Federal Policies) Check Out The Eurozone

As inflation burns the US middle class and low wage workers, The Federal Reserve reaffirmed at Jackson Hole that they are the NEW Smoky The Bear (only The Fed can fight inflation fire!) But of course, Federal spending and energy policies can drive up prices too.

Having said that, the 2-year Treasury yield and 30yr mortgage rate are rising rapidly.

The Fed is trying to cool demand by raising rates after lax monetary policy since late 2008.

While the US 2-year Treasury yield is up only slightly today, the Eurozone is seeing their 2-year sovereign yields spiking by 11-15+%.

The Comeback Kid? US Personal Savings Rate Is -51.5% YoY To Cope With Bidenflation Raging At 8.5% YoY (Meanwhile The Fed Is “Slothing” Its Balance Sheet Reduction)

It is amazing that Biden is rising in the polls, simply because he got several inflation-generating, crony pay-off bills passed through a Democrat-controlled Congress. Even more amazing is that Americans aren’t more furious with Biden given that inflation is still raging at 8.5% YoY and the US Personal Savings Rate to cope with raging prices is at -51.5% YoY.

It looks like one quick fix to the inflation problem is for The Federal Reserve to shrink its balance sheet. But they are taking their own sweet time doing it.

And then we have the S&P 500 index which has done poorly since Powell and The Fed have undertaken their “fight inflation” mantra caused by their own folly and Biden’s green, anti-fossil fuel policies. Not to mention Congress spending like drunken sailors in port.

But the same is going on in Europe where inflation is even higher than in the USA and the EUR/USD is plunging like a paralyzed falcon.

And then we have Biden shrinking the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (orange line).

And in Europe, we have Germany suffering through a horrible energy price spike.

Finally, here is a baseball card of former Dodger pitcher Billy Loes. He almost reminds me of Biden trying to think through a complex problem like student loan debt forgiveness that may cost taxpayers an average of $2,000 yet buy votes for Democrats at the midyear elections.

Powell Channels Mr T As Dow Drops 1,000 Points, Home Builder Index Plummets (UMich Buying Conditions For Houses Remains Near 1982 Levels)

‘‘We will keep at it until we are confident the job (i.e. killing inflation) is done.’’

Jerome Powell, Jackson Hole speech

Interviewer : What’s your prediction for the market?

Clubber Lang (Mr T) : My prediction?

Interviewer : Yes, your prediction.

[Clubber looks into camera] 

Clubber Lang : Pain!

Of course, Friday was one of those “Black Fridays” for investors. And pension funds.

The Dow Jone Industrial Average fell -1008.38 points after Powell’s “Mr T” remarks on pain. That was a whopping -3%. The NASDAQ composite index fell almost -4%.

Equity markets struggled in Europe as well, particularly the German DAX index.

The UMich Buying conditions for houses rose slightly, but remains near the lowest level since 1982.

Clubber Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman.

The Case-Shiller house price numbers are due out Tuesday for June and it is expected that they will show a significant slowing in home prices. Biden and Clubber Powell could then take “credit” for slowing “inflation.”

Q2 US GDP 2nd Reading Improves … To Just Plain Bad (GDP Price Worsens To 8.9% QoQ As Consumption Growth Dwindles To 1.5% QoQ)

The elite class “economists” (aka, cheerleaders) are meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week. But while they are planning our future, the revision to the miserable Q2 Real GDP report came out this morning.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2022, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 1.6 percent.

So, the second pass at measuring Real GDP produced a slightly better number (-0.6% vs -0.9%).

But the GDP PRICE index revision worsened from 8.7% to 8.9%. Look at REAL personal consumption (yellow line) as M2 Money growth slows.

Let’s see how things go at The Fed party at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It is appropriate for The Fed to hold their party/meeting at Jackson Hole (Teton County) since it has the highest concentration of wealth per household than any other county in the nation.

Yee-haw!

Winter Is Coming! Mortgage Rates, Gasoline Prices, Food Price Growth Slowing As Money Printing Slows (Just Wait For Winter!)

Politicians like to (falsely) take credit for things, such as Biden bragging about gasoline prices declining. Bear in mind that regular gasoline prices were $2.88 when Biden was inaugurated as President, rose to over $5 a gallon in June and now have declined to $3.98 for which Biden is taking credit. So, regular gasoline prices are still up 34% under Biden. Ouch!

But other rates and prices are dropping too. Bankrate’s 30yr mortgage rate started at , broke the 6% plane on June 21, 2022 only to drop to 5.53% on Friday. CRB’s foodstuffs price index started at 370.58 on Biden’s inauguration as President, rose to 606.71 on May 17, 2022 then retreated to 561.32 on Friday, August 13th. Even headline inflation (CPI YoY) is cooling … slightly.

You can see the recent declines in mortgage rates, gasoline and food prices (pink box) that corresponds to a shrinking of the US M2 Money stock growth. M2 Money is still growing at torrid pace (8.5% YoY) almost back to pre-Covid stimulypto levels of 6.8% YoY. So shrinking M2 Money growth is helping reduce mortgage rates and inflation, food/gasoline prices.

Instead of trying to remove Fed stimulus even more, Biden and Congress passed the “Inflation Reduction Act” which will barely scratch inflation and raises taxes across the board (despite Biden’s promise that no one making under $400,000 will see a cent of increase taxes). And Biden’s preposterous promise ignores the inflation tax which has been severe and still growing at 8.5% YoY. Not 0% as Biden and Harris claimed.

But wait for winter as food, gasoline and heating prices start to soar again.

My favorite dim-witted explanation of inflation belongs to Democrat Representative Pramila Jayapal who recently claimed that “inflation is a theoretical word that economists use.” Like the brilliant Milton Friedman???

Misery! PCE Deflator Rises To 6.8% YoY, Highest In 40 Years As Rents, Food, Gasoline Explode In Price (Taylor Rule Suggests Fed O/N Rate Of 17.78%)

The US economy is like the Stephen King story “Misery.” Except that it is Joe Biden breaking the legs of the consumer with his inflationary policies instead of Kathy Bates breaking James Caan’s legs to prevent him from leaving.

US inflation, based on June’s Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) deflator, rose to its highest level since 1982. The PCE Deflator YoY rose to 6.8% while the core PCE deflator (less food and energy, the two things more households care about) rose to 4.8% YoY in June.

In order to fight inflation, The Federal Reserve is going to have to raise their target rate to … 17.78% based on 6.80% PCE deflator YoY. We are currently at 2.50%.

The US Misery Index remains elevated.

Based on the PCE Deflator YoY and U-3 unemployment, the misery index remains elevated compared to before Covid and The Fed’s/Federal government hyper-stimulypto to counter the Covid economic shutdowns. We never fully recovered.

S&P 500 2023 EPS expectations falling off a cliff (orange line).

Here is a video of President Joe Biden trying to help US consumers struggling with inflation.

Inflation And The Fed Ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC Meeting (Will Fed 75 BPS Increase Tame Inflation With Inverted Yield Curve? Or Will Biden/Congress Raise Taxes To Fight Inflation?)

Hold on, The Fed is coming! To raise their target rate by 75 basis points at Wednesday’s FOMC meeting. Will this stem the tide of rising inflation?

Under Biden, we have seen regular gasoline prices rise 82% despite recent declines. Diesel fuel is up 121% and foodstuffs are up 46%. And house rents keep rising at a staggering 14.75% YoY. The recent declines is more due to the global economic slowdown and central bank rate increases than anything Washington DC is doing.

(Bloomberg) Investors are skeptical that the Federal Reserve can tame the worst inflation in four decades without driving the economy into a recession.

That’s bad news for Americans, who face the prospect of a downturn as their bills for food, rent and fuel swell. But to bond investors hit by deep losses this year, it may mean any further pain will be short-lived, as a recession will spark the US central bank to cut rates next year. That’s according to the results of the latest MLIV Pulse survey. 

Over 60% of 1,343 respondents in the survey said there’s a low or zero probability that the US central bank can rein in consumer-price pressures without causing an economic contraction. The survey was conducted July 18-22 and included retail and professional investors.

US inflation may be close to a peak, but it’s very likely to stay above 8% through year-end. Bloomberg Economics’ model assigns zero probability to a drop below 4% in 2023. Taken together with increasing recession risks, the Fed faces a tough balancing act as it attempts to bring stubborn price pressures under control without tipping the economy into contraction.

Of course, The Federal Reserve doesn’t really consider energy or food inflation, which are typically higher than core inflation. But going into Wednesday’s meeting, we see the US Treasury 10Y-2Y curve remains inverted (a signal of impending recession) and the Atlanta Fed GDPNow Q2 tracker at -1.6% after a negative Q1 reading.

Will raising the target rate (or ACTUALLY shrinking their balance sheet) reduce inflation? We shall see, but it has got to be better than Lawrence Summer’s suggestion to reduce inflation: raise taxes. Wait a minute, Larry. Inflation was caused by 1) overstimulus by The Fed combined with 2) massive Covid spending by Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and 3) Biden’s anti-fossil fuel policies. So instead of suggesting a decrease in Federal spending, Summer’s wants to give MORE of your money to Biden and Congress to spend. What an unbelievable nitwit.

Here is a picture of Larry Summers, Jay Powell and Janet Yellen attending the FOMC meeting in Washington DC.