Fear The Talking Fed! US Industrial Production/Capacity Utilization Rise In The Face Of Inflation (M2 Velocity Near All-time Low As M2 Money YoY Still Sizzling At 9.85% YoY)

Most of us are painfully aware of rising food prices, particularly with the US fighting a proxy war with Russia. Wheat prices have doubled under Biden and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But inflation is everywhere. Rising home prices, rising gasoline and diesel prices, etc. When Jeep can see a Wagoneer for $100,000+, you know we have inflation.

The surprise this morning was retail sales, up 0.9% MoM (though still less than expected), despite rising prices. Odd since REAL wage growth is negative.

But the other bit of good news this AM is that US industrial production rose +1.1% MoM in April. And US Capacity Utilization is rising dangerously towards 80%, it is at 79% in April.

You will notice that Fed monetary tightening occurs when capacity utilization hits 80%, indicating an overheated (or OVERSTIMULATED) economy. Yes, we still have The Fed Funds Target Rate (Upper Bound) at only 1% and The Fed Balance Sheet still near $9 trillion. So, Fed stimulypto is still in play.

Meanwhile, M2 Money Velocity is near its historic low and M2 Money YoY is still sizzling at 9.85% YoY.

Wheat prices have doubled under Biden, and you can see how wheat futures soared when Russia invaded Ukraine.

So, despite The Fed’s intent to tighten, The Federal Reserve and Fed government are still overstimulating the economy. But what happens when the stimulus is gone?

Fear the Talking Fed!

Spot The Loser! Japan’s Yen, China’s Yuan or Russia’s Ruble (Russian Ruble Bounced Back While Yen And Yuan Have Crashed)

I hope America’s foreign policy wizards (Biden, Harris and Blinken) weren’t relying on the Russian Ruble staying pulverized, because the Ruble (relative to King Dollar) has regained all its losses.

On the other hand, the Japanese Yen and Chinese Yuan have crashed harder than Biden’s popularity.

Actually, The Atlanta Fed’s flexible price inflation rate is 25%, up from 3.90% Pre-Joe.

Perhaps Biden, Harris and Blinken think Putin is a pasta sauce.

Panic In (Fed) Needle Park! Mortgage Purchase Applications INCREASE Despite Rapid Rise In Mortgage Rates (FEAR Of Further Fed Taking Away Punchbowl)

Today, the US Treasury 10-year yield exploded upwards by over 12 basis points. With it, the 30-year mortgage yield is above 5%. And MBA Mortgage Purchase Applications are actually increasing.

Today’s bond market summary shows the 10-year Treasury yield up 12.7 basis points. Its the same all over the western world. Asia? Not so much.

Fear of further Fed fireballs coming from removal of the monetary punchbowl.

Alarm! Treasury 10Y Term Premium Remains Deeply Negative As Fed Plans Its Attack On Mortgage Rates And Treasury Yields (3M TBill/OIS Spread Crashes As 30Y Mortgage Rate Is -3%) Venezuela 2Y Yield At … 436.77%

Alarm!

The 10-year Treasury term premium, the amount by which the yield on a long-term bond is greater than the yield on shorter-term bonds, remains steeply negative (white line) as The Federal Reserve steps up its attack (aka, monetary tightening). Meanwhile, the 10Y-2Y curve actually rose into positive territory.

Historically, the 10-year Treasury Term Premium declines before a recession.

Meanwhile, 3 month Treasury bill to Overnight Indexed Swaps spread is crashing to the lowest level since 2017.

But with inflation raging at the fastest pace in 40 years, the REAL 10-year Treasury yield remains negative at -5.236% while the REAL 30-year mortgage rate is -3.01%. Both were in positive territory when Biden was installed as President.

Speaking of interest rates, the infamous PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) are all seeing surges in their 10-year sovereign yields. Sweden, while not a PIG has the largest spike today at 13.8 BPS.

Actually, the biggest spike in sovereign yields occurred in Ukraine where their 2-year yield popped +205.8 BPS. But Lebanon has the highest 2-year yield at 162.29%. Turkey is in third place in the sovereign demolition derby at 23.52%. Sadly, Poland’s 2-year yield is up 16 bps today.

But the winner of the sovereign debt demolition derby is …. drumroll … VENEZUELA! At 436.77%.

I am really surprised that Biden hasn’t adopted Maduro’s fashion sense.

Weekend Update: Oil, Commodities, Wheat, Soaring In Price, Mortgage Rates Down (Inflation Forecast To Worsen)

This has been a brutal week for consumers. With the Russia/Ukraine conflict raging and Congress seems determined to not allow for additional oil and gas production, and Biden’s anti-fossil fuel edicts still in place, we are seeing dramatic price increases in wheat (UP 89.5% since January 1, 2021), WTI Crude (UP 143% since January 1, 2021), and food stuffs (UP 55% since January 1, 2021).

Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate has actually been falling the last several days, which is good for prospective home buyers as the 10-year US Treasury Note yield has been declining.

The USD/Russian Ruble cross is skyrocketing and the USD/Euro is doing likewise. Russians visiting the US will find that their trip is suddenly unaffordable (as do many American citizens will its rampant inflation). As Bruce Willis said in “Die Hard,” “Welcome to the party, pal.”

On Friday, the US Treasury 10-year yield declined 11 bps.

And energy prices continue to soar, particularly UK Natural Gas Futures that rose 19.85% overnight.

The US inflation data will be released on March 10th and the consensus is that February CPI inflation will rise to 7.9% YoY.

But even the latest unemployment rate report (3.8%) is signalling that The Fed should be raising interest rates since it is lower than the Natural Rate of Unemployment or NAIRU (4.44%).

And we have the next Fed policy error on March 16th. The Fed dots plot looks like the glide slope for an aircraft, but the message is that rates will be going up at future meetings.

And just for amusement, I present to you the infamous Hindenburg Omen chart that forecast the 2008/2009 stock market correction. Since that correction, the Hindenburg Omen has been flashing “danger” but the only correction was the COVID-linked correction of early 2020. While the Hindenburg Omen is flashing red right now, The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (green line) has protected against market corrections. Let’s see what happens if and when The Fed decides to remove the epic monetary stimulus.

Its anyone’s guess as to whether The Fed will actually tighten monetary policy.

Russian Stock Market Drops Over 30% As Their 10-year Yield Rises To 15.23%, Ruble Crashes And UK Natural Gas Rises 51% (As Biden Throws The Booklet At Russia)

We now know that Russia has invaded Ukraine and President Biden really threw the booklet at Putin in a speech today. Rather than removing Russia from the SWIFT banking system which would have really hurt Russia’s trade with Europe, he gave a surprisingly cogent speech about the US and NATO agreeing to do … not much. He did warn us that energy prices would rise (which he helped do when he took office) and told energy companies not to gauge consumers.

The reaction in Russia? Their stock market tanked over 30% (not because of Biden’s speech, but because of negative costs of war).

Russia’s 10-year sovereign yield rose to 15.23%.

The Russian Ruble crashed and burned.

UK natural gas prices rose 51% today.

And while 17 Euro nations have negative 2 year sovereign yields, Russia has 2-year sovereign yield of 28.65% which is nothing compared to Ukraine’s 75% 2-year yield (in US Dollars).

The SWIFT system, or Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, facilitates financial transactions and money transfers for banks located around the world. The system is overseen by the National Bank of Belgium and enables transactions between more than 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries around the world. Removing Russia from the SWIFT system would really hurt Russian trade with Europe. I assume that Europe is scared of soaring energy costs, so probably doesn’t want Russia removed from SWIFT.

Queue Creedence Clearwater singing “Lookin’ Out My … Limo Window.”

Fed Monetary Stimulytpo Now Almost 14 Years Old And Still Running Strong! Top 1% Share Of Net Worth Now Higher Than Bottom 50%, Income Inequality Getting Worse

It has been almost 14 years since The Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke unleashed zero interest rate policies (ZIRP) and quantitative easing (QE) in late 2008. And Fed monetary stimulypto is still running strong after almost 14 year of monetary mismanagement and asset bubble stimulation.

The Federal Reserve under Bernanke and Yellen raised their target rate exactly once under President Obama before the election of Donald Trump. After Trump was elected, The Fed raised their target rate 8 times, lowered it 5 times. There have been no rate hikes under Biden.

There seemingly never-ending Fed monetary stimulus has resulted in the top 1% seeing their share of total net worth soar relative to the share of net worth of the bottom 50%. But note that starting in 2014 just as The Fed was engaged in QE 3. But the real divergence occurred after The Federal government heaped trillions in fiscal stimulus on top of the skyrocketing monetary stimulus.

In terms of income inequality (as measured by the GINI coefficient), it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Let’s see if The Fed actually delivers by reducing their monetary stimulypto.

My Kuroda! Japan’s Inflation “Miracle” (0.5% Inflation) Despite $5 Trillion BOJ Balance Sheet And -0.10 Policy Rate

My Kuroda!

Forbes has an interesting article on the Japanese “miracle” entitled “The $5 Trillion Inflation Time Bomb No One’s Talking About.”

It’s taken nine years and the Bank of Japan supersizing its balance sheet to the $5 trillion mark, but Asia’s second-biggest economy finally has some inflation.

Officials in Tokyo are realizing the hard way, though, that it’s best to be careful what you wish for as bond yields spike.

Granted, the gains in consumer prices Japan is reporting are negligible compared to those in the U.S. and China. And inflation is still a good distance from the BOJ’s 2% target. Still, the 0.5% rise in consumer prices in January year-on-year is already unnerving the bond market. It followed a 0.8% jump in December and marks the fifth straight month of increases.

The worry is that Japan’s inflation is the “bad” kind. Haruhiko Kuroda was hired as BOJ governor in March 2013 to end deflation. Kuroda unleashed tidal waves of liquidity. That drove the yen down 30%, generated record corporate profits and sent Nikkei 225 Average stocks to 31-year highs.

Despite a staggering balance sheet with a -0.10 bps policy rate, Japan has only 0.5% inflation.

And Japan’s yield curve is negative at 3 year tenor and less.

How is it that Japan has virtually no inflation with negative rates but the USA has 7.5% inflation with a 0.25% target rate? Could it be the USA undertook massive fiscal spending related to COVID and reduced energy sources in an effort to go “green” that led to 7.5% inflation??

My Kuroda!

Good governments don’t go on wild, wasteful spending sprees and shut off energy sources like the Biden Administration and Congress.

New US Foreign Policy: Exporting Inflation Around The Globe As The Fed Keeps Printing (US Export Prices UP 15.1% YoY, Import Prices UP 10.8% YoY)

Another effect of The Federal Reserve’s reckless monetary policy coupled with Biden/Congress reckless spending is bad foreign policy. The US is exporting inflation around the globe.

US export price YoY is at 15.1%. The US is importing less inflation at 10.8% YoY.

Here is the export/import stack.

Things are not well in the US either. The misery index keeps rising under Biden’s Reign of Error.

The Federal Reserve keeps on printing!

Federal Reserve Bitcoin Meme GIF

Fed’s Bullard Backs Supersized Hike, Seeks Full Point by July 1 (10Y-2Y Yield Curve Crashing)

Call this “The running of the Bull(ard)s mouth.”

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said he supports raising interest rates by a full percentage point by the start of July — including the first half-point hike since 2000 — in response to the hottest inflation in four decades.

“I’d like to see 100 basis points in the bag by July 1,” Bullard, a voter on monetary policy this year, said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. “I was already more hawkish but I have pulled up dramatically what I think the committee should do.”
 
Bullard’s plan involves spreading the increases over three meetings, shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet starting in the second quarter, and then deciding on the path of rates in the second half based on updated data. He said he was undecided on whether the March meeting should begin with 50 basis points, and would defer to Fed Chair Jerome Powell in leading the discussion. Powell, at a press conference in January, didn’t rule out the idea of such a move.

Bullard’s comments, along with the war drums along The Potomac about a Russian invasion of The Ukraine, are causing the 2-year Treasury yield to rise faster than the 10-year yield.

Resulting in a crashing 10Y-2Y curve.

The GINI measure of income inequality is at an all-time high as the purchasing power of the US Dollar is at an all-time low. Way to go, Federal Reserve and Congress!

What will The Fed decide at their emergency, closed-door meeting today? Nice transparency, Powell!