The talk of a gasoline tax “holiday” out of Washington DC is pure Kabuki theater. It is purely a sign of the times with Biden still trying to blame Putin for rising gasoline prices and inflation and ignoring his anti-fossil fuel policies that helped drive energy prices AND inflation through the roof.
Daily regular gasoline prices have dipped below $5.00 to $4.94 while diesel fuel, the lifeline of the shipping industry, rose slightly to $5.80. I guess the folks shipping food and other goods don’t get a holiday.
Note that the implied Fed target rate has fallen a bit as the probability of a recession increases.
And why are banks stashing so much money at The Fed in the form of reverse repos? Fear of recession, perhaps?
The Biden Administration is settling all kinds of records, and none are good.
Despite what Biden and his muppets say, there is a good chance that the US will slip into recession over the next 24 months. And with that, we are seeing a slight drop in US mortgage rates.
Inflation is surging, and The Fed seems intent on “inflation fighting” but may have to pause that fight the impending recession. This is called a “U-turn” although Powell didn’t mention that is his testimony yesterday.
Although mortgage rates have been rising quite fast, The Fed’s balance sheet is only being reduced quite slowly, leading to a continuation of the hot, hot, hot housing market.
But the expectation of Fed rate hikes is causing mortgage rates to soar and borrowers are trying to get buy housing before The Fed chokes off rates.
Mortgage applications increased 4.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending June 17, 2022.
The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 8 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 6 percent compared with the previous week and was 10 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
The Refinance Index decreased 3 percent from the previous week and was 77 percent lower than the same week one year ago.
How crazy was The Federal Reserve’s overreaction to the government shutdowns surrounding the Covid epidemic? While most analysts talk about California, I am going to discuss … Cleveland Ohio as an example of how The Fed can destroy markets.
The Case-Shiller home price index for Cleveland rose 31.5% since January 2020 just before The Fed unleashed its massive monetary stimulus on an unsuspecting city.
But as The Fed starts to tighten monetary policy after Yellen’s too loose for too long policies followed by Powell, foreclosure rates are soaring in Cleveland. In fact, according to Attom Data, 5 of the top 10 zip codes with the worst foreclosure rates in May 2022 were in Cleveland.
Of course, Cleveland is much like much of the rust belt (except Columbus Ohio). The rust belt is losing population along with heavy tax states like New York and Illinois. Destination states? Texas, Florida, the Carolinas and Tennessee.
Then at the national level, Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow real-time tracker fell to 0% growth.
US Treasury Secretary and former Federal Reserve Chain, Janet Yellen, admitted on ABC’s This Week that US inflation is “unacceptably high”and prices are likely to stick with consumers through 2022, and that the US economy is likely to slow down.
“We’ve had high inflation so far this year, and that locks in higher inflation for the rest of the year,” she said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“I expect the economy to slow,” she said, adding: “But I don’t think a recession at all inevitable.”
US inflation accelerated to 8.6% in May, a fresh 40-year high that signals price pressures are becoming entrenched in the economy. Those figures dashed any hope that inflation was starting to ebb, prompting the Federal Reserve to unleash its biggest interest-rate increase since 1994.
Hey, I thought strangling the US mortgage market and housing markets was supposed to cool the inflation rate, Janet.
On the good news/bad news front, cryptocurrency Bitcoin fell to $17,600 earlier today before rebounding to above $20,000 as the expectation of further Fed rate increases diminished (Yellen admitted the economy is slowing).
Yellen ignored rising mortgage rates which is putting a chokehold on the US housing market.
Hey Janet! So you are admitting that Biden’s energy policies AND massive Congressional spending bills ARE helping to drive prices through the roof and that Fed rate increases won’t tame the savage inflation beast?
Even since the housing bubble burst and ensuing financial crisis on 2007-2008, The Federal Reserve under Ben “The Savior!” Bernanke, Janet Yellen and Jerome Powell let their zero/low interest rate policies be too low for too long that anyone with common sense knew would lead to serious problems when The Fed was forced (this time by inflation) to end the massive OVER monetary stimulus. We are now living through The Great Reset of the US economy.
Since Biden was sworn-in as President (or El Presidente) in January 2021, 30-year mortgage rates are up 108% to 6%, regular gasoline prices are up 108% to $5 a gallon nationally. Inflation is up to 8.6% YoY.
Bernanke, Yellen and Powell did not follow any rule per se, just a “seat of the pants” panic button approach. Using the Mankiw specification of the Taylor Rule model, the Fed Funds target rate should be 13.25% based on CORE PCE. Notice starting in 2014, The TR suggested target rate started to be higher than the actual Fed target rate. And since the Covid monetary blast of 2020, the gap between the Taylor Rule and Fed target rate (red area) has grown to near the highest level in history. Even now Mohamed A. El-Erian, Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, is starting to admit that The Fed’s ZIRP policies are beginning to hurt.
But if we use total inflation rather than core inflation, the measure that picks up the actual pain that Americans are feeling from rising gasoline prices and mortgage rate, we get a Fed Target rate of 22.10%. Since The Fed’s current target rate is only 1.75%, The Fed has “Room To Move.”
And in a painful. bad way.
Bernanke, Yellen and Powell must think that The Taylor Rule is the New Jersey ham pork roll.
As The Federal Reserve tightens the monetary noose (Fed Chair Powell said Fed ‘acutely focused’ on returning inflation to 2%), the US economy is slowing. In fact, May’s Industrial Production report is half of what was expected. Industrial production declined to 0.20% MoM versus the expected 0.4%. At the same time, capacity utilization rose slightly to 79%., but still below expectations.
Mortgage rates are rising rapidly, but the growth has cooled slightly as the economy cools.
Bitcoin is getting demolished by The Fed’s reaction to inflation.
And “It’s Not Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” Since the Philadelphia Fed’s Business General Conditions has dropped into negative territory with, among other things, The Fed’s monetary tightening. And they’ve only just begun (no Carpenters’ songs!).