Fear The Talking Fed! US Industrial Production/Capacity Utilization Rise In The Face Of Inflation (M2 Velocity Near All-time Low As M2 Money YoY Still Sizzling At 9.85% YoY)

Most of us are painfully aware of rising food prices, particularly with the US fighting a proxy war with Russia. Wheat prices have doubled under Biden and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But inflation is everywhere. Rising home prices, rising gasoline and diesel prices, etc. When Jeep can see a Wagoneer for $100,000+, you know we have inflation.

The surprise this morning was retail sales, up 0.9% MoM (though still less than expected), despite rising prices. Odd since REAL wage growth is negative.

But the other bit of good news this AM is that US industrial production rose +1.1% MoM in April. And US Capacity Utilization is rising dangerously towards 80%, it is at 79% in April.

You will notice that Fed monetary tightening occurs when capacity utilization hits 80%, indicating an overheated (or OVERSTIMULATED) economy. Yes, we still have The Fed Funds Target Rate (Upper Bound) at only 1% and The Fed Balance Sheet still near $9 trillion. So, Fed stimulypto is still in play.

Meanwhile, M2 Money Velocity is near its historic low and M2 Money YoY is still sizzling at 9.85% YoY.

Wheat prices have doubled under Biden, and you can see how wheat futures soared when Russia invaded Ukraine.

So, despite The Fed’s intent to tighten, The Federal Reserve and Fed government are still overstimulating the economy. But what happens when the stimulus is gone?

Fear the Talking Fed!

Inflation Inferno! Bidenflation Still Soaring, But Metals Dive -15% Since May 4th (Food UP 61.5% Under Biden, Gasoline UP 86%, Diesel UP 111%, Rents UP 16%)

Americans are suffering under Joe Biden. Call it Inflation Inferno!

Foodstuff are up 61.5% under Biden’s Reign of Error. Gasoline prices are up 85.8%, diesel prices are up 111%. Yet the government inflation index (aka, CPI) is up only 8.3% in April.

But while energy and food prices are soaring, the CRB Spot Metals Index has plummeted -15% since May 4 as Covid is ravaging the Chinese economy. Recession alter anyone?

And then we have soaring home prices and rents. But notice that Zillow’s Rent index is slowing down as mortgage rates soar.

We have a stalling Chinese market, down 28% since October. Is Biden President of China??

On the currency front, the Russian Ruble is soaring relative to the US Dollar while the Chinese Renminbi, the Japanese Yen and the Euro (or in this case, the Gyro) are sinking like a rock.

If I compare the Russian Ruble and Ukrainian Hryvnia, you can see Ukraine is losing the currency war with Russia.

Inflation Inferno thanks to Biden’s misguided energy executive orders and cancellation of Alaskan and Gulf of Mexico drilling leases.

Biden’s economic mismanagement team: American Gothics Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Fed Chair Jay Powell.

Good News! Flexible Price Inflation Cools To … 20%, Export Prices Cool To 18% YoY As Jerome “Slowhand” Powell Reappointed As Fed Chairman (Taylor Rule Suggests Fed Rate Of 13.89%)

The US Senate yesterday confirmed the reappointment of Jerome “Slowhand” Powell as Federal Reserve Chairman.

The good news? Atlanta Fed’s Flexible CPI YoY cooled to 20% in April. The bad news? Flexible prices are still growing at 20% while wages are growing at 5.5% YoY.

On the export front, export prices are cooling and were at 18% YoY in April, down slightly from March. Import prices cooled to 12% YoY as The Federal Reserve has slowed asset purchases.

I would have preferred President Biden appoint a serious Federal Reserve Chairman liked Stanford University’s John Taylor (of Taylor Rule fame). In his honor, here is the Mankin version of the Taylor Rule which calls for a Fed Funds Target Rate of 13.89% while the current Fed Funds Target Rate under Powell and the Gang is … 1%.

Call it the Powell Boogie. At a very slow speed.

Powell is indeed “Slowhand.”

Clubbed By The Fed? REITs, Like The S&P 500 Index, Are Getting Clubbed By The Fed’s Rate Hike Expectations

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.

Clubbed by The Fed.

PPI Final Demand Prices Highest In History As 2Y Treasury Yield Declines, Mortgage Rates Steady At 5.14% (All Roads Lead To … Joe And Jay)

Harry Truman once uttered the phrase “The buck stops here.” Joe Biden’s catchphrase should be “It’s Russia’s fault!”

Well, all roads led to Joe and Jay. Here is a chart of Producer Price Index (Final Goods) prices YoY, now the highest in history. At least, gasoline prices are declining to $4.083 (they were $2.40 when Biden was installed as President). But inflation is out of control and the 30-year mortgage rate is now 5.14% (mortgage rates were 2.82% in February 2021 just after Biden took control).

Just in case you wonder why I follow Fed Funds Futures data so closely.

Equity markets are up strongly today as markets sense a weakening in resolve by The Federal Reserve (number of expected rate hikes dropped at 10AM EST).

It appears that we have a “Powell in the headlights” problem.

Number 9! Fed Now Expected To Raise Target Rate 9 Times Over Coming Year As Mortgage Rates Rise To 4.54%

Number 9.

According to Fed Funds Futures data, The Federal Reserve is now forecasting 9 rate increases over the next year.

Fed Funds Futures are pointing to 8.924 rate hikes by the Fed FOMC meeting on February 1, 2023.

The US Treasury 10Y-2Y curve flattened by 5.5 bps today with the entire curve downshifting.

The Federal Reserve reminds me of The Office episode “Malone’s Cones.” They can’t really explain why they kept rates so low for so long (policy error) and seem to risk collapsing the market with rapid rate hikes without much sensible explanation.

Surprise! US Existing Home Sales RISE 6.7% In January As Inventory Available Shrinks To Lowest Level Since 1981 (Panic Over Fed Rate Increases??)

Surprise! US existing home sales in January rose to 6.50 million units SAAR versus the expected 6.10 million units. That is a 6.7% increase over December.

The disturbing news is the continued lack of available inventory that peaked in Q4 2007 and has continued its decline to today … the lowest level of available inventory since 1981. Despite the Fed’s massive stimulus that they allegedly will take away. Median price of existing home sales rose to 15.4% YoY. Making homes affordable should NOT be a slogan for The Federal Reserve, the Biden Administration or Congress.

The massive Federal stimulypto (fiscal and monetary) has helped push existing home sales to 6.50 million units SAAR in January. What will happen after The Fed withdraws it stimulus??

What is surprising is that with declining REAL wage growth, we saw a surge in home buying in January.

Remain calm, all is well!

Where’s The Beef? Challenger Job Cuts At -76%, Initial Jobless Claims Drop To 236K

Between the Biden Administration, Anthony Fauci and the media constantly screaming about the devastating effects of Omicron, I would have expected massive job cuts and a large spike in jobless claims. But alas, the numbers and charts tell a different story.

Today, we saw that the Challenger job cuts for January fell further to 76%. Initial jobless claims fell to 236k. And The Federal Reserve is still hyper-stimulating the economy.

After listening to Biden spokesperson Jen Psaki preparing us for an end-of-times job report, I was expecting today’s news dump to be terrible. But alas, it just looks like another day in Stimulyoptoville.

Hey Jen, where’s the beef? Now that I think of it, Jen Psaki looks like Wendy from the burger franchise. Except that the burger Wendy doesn’t terrify people.

UMich Housing Sentiment “Rises” To 83 As Inflation Hurting Retail Sales (Industrial Production Declines -0.3%)

That Bidenflation is really hurting Americans.

Start with the UMich Buying Conditions for Houses. It “rose” to 83. Unfortunately, 100 is the baseline and any number below 100 is bad. The reason? The massive increase in US home prices since 2020.

But retail sales are hurting thanks to higher prices. Retail sales less food services and auto are DOWN 3.1% MoM.

Meanwhile, US industrial production fell to -0.3%.

Securitization Frenzy! Wall Street Repackaging Of Loans, Franchise Agreements, Royalties Surging As Alarm Sounds For Commercial Retail

Alarm!

I remember the surge in securitization of loans, receivables, etc during the housing bubble of the mid-to-late 2000s. Today seems like 2007 all over again.

(Bloomberg) — Bankers are repackaging everything from fast food franchises to fitness-center fees into bonds at the fastest clip since the global financial crisis as investors chase yield and inflation protection.

This year’s sales of U.S. asset-backed securities have already surpassed $300 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg — and more is expected by year-end. Post-crisis issuance records have also been set in private-label commercial mortgage bonds and collateralized loan obligations, which are also seen accelerating.

“Solar, consumer loans, container lease and whole business transactions to some degree all offer attractive yields and spreads,” said Dave Goodson, head of securitized credit at Voya Investment Management. “These so-called esoteric sectors remain well supported with plenty of money to invest.” 

On Monday, Self Esteem Brands, a franchiser of businesses including its flagship gyms Anytime Fitness, priced a $505 million ABS that was backed by franchise agreements, royalties and fees. In whole business securitizations like these, companies mortgage virtually all their assets.

Last month, fried chicken restaurant chain Church’s Chicken sold a $250 million securitization backed by franchise and royalty collateral. Golden Pear Funding recently securitized litigation fees related to financial settlements on everything from personal injury cases to wrongful convictions. And Oasis Financial priced a similar deal linked to payments on medical liens.

Then we have this headline that will send chills through the CMBS market for retail space, particularly at a time when commercial real estate (particularly RETAIL) are trying to recover from COVID lockdowns and the growth of online shopping.

“Retailers Sound Alarm on Organized Theft as States Warn of Rise”

Retailers say shoplifting is getting more brazen in the U.S.: A California Nordstrom store was recently hit by a flash mob of more than 80 people who made off with designer goods, while more than a dozen people pilfered from a Louis Vuitton location in a suburb of Chicago. 

On Tuesday, the impact of shoplifting reached Wall Street, with Best Buy Co. shares plunging after the electronics retailer said widespread theft contributed to a decrease in one gauge of profitability. Last month, Walgreens said it would close five San Francisco stores after theft rates there spiked.

Seemingly, no one learns from history. Or as the zen master Yogi Berra once said “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Or “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”