The US has an inflation problem. Both headline and core inflation YoY remain high compared to the previous 40 years. And The Federal Reserve is resolute in trying to curb inflation to 2%.
But as The Fed counterattacks inflation by raising their target rate, we are seeing a problem forming at the nation’s commercial banks. The growth in deposits YoY is now -0.6%. Commercial bank holdings of Treasuries and Agency MBS are declining as well. Agency MBS holdings are down -4.6% YoY and Treasuries and Agency holdings are down 0.0%.
How about M2 Money growth and M2 velocity? M2 Money growth has fallen to 1.3% YoY while M2 velocity has not been the same since the Covid sugar splash by The Fed and Federal government.
While inflation is creating havor for commercial bank deposit growth, it is interesting to follow the adventures of a spoiled child from MIT and his multi-billion dollar lemonade stand with all the controls of a child.
Once again, how did regulators get this SOOOOO wrong? And why didn’t investment advisors look at the balance sheet of FTX and Alameda Research. Yes, the media loves to report on FTX orgies, but the FTX fiasco points to something far more sinister. Were Sam Bankman-Fried and his paramore Caroline Ellison fronting this operation on behalf of some other parties?
I recall one of Woody Allen’s best lines. When asked what an investment manager does, the response was “they manage your money until nothing is left.” Sounds like SBF has a great future on Wall Street! And Caroline Ellison should have known better than to post things like “Here are what I think about some things: controlling most major world governments.”
Due to high inflation, reduced consumer spending, higher rents and other economic pressures, U.S.-based small business owners’ rent problems just escalated to new heights nationally this month, based on Alignable’s November Rent Poll of 6,326 small business owners taken from 11/19/22 to 11/22/22.
Unfortunately, 41% of U.S.-based small business owners report that they could not pay their rent in full and on time in November, a new record for 2022. Making matters worse, this occurred during a quarter when more money should be coming in and rent delinquency rates should be decreasing. But so far this quarter, the opposite has been true.
Last month, rent delinquency rates increased seven percentage points from 30% in September to 37% in October. And now, in November, that rate is another four percentage points higher, reaching a new high across a variety of industries.
All told in Q4 so far, the rent delinquency rate continues to increase at a significant pace, up 11 percentage points from where it was just two months ago.
Well, this is not good.
And on the mortgage front, not all is quiet.
Commercial bank holding of Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS) has collapsed with Fed tightening and mortgage rate increases.
The US housing market is slowing, to be sure. Yesterday’s existing home sales (EHS) report revealed that US EHS were down -28.43% YoY and the median price of EHS slowed to 6.6% YoY.
But that is just the surface of the EHS report for October. Once I removed inflation (CPI YoY) from the numbers, we are left with REAL median price of EHS growth of -1.17% and REAL average hourly earnings YoY of -3.0% YoY. The REAL 30-year mortgage rate is -5.25%. That reveals how horrible inflation is in the US.
It is important to note that EHS numbers are lower in October than they were before Covid stimulypto (my name for the massive spending spree by Congress and massive injection of monetary stimulus by The Fed. Even the REAL 30-year mortgage rate is negative at -0.5254%.
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.
And today, the University of Michigan (BOOO!!) consumer survey for housing buying conditions fell to the lowest level in recorded history.
Given the latest inflation numbers (improving from disastrous, 8.2% YoY to really horrible, 7.70% YoY), and unemployment rate rising from 3.5% to 3.7%, we now see that Taylor Rule estimate for Fed Funds is now … 13.85%. The US is currently at 4.00%. THAT is a big gap!
Yes, The Fed will not be able to fill the gap between the Taylor Rule and the current Fed Funds Target Rate, without incredible damage being done.
Unfortunately, this is an ACTIVE FAILURE for The Fed which has left monetary stimulus too high for too long since late 2008.
On a personal note, I am glad the midterm elections are over. We saw John Fetterman arguing until he was blue in the face that he loved fracking and will continue to let Pennsylvania frack. Then PA governor-elect Josh Shapiro came out yesterday and said that PA will end all fracking. And we are to believe that Lt Gov Fetterman did not talk with PA Attorney General Shapiro about fracking? To quote Joe Biden, “C’mon man!”
Now that the midterm elections are over (except for counting of million of mail-in ballots, a massive moral hazard risk), President Biden has proclaimed that he isn’t changing any of his horrid policies. And apparently, neither is The Federal Reserve.
The Bank of England followed the Fed’s 75 basis-point increase with an equivalent hike on Thursday, but strongly pushed back against market expectations for the scale of future increases, warning that following that path would induce a two-year recession. The pound fell 1.8% to $1.1183.
Stocks and bonds fell as Jerome Powell’s warning that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates more than previously anticipated sapped risk appetite. The dollar gained.
Futures on the S&P 500 fell 1% in the wake of Wednesday’s 2.5% drop. The selloff spread to Europe and Asia, where China’s affirmation of its Covid-Zero stance dashed hopes of a reopening. Lumen Technologies Inc., Peloton Interactive Inc., Moderna Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. tumbled in premarket trading, while Etsy Inc. and EBay Inc. rose.
So, the BofE, Fed and ECB are back to 2008/2009 era central bank rates.
But the US Fed is slow to shrink its enormous balance sheet.
US 30-year mortgage rates are above 7% as The Federal Reserve slowly withdraws its Covid-related monetary stimulus and attempt to combat near 40-year highs in inflation under Biden (aka, Bidenflation).
However, the US Treasury 10-year yield is down -12 basis points this morning.
And we have an important predictor of recession, the Treasury 10yr-3mo yield curve.
And if the Republicans win The House (and maybe the Senate) at the midterms, Biden can blame Republicans for the recession.
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.