Trouble In Potomac City! US Treasury 10Y-2Y Yield Curve Now Inverted For 135 Straight Days, Real Wage Growth Now Negative For 21 Straight Months

We got trouble in Potomac City! No, I’m not talking about the numerous Top Secret documents that Biden carelessly left in his garage in Delaware and the UPenn Biden Center. And they found more over the weekend. I’m talking about the US Treasury 10Y-2Y yield curve being inverted for 135 straight days. And thanks to inflation, REAL wage growth has been negative for 21 straight months.

All this is happening while M2 Money growth (green line) stalls to 0% YoY.

Swaps 5Y are rising as The Fed withdraws monetary stimulus.

US Default? Since 2008, Net Interest Costs UP 192%, Social Security And Health Entitlements UP 140%, Nondefense Discretionary Spending UP 76% Based On 2032 Federal Budget

Newly-minted US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy faces a daunting task: trying to avoid a US debt default. As I have discussed many times before, nothing has been the same since the US housing bubble and near-collapse of the banking system that produced an expensive bailout of seemingly all financial institutions. After 2008, Federal spending has gone out of control. The budgetary hawks (or pigeons) in the US House of Representatives (with Pelosi, Boehner, Ryan then Pelosi again) went on Federal spending sprees of epic proportions.

The Manhattan Institute has a nice chart showing the explosion in the Federal budget since 2008. Of particular note, interest payments on the Federal debt has increased by a staggering 192%. On the non-interest spending front, Social Security and Health Entitlements have increased by 140% while Nondefense Discretionary Spending has increased 76%.

The massive increase in Federal debt interest is due to both increased Federal spending and rising interest rates thanks to The Federal Reserve raising rates to fight inflation.

But what will McCarthy and House Republicans recommend cuts in? Tighter restrictions on who qualifies for Social Security and particularly Social Security Disability payments?

The odd factoid is that Defense and Wars budget is up less than 1% from 2008 to 2032. So, Ukraine military aid is coming from somewhere, but not from the Defense budget. Is Ukraine another entitlement program?

Rest assured that after debate, the House will pass a budget and, provided that virtually nothing was cut, the Senate will gleefully agree to more spending and “Top Secret Documents” Biden will sign it.

After he parks his gorgeous Corvette Sting Ray, that is.

The Great Dislocation! M2 Money Growth Crashes To 0% As M2 Velocity Near Lowest In History (21 Straight Months Of Negative Weekly Earnings Growth)

The 2020 Covid outbreak and the resulting government shutdowns and school closures begat a Washington DC spending spree and Federal Reserve monetary stimulus barrage unlike anything other time in history. Congress and Administrations love to spend other people’s money, but as Rahm Emanuel once said “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before” And wow, did they ever binge spend and expand the M2 Money supply. I call it “The Great Dislocation” of the economy and we never recovered from it.

Or as Ray Wylie Hubbard sang, “Drinking with my low life companions, dancin’ with a woman who is not my wife.” This should be the theme song for Washington DC and their manic spending.

But after the massive spending splurges and Fed monetary stimultypto, The Fed finally started withdrawing “the punch bowl” to combat inflation. M2 Money growth year-over-year (YoY) is now 0%. And with inflation, US average weekly earnings growth YoY turned negativc and has been negative for 21 straight months.

After the spending explosion under Pelosi/Schumer and Powell’s monetary, M2 Money velocity (GDP/M2 Money) crashed to it lowest level in history. So now we have depressed money velocity and no M2 money growth. And the US still has 21 straight months of negative weekly earnings growth.

But former Fed Chair and current Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen is pleased that inflation is FINALLY slowing which Yellen attributes to relaxing supply chains. Or is it declining M2 Money growth, Janet?

Now that the Federal government’s spending spree and The Fed’s monetary stimulypto dislocated the US economy, we are headed for a recession with no ammunition left in The Fed’s arsenal.

After all. The Federal Reserve has been destroying consumer purchasing power since 1913. And we may be at the end of The Fed’s monetary rope.

Even worse, we have Joe Biden as President, who curiously has been found to have classified documents in his possession from when he was Vice President, at least, at two locations (his Wilmington DL home that his son Hunter had access to and the now infamous Penn Biden Center in Washington DC). Even worse, Biden seems to be talking to dead world leaders like Germany’s Schmidt and France’s Mitterand.

Knowing Biden’s penchant for blatant lying and carelessness, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a stack of classified documents on the table during his meeting with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Let’s hope Biden isn’t saying that he is talking to late Robert Kennedy, the former US Attorney General.

‘Doomsday Clocks’ Likely Needed Before Congress Hikes Debt Limit (Difficult Questions With $31.5 TRILLION in Federal Debt And A Staggering $173.6 TRILLION in UNFUNDED LIABILITIES (Social Security, Medicare, Etc.))

Its that time again when Congress does its Kabuki Theater drama about raising the US debt limit. Of course, everyone in Congress and the Biden Administration want to spend trillions of dollars so they will hike the debt limit.

With the US government facing the danger of a payments default later this year, Congress has a variety of paths to avert economic disaster and boost the debt ceiling.

All of them would likely involve going right up to the market-rattling brink, according to current and former lawmakers and aides.

The timeline kicks off within weeks, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is expected to advise that the government will deploy extraordinary accounting measures to avoid running out of cash. Those steps are forecast to be exhausted after July.

Republicans now in control of the House are demanding deep spending cuts as the price for an increase in the ceiling, while President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats reject such an outcome. 

Nothing has been the same since the financial crisis of 2008 and the ascension of all-time big spender Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker. Budget deficits have never been the same. The last budget surplus was under House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But since the financial crisis of 2008, Federal spending seems to have increased its trajectory.

Note that mandatory spending (Medicare, Social Security, etc) is growing like a wild fire while discretionary spending is seemingly flat. So, it mandatory spending that Congress will pretend to cut.

Yes, it is Medicare for our aging population that has blown out of control.

Then we have defense spending. The Ukraine spending should come from this pot, but forces decisions to make between Ukraine and taking care of our Navy (to compete with the growing Chinese navy).

Of course, as The Fed fights inflation, we are seeing the COST of Federal debt soaring since Covid.

And the US is facing, in addition to $31.5 TRILLION in debt, a whopping $173.6 TRILLION in UNFUNDED LIABILITIES (Social Security, Medicare, etc).

Yes, Congress NEEDS to cut back the spending, particularly on Social Security and Medicare (not to mention Ukraine spending), but it is all Kabuki theater. Queue the screams of “Republicans will take away …”.

I wish everyone in Congress were like Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul, not the other spendaholic Kentucky Senator.

Fed Fireball! Newly Listed Homes Decline -21% YoY In December (Worst Decline In 6 Years) As Fed Tightens Monetary Noose

As The Federal Reserves attempts to combat inflation, the withdrawal of monetary stimulus is creating problems in the housing market. For one, as mortgage rates have risen, newly listed homes declined -21% YoY in December.

And yes, the 2022 vintage is the worst in 6 years as The Fed counterattacks inflation. And mortgage rates rose to over 7% before calming down to around 6.50%.

Magic? US Inflation Cools To -0.1% In December, 6.5% Year-over-Year YoY (REAL Weekly Earnings NEGATIVE For The 21st Straight Month At -3.1% YoY)

I don’t think this is a record that Biden can run on for re-election: 21 straight months of NEGATIVE REAL WAGE GRWOTH. Fortunately for Fed Chair Jay Powell, he is not an elected official.

The December inflation report still shows elevated inflation in the US, but only -0.1% since November (MoM), but still high compared to last year (6.5% YoY). That is still over 3x The Fed’s target inflation rate of 2%.

While headline inflation fell to 0.1% MoM, CORE inflation (removing food and energy) rose again 0.3% MoM and 5.7% YoY.

What exactly went up in price in December? Food and energy were all over 10% YoY growth.

At 6.50% YoY headline inflation, the Taylor Rule suggests a Fed Funds Target rate of … 13.13%. Well, I guess that Powell will say there is more rate hikes to be done.

As if The Fed follows any sensible rule. Instead, The Fed relies on magic tricks.

Born Under A Bad Sign? US Residential Purchase Mortgage Demand Falls 44% YoY As Fed Tightens (Refi Apps Fall 86% YoY), But Apps UP In First Week Of 2023

The US residential mortgage market seems to be born under a bad sign … and if it wasn’t for The Federal Reserve, it would have no luck at all.

It is the start of a new year and, like clockwork, residential mortgage applications are rising (at least until May). But it is important to realize that purchase mortgage demand is down 44% from the same week last year (YoY). And refinancing mortgage applications are down 86% YoY.

Mortgage applications increased 1.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending January 6, 2023.

The Refinance Index increased 5 percent from the previous week and was 86 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index increased 47 percent compared with the previous week and was 44 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

You can see the beginning of the new year in pink outline, purchase apps up 47% since the previous week (WoW). But you can see the general decline in both purchases and refinancing applications YoY as M2 Money growth stalls.

Talk about seasonality! If you want to feel optimistic about the mortgage market, just look at the first week of 2023. Declining mortgage rates are helping fuel short-term mortgage demand.

The Ravages Of Inflation: US Consumer Credit UP 7.9% YoY In November While Personal Savings Collapses -64.8% YoY

As we are painfully aware, inflation is still high at 7.1% Year-over-year (YoY). To cope with inflation, consumers have been gutting their savings and increasing their use of credit. In November, consumer credit increased 7.9% YoY while personal savings fell -64.8% YoY.

The good news? Inflation month-over-month is expected to be 0% tomorrow.

So, inflation will be gone in November?

Small Business Optimism Index Plunges Below 90 As Fed Tightens Money With M2 Money Growth YoY Hitting 0% (Baltic Dry Index Continues Downward Descent)

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index is plunging and just fell below 90. The index was above 100 before the Wuhan virus outbreak in 2020, but has only been at 100 or above for only two months under Biden. And the trend is definitely looking bleak as The Federal Reserve fights inflation with M2 Money growth having collapsed to 0% YoY growth.

And the Baltic Dry shipping index is falling with M2 Money growth YoY.

I wonder what Fed Chair Jerome Powell is thinking?

Zoltan! Fed Will Restart QE to Stabilize Treasury Market During Summer 2023, Credit Suisse Group’s Pozsar Says

Zoltan!

The Federal Reserve will be the backstop of the Treasury market this year to alleviate dysfunction resulting from its increasing size and the retreat of regular buyers.  

That’s the view of Credit Suisse Group AG analyst Zoltan Pozsar, who in a note to clients Friday predicted the Fed will restart asset purchases during the summer of 2023. 

In Pozsar’s analysis, relative-value funds won’t buy Treasuries unless they cheapen a lot relative to overnight index swaps, and banks with sagging reserves are more likely to tap the funding markets than to buy Treasuries. FX-hedged buyers have been “priced out,” and geopolitical events have reduced large reserve managers’ appetite for US debt, he said.  

Flagging demand from marginal buyers will depress demand for Treasury auctions, sparking selloffs in equities, credit and emerging markets, according to Pozsar. 

“This is a ‘checkmate-like’ situation,” he wrote. “The Fed won’t be a pivot and the terminal rate may have to go higher still, neither of which augurs well for either risk assets or Treasuries.” 

As The Fed started to raise rates (yellow line) to fight inflation (blue dashed line), the S&P 500 index started to fall. Note that The Fed’s balance sheet (purple line) is mirroring the inflation rate.

Fed Funds Futures point to Zoltan’s reversal in June 2023.

Will The Fed pivot? Zoltan says yes, the talking Fed heads say no.

A rare glimpse into The Fed’s open market committee meeting.

Or more explicitly, “Hail Fed” or “Hail Zorp” (Zero interest rate policies (ZoRP)).