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.
With an impending railroad strike that can torpedo the US economy (but if that is possible, why is the Biden Clan vacationing in Nantucket for Thanksgiving weekend when Joe should be talking with railroads and the unions to not let this happen?), let’s see what interest rates are telling us.
First, the US Treasury 10Y-2Y yield curve continues to descrend into the abyss (now at -80 basis points).
Second, the latest Fed Dot Plot (from September, new one will be issued during December) show that The Fed thinks that their target rate, while rising in 2023, will likely start falling again in 2024.
Third, since it is Thanksgiving Day, US bond markets are closed. But in Europe, the 10-year sovereign yields are falling, a sign that the ECB is reversing course by increasing monetary stimulus and/or a European are slow down.
Fourth, US mortgage rates have cooled since peaking (locally) at 7.35% on November 3, 2022 and now sit at 6.81%, a decline of 54 basis points. A clear sign of cooling.
Fifth, how about Fed Funds Futures data? It is pointing to a peak Fed Funds Target rate of 4.593% at the June FOMC meeting. Then a decline in rates to 2.301% by January 2024.
Now, go and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family (up 20% since last year), courtesy of Jerome Powell, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
During the Covid crisis of 2020 (red box). consumer credit declined and households were saving. But following the end of US Covid economic shutdowns, we saw inflation soaring to 40-year highs as Biden declared war on fossil fuels and a Pelsoi-led Congress went on an epic spending spree. But with soaring inflation, came a decline in personal savings and soaring consumer credit outstanding in an attempt to cope with Bidenflation.
Meanwhile, in the crypto universe, CNBC’s Jim Cramer and ARK’s Cathie Wood are going big for cryptos. With Wood buying Bitcoin and Cramer touting Coinbase.
But at least Litecoin and the others are up today. Likely because Cramer and Wood are touting cryptos with “buy the dip!” strategy.
And on the Sam Bankman-Fried fiasco front, I am watching the deflection of wrongdoing from SBF to his girlfriend and now the co-CEO of Alameda Research, Sam Trabucco.
Bloomberg: He has a degree from MIT and cut his teeth as a trader at Susquehanna International Group. Yet the former co-head of Alameda Research made it clear that poker and black-jack tables were where he honed the gambler’s instincts he applied to cryptocurrency trading.
“I may or may not be banned from 3 casinos for this,” Sam Trabucco once tweeted about counting cards at black jack tables.
The Biden Administration is setting all sorts of records. One is the worst inflation rate in 40 years. Another is highest gasoline prices in history (until the latest global slowdown). The list goes on, but here is another one: the US Treasury 10Y-2Y yield curve is now at -72.5 basis points, the more inverted curve since 1981.
This is the US Treasury version of 50 Shades Of Grey.
As I mentioned on Varney and Company on Fox Business, housing is going to suffer when The Fed starts to tighten their monetary policy. And here we are, folks!
US existing home sales fell a staggering -28.43% YoY in October as M2 Money growth grinds to almost a halt.
October’s existing home sales YoY of -28.43% is the WORST since The Great Recession and collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The median price of existing home sales slowed to 6.6% YoY. Inventory of EHS remains below pre-Covid levels.
Unrelated to housing, Prince Imhotep (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari) said Friday that the whole idea of cryptocurrency is “nonsense” after the implosion of FTX revealed the industry’s shortcomings.
“This isn’t case of 1 fraudulent company in a serious industry,” Kashkari said on Twitter, commenting on an article about how investors fell for FTX. “Entire notion of crypto is nonsense. Not useful 4 payments. No inflation hedge. No scarcity. No taxing authority. Just a tool of speculation & greater fools.”
Or it could be that investors don’t trust The Fed or Federal government to act in their best interest.
Here is a crypto investor (in red fez) being lectured by Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari.
The cryptocurrency market is getting hammered thanks mostly to two things: 1) Sam Bankman-Fried’s horrid failure with FTX (fraud, Enron, front-running, stupid investors, Democrat-Ukraine connection) and 2) Fed tightening to combat high inflation.
Bitcoin, the Mac Daddy of cryptos, is down another 2% today.
The rest of the story.
The NEW face of the US Federal government and why they will sweep the Bankman-Fried fiasco under the rug, just like Hunter Biden’s laptop fiasco.
Today, the PPI Final Demand YoY index printed for October was it was still agonizingly high at 8% YoY (The Fed likes to see 2% for inflation).
True, PPI Final Demand YoY is down from its recent peak of 11.7% YoY in March. But notice that M2 Money YoY (liquidity) has collapsed following the Covid surge (green line).
Then I have this update on Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX and Alameda Research notoriety.
As Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire imploded last week, costing him effectively all of his $15.6 billion fortune, other digital-asset billionaires sought to make clear that their steep losses in 2022 wouldn’t be similarly fatal.
Cameron Winklevoss, 41, who along with his twin brother Tyler founded cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, posted an 11-part series of tweets emphasizing that Gemini “has no exposure to FTT tokens or Alameda and no material exposure to FTX,” referring to Bankman-Fried’s trading house and crypto exchange.
And despite Spam Bankman-Fried’s disaster for his investors like Tom Brady, Steph Curry and the Democrat party, the crytpo market has done some recovery with most cryptos this morning.
The evidence from the last thirty years is clear. Keynesian policies leave a massive trail of debt, weaker growth and falling real wages. Furthermore, once we look at each so-called stimulus plan, reality shows that the so-called multiplier effect of government spending is virtually inexistent and has long-term negative implications for the health of the economy. Stimulus plans have bloated government size, which in turn requires more dollars from the real economy to finance its activity.
As Daniel J. Mitchell points out, there is evidence of a displacement cost, as rising government spending displaces private-sector activity and means higher taxes or rising inflation in the future, or both. Higher government spending simply cannot be financed with much larger economic growth because the nature of current spending is precisely to deliver no real economic return. Government is not investing; it is financing mandatory spending with resources of the productive sector. Every dollar that the government spends means one less dollar in the productive sector of the economy and creates a negative multiplier cost.
When society decides to use a certain part of the resources generated by the productive sector for non-economic return activities, be it social spending or mitigation of threats, it can only do it by understanding how much of the productive capacity of the economy is able to sustain a larger cost. When costs are not considered as a burden, but considered as entitlements that can only grow, the productive capacity is not strengthened, but weakened.
The main problem of the past decades, but particularly since 2008, is that government spending and monetary policy have become solutions of first resort to any slump in economic activity, even if that decline was created by government decisions, such as shutting down the economy due to a health crisis. Furthermore, government spending increases and loose monetary policy continued even in growth periods. This, in turn, creates an unsustainable public deficit that needs to be monetized or refinanced. Both mean a larger harm for the productive sector as the debt increase leads to higher taxes for everyone but also a soaring cost of living coming from the destruction of purchasing power of the currency.
Government spending does not boost private sector activity, even less so when the entire budget is spent on non-investment outlays. It is even worse when citizens believe that infrastructure or real economic return investments should be conducted with taxpayers’ money. If an investment is productive and economically viable there is no need to involve the government. At best, the government should only participate as a co-investor, as the example of technology and defence shows, but never as a resource allocator for a simple reason. Public intervention is always aimed at perpetuating the existing inefficiencies and maximizing the budget. Efficient resource allocation cannot come from entities that have a core interest in expanding the budget and always perceive any inefficiency or poor result as the consequence of not having spent enough.
Yes, US public debt has exploded, particularly since the 2008 financial crisis and then again the Covid outbreak of 2020.
And inflation is near a 40-year high.
Then we have 19 consecutive months of negative wage growth in the US.
Biden is apparently doubling down on “Green Schemes” now that the US House of Lords (aka, Senate) remain under Keynesian control (aka, Democrat). So watch for inflation to start increasing again.
Major cryptocurrencies erased losses and turned higher after Binance Holdings Ltd.’s Chief Executive Officer Changpeng Zhao said the world’s largest digital-asset exchange plans to set up an industry recovery fund.
Zhao said Monday the goal was to “reduce further cascading negative effects” of the bankruptcy of rival exchange FTX, adding the fund will assist otherwise strong projects that are facing a liquidity squeeze.
So, cryptos are up today with Cronos up 24% overnight. Of course, Cronos is trading near zero, so any upturns in price register as large turns.
But across the board, cryptos are up. Of course, if Zhao changes his mind, look out.
I am waiting for the list of pension funds that invested in Sam Bankman-Fried’s schemes.
Let’s see if Alameda Research’s CEO Caroline Ellison faces any wrath from the DOJ or SEC. I doubt it.