Heartaches On Heartaches! US Court Ruling May Take 70,000 Truckers Off Road, Spur Jams (Diesel Prices UP 118% Under Biden, Things Just Keep Getting Worse)

Hey, I thought Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the US Transportation Secretary, was supposed to unclog the supply-chain crisis! Instead, we get heartaches on heartaches as diesel prices rise 118% under Biden AND now the bottle-necks may get a lot worse.

A US Supreme Court decision that could force California’s 70,000 truck owner-operators to stop driving is set to create another choke point in already-stressed West Coast logistics networks, a truckers’ organization said. 

“Gasoline has been poured on the fire that is our ongoing supply-chain crisis,” the California Trucking Association said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny a judicial review of a decision of a lower court, a process known as certiorari.

“In addition to the direct impact on California’s 70,000 owner-operators who have seven days to cease long-standing independent businesses, the impact of taking tens of thousands of truck drivers off the road will have devastating repercussions on an already fragile supply chain, increasing costs and worsening runaway inflation,” the CTA said.

The association asked the Supreme Court for a review of a case challenging California’s Assembly Bill 5, a law that sets out three tests to determine whether a worker is an employee entitled to job benefits or an independent contractor who isn’t. The trucking industry relies on contractors, and has fought to be exempt from state regulations for years because of federal law.

With few exceptions, the relationship between independent truckers and their carriers, brokers and shippers will be governed by the tests. 

As if US consumers aren’t getting crushed by rising prices already. In response to the Covid outbreak, The Fed slammed its foot on the money accelerator along with Federal government stimulus. Throw in Biden’s anti-drilling executive orders, and we have a nightmare.

Consumer confidence is already crumbling under inflation and rising energy prices.

Let’s get ready to stumble.

The End? Home Sellers Are Slashing Prices in Sudden Halt to Fed’s Stimulypto Boom (Dallas, Phoenix AZ And Las Vegas NV Seeing >20% Price Cuts)

As The Fed raises rates in their attempt to wrangle inflation, we are seeing an about-face in the US housing market.

The pandemic-related Fed monetary stimulypto begat a housing boom that is careening to a halt as the fastest-rising mortgage rates in at least half a century upend affordability for homebuyers, catching many sellers wrong-footed with prices that are too high. It’s an astonishing turnaround. Just a few months ago, house hunters felt pushed to make offers within days, waive inspections and bid way above asking. Now they can sleep on it and maybe even shop for a better deal. 

It doesn’t mean real estate is heading for a crash on the order of 2008. But when a market reaches these heights, even a drop toward normalcy will feel steep. And of course, a recession could make everything worse. 

Dallas, Phoenix AZ and Las Vegas NV are leading in the price-slashing derby.

Is this the end for the home price bubble?

Or is the music over with The Fed tightening monetary policy to fight inflation.

Wipe Out! Bitcoin Falls Below $20,000 As Crypto Slaughter Continues (Good Luck With Soaring Gasoline And Food Prices On July 4th Weekend!)

Wipe out!

Crypto markets have slumped, adding to a decline that has wiped away some $2 trillion of market value and left market participants uneasy heading into the long Fourth of July weekend.

Bitcoin has fallen below $20,000 as the US Dollar strengthens.

At least Dogecoin is up today.

Enjoy your expensive 4th of July weekend! As long as you don’t eat much due to expensive food prices or drive anywhere due to high gasoline prices.

And government bonds on course for worst year since 1865 and President Abraham Lincoln (then President Andrew Johnson).

At least the Biden Administration is doing what The New World Order is making them do. Or The Liberal World Order.

Biden looks like he is saying “Kiss me you Statist fool!”

Slip, Slidin’ Away! US Q2 Real GDP Descends To -2.1% (Late In The Evening For The Midterm Elections!)

Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer the midterm elections

The more you’re slip slidin’ away

As Bill Clinton once said about elections, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Which is bad news for Biden and Democrats after Q1’s bad GDP report of -1.6% “growth”, we now see the Atlanta Fed’s real-time GDP report for Q2 at -2.1%.

Today’s miserable construction spending report helped tank Q2’s real GDP forecast.

Its getting late in the evening since the midterms are only a couple of months away and Biden’s approval rating is miserable.

Sing it, Joe!

Slowing! US Personal Consumption Expenditures Drop To 0.2% MoM In May As PCE Deflator Hits 6.3% YoY (US Mortgage Rates Slip to 5.7%, the First Decline in Four Weeks)

The US economy is slowing as inflation ravages consumers. US Regular Gasoline prices, for example, are up 104% under President Biden which helps to slow the economy.

US personal consumption expenditures fell to +0.2% MoM in May as “inflation” or real personal consumption expenditures PRICES rose +6.3% YoY as The Fed’s balance sheet (aka, Master Blaster!) remains.

As I mentioned above, US regular gasoline prices are UP 103% under President Biden, diesel prices (the cost of shipping goods to markets like … food is up 119% under Biden while CRB foodstuffs is up 55% under China Joe.

Now we have mortgage rates in the US falling for the first time in four weeks. The average for a 30-year loan was 5.7%, down from 5.81% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday.

This year’s Fourth of July celebration is going to cost 18% more than last year’s celebration.

Lastly, the Atlanta Fed GDPNow real time tracker for Q2 is showing … -1% GDP “growth.”

So, yes, the US economy is slowing.

Home Listings Surge in Turnabout for Supply-Starved US Market (Are Homeowners Seeing An End To Home Price Growth With Fed Rate Increases??)

The Federal Reserve under Berananke, Yellen and Powell kept monetary stimulus out there too long and rates too low, but Powell is now trying to reverse that trend to fight inflation. But how will that impact the housing market?

(Bloomberg – Prashant Gopal) The housing slowdown is helping to solve one of the US real estate market’s most intractable problems: tight inventory.

With fewer buyers competing, the number of active US listings jumped 18.7% in June from a year earlier, the largest annual increase in data going back to 2017, Realtor.com said in a report Thursday. And new sellers entered the market at an even faster rate than before the pandemic housing rally began.

The Federal Reserve is cooling off the red-hot housing market as it fights to curb inflation by driving up interest rates. The resulting spike in mortgage costs is making homes less affordable and pushing would-be buyers to the sidelines. That means properties aren’t selling as quickly and must compete with the growing number of new offerings. 

I wonder if it is all the Covid monetary and fiscal stimulus that is finally getting homeowners to put their houses on the market, perhaps fearing the end of the housing price run-up with Fed-induced rate hikes?

Let’s see if The Fed’s Frolic Room (aka, open market committee) keeps driving rates up and home affordability down. Or is it The End for the house price bubble?

Nothing From Nothing! US Q1 GDP Falls To -1.6% QoQ As GDP Price Index Soars To 8.2% With Massive Fed Stimulus

Nothing from nothing beats the numbers coming out of Washington DC.

Despite enormous Fed monetary stimulus, Q1 Real GDP fell to -1.6% QoQ while prices rose 8.2%.

And if it weren’t for real estate, it would have been worse.

Personal consumption growth in real terms QoQ declined to 1.8% as Fed money printing slows.

Can the US economy survive without Uncle Spam’s printing press?

Fed Is ‘Just at the Beginning’ of Raising US Rates, Mester Says, MBA Mortgage Purchase Applications Drop -21% WoW As Rates Rise (Mester Channels The Carpenters)

Cleveland Fed’s Mester is channeling The Carpenter’s song “We’ve only just begun … to raise rates.”

Financial markets are anticipating what Mester is saying: rapidly rising interest rates. But as you can see from the following chart, gasoline prices (orange line) are driving rising US prices. So it is doubtful that monetary tightening will slow price increases. But Mester and company can only control monetary stimulus.

Mortgage rates have soared as The Fed attempts to crush inflation. And mortgage purchase applications fell -21% WoW in the most recent Mortgage Bankers Association survey.

The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and was 80 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 21 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

It almost seems like Mester is following the Taylor Rule (not really). But using CPI YoY, the Taylor Rule is saying that The Fed Funds Target Rate should be … 22.10%. It is only 1.75% after years of excessive stimulus following the banking crisis of 2008/2009. And Yellen who seemingly never met a rate hike that she liked.

If we use core PCE as our measure of inflation, the Taylor Rule is still high at 13.25%, a whopping 11.50 spread over the current target rate.

Will The Fed drive up rates and risk a recession ala Paul Volcker? Are we sitting on top of the world or about to get fried?

Bear in mind that gasoline prices are up 104% under the Biden Administration and mortgage rates are up 105%.

How Blue Can You Get? US Pending Home Sales Plunge -12% YoY In May As Fed Cranked-Up Rates (PHS Down 11 Of Last 12 Months)

How blue can you get?

US pending home sales declined -12% YoY in May as The Fed cranked up mortgage rates. That was 11 out of the last 12 months had declining pending home sales.

How about something a little more upbeat … like Gary US Bonds and New Orleans?

The original!

More On Fed’s Bullard’s “Consumers Healthy” Remark (Consumer Sentiment At Lowest Level Since 1977 While Unemployment Rate At Only 3.6%)

St. Louis Fed President Bullard made a remark the other day that consumers are healthy so a recession is unlikely.

Consumers are healthy? It is true that the US U-3 uemployment rate is low (3.6% versus 14.70% in April 2020 thanks to government shutdowns over Covid). But even though unemployment is low, consumer sentiment is at its lowest point since 1977.

Generally, consumer sentiment is high when unemployment is low, but not this time around. Currently, inflation is at the highest level since March 1980 even though consumer sentiment bottomed-out in April 1980.

Here is my chart showing that REAL average hourly earnings growth YoY is negative and getting worse, hardly a sign of “healthy consumers.”

Of course, rising gasoline and diesel prices have risen dramatically since 2021, but are declining slightly thanks to the global economic slowdown (read “lower demand”).

And a M2 Money Stock (green line) declined, US rents (blue line) declined as well.

We are truly living in Birdland. As in bird-brain land.