German inflation hit another post-World-War-II record high, piling pressure on The ECB’s need to exit from crisis-era stimulus after numbers from Spain also printed hotter than expected.
Driven by soaring energy and food costs, this morning’s data showed consumer prices in Europe’s largest economy surged 8.7% YoY – far hotter than the +8.1% expected (the highest since the start of the monthly statistics in 1963).
And top of that, the German 10-year Bund rate rose +9.4 BPS this morning, although Finland, Hungary and Slovakia all rose above +10 BPS.
While US markets are closed today in honor of Memorial Day, the US Treasury curve (10Y-2Y) has stabilized at 25.8 basis points after the initial shock of The Fed finally raising rates for the first time under Biden.
Then there is this headline: Biden to Meet Powell to Discuss Economy Amid Inflation Pain. So much for Fed independence. I wonder if Powell will say “Joe, have you ever considered canceling your executive orders on oil and natural gas exploration?”
The University of Michigan Consumer Survey showed a decline in May to 58.4 (100 is baseline). Soaring inflation is a likely culprit.
But the truly horrible survey result is the UMich Buying Conditions for Houses, plunging to 45. The reason? Crazy, expensive house prices courtesy of The Federal Reserve and rising mortgages (also, courtesy of The Federal Reserve).
The buying conditions for houses is now the lowest in the history of the University of Michigan consumer survey. In fact, consumer sentiment for housing is far lower than during the awful housing bubble burst of 2008 and the subsequent financial crisis.
And the US economic surprise index has turned negative.
Here is Fed Chair Jerome Powell wielding his monetary bat called “Lucille.”
Here’s some simple Medusa math for you: negative growth + payroll gains = negative productivity. Negative productivity + high labor costs = very high unit labor costs. That’s not a pretty picture for the economy or for companies, and the Q1 figures were even worse than expected — productivity fell by 7.5%, pushing unit labor costs up by 11.6%. Nasty.
In fact, labor productivity fell to the lowest level since 1947 and President Harry Truman.
Of course, Biden’s green energy policies have led to crushing inflation.
So, after Fed Chair Powell (aka, Jay The Revelator) said yesterday that “No Signs US Economy ‘Vulnerable’ To Recession”, we saw the S&P 500 index dive 1.5% and the 10-year Treasury yield break through the 3% barrier.
Biden’s policies are a Medusa-touch on the economy.
As The Federal Reserve seems hellbent on raising interest rates to fight the rapid increases caused by Biden’s follicies, we see the S&P 500 index taking a hit in 2022, but NAREIT’s all equity index as well.
An example of how a REIT can be impacted by The Fed is the Industrial REIT index that tanked with Amazon’s declining earnings prospects.
While industrial REITs is a broad category, Amazon’s crashing EPS has certainly shocked the market.
Retail REITs? How about Simon Properties? Simon Properties, a large mall REIT, go “Fauci’d” as the Covid economic shutdown really caused pain for shopping malls. Simon’s occupancy rate has increased as the economy opens back up (we hope).
Meanwhile, Simon Properties equity has declined along with the S&P 500 index as The Fed raises rates. In other words, both the S&P 500 and shopping mall REITs are getting “Fauci’d” by The Fed. Or Powell’d.
Let’s look at average hourly earnings. Thanks to “progressive” energy policies from Biden, REAL average hourly earnings growth has crashed and burned.
But here is the chart that the Biden Administration touts showing average hourly earnings growth at 5.6% YoY (although I doubt if Jen Psaki would leave out the massive distortion caused by The Federal Reserve’s “Let’s go crazy!” monetary policy.
Another Medusa Touch moment is the reverse repo market. When I wrote about reverse repos before, several people wrote me saying “You don’t understand. This is a temporary problem and will vanish shortly.” However, The Fed’s reverse repo facility has now climbed to an all-time high.
Then we have the disruptive effects of The Federal Reserve deciding for us that mortgage rates are too low and should be higher.
Now look at lithium prices, a key element for electric car batteries. Making the switch from Internal combustion engines to electric motors far more costly.
The list goes on and on.
Suffice it to say, everything the Biden Administration touches turns to stone.
But I wager that the Biden Administration wishes that Hunter Biden’s laptop would turn to stone.
Only an elitist DC bureaucrat like Joe Biden would laugh at inflation that is ruining the lives of millions of Americans.
Heartaches in heartaches. US GDP growth for Q2 has stumbled to 0.446% as The Fed is launching quantitative tightening (QT) to fight the inflation that they caused in the first place.
According to the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow real-time GDP tracker, US GDP growth has stumbled to a meager 0.446%. Despite the massive stimulus from The Federal Reserve and Washington DC’s massive fiscal stimulus.