Bitcoin/Ethereum/Dow Slide As Gold Rebounds (Fun Times As $3.3 Trillion Options Expire)

Yes, it is fun times in markets this Friday as $3.3 trillion in options expire.

As of 9:52am EST, we see Bitcoin (white) and Ethereum (blue) falling along with the Dow (pink), while gold (gold) fell then rebounded.

European stock markets are down 2% today.

Global sovereign bond prices are up across the board internationally as yields decline.

Crude oil is down today while natural gas is soaring. In particular, look at UK natural gas prices!

Brrr.

5-Year Treasury Yield Highest Since Fed COVID Intervention As Canada 10Y Rises 18.7 BPS (Gold, Bitcoin, Ethereum Rise)

Treasury yields rose a second day, with five-year rates hitting the highest since before the pandemic took hold in the U.S., amid increasing conviction that the Federal Reserve will raise rates at least three times beginning in May.

The five-year Treasury note’s yield climbed as much as 3.8 basis points to 1.392%, the highest since Feb. 20, 2020, while 30-year yields bumped up toward their 200-day moving average.

Yields across the curve are rising for a second straight day, after Monday’s selloff lifted the 10-year note’s yield by nearly 12 basis points in its worst start to a year since 2009. The two-year yield topped 0.80% for the first time since March 2020.

At the 10-year mark, we see Canada’s sovereign notes rising 18.7 basis points.

Also at the 10 year mark, we see the US 1-year breakeven inflation rate (red line) surging.

The US Treasury actives curve and Dollar Swaps curve remain steeply upward sloping.

And on the crypto and gold front, gold surged this morning after tanking in the evening, while Ethereum (blue) is doing quite well along with Bitcoin.

My favorite non-bond, non-alt investment chart. The S&P 500 index charted against The Fed’s M2 Money Stock.

Following my friend Jesse’s habit of posting great French food dishes, here is one from my favorite Parisian eatery, Le Duc de Richelieu. Mmmmmmm.

RIP, Hap Jacobs.

The Great Distortion! Since COVID And Fed Hysteria, First Gold Then Bitcoin, Then Ethereum Surged While The US Dollar Declined Then Rallied

The global economy has certainly been turned on its head by the COVID outbreak in early 2020. Not so much by the virus itself, but by Central Bank hysteria in terms of rate lowering and balance sheet expansion. Which The Fed has not yet unwound.

Let’s look at what has happened since the mini-recession caused by COVID in early 2020. The shortest recession in US history, a measly 2 months. The Fed expanded its balance sheet from $4.17 million in February 2020 to $8.79 million today. That is, The Fed over doubled the size of their balance sheet in reaction to the shortest recession in US history. Overreaction much?

What has happened since the mini-recession and The Fed’s massive overreaction?

First, gold (gold line) surged then calmed down. Then cryptocurrency Bitcoin (while line) surged, then calmed down, then surged again only to calm down again. Then crypto Ethereum surged, calmed, surged, calmed. Meanwhile the US Dollar Index crashed only to start rising again.

The Fed’s overreaction and failure to withdraw excessive stimulus has led to the rise of alternatives to the deflating dollar due to inflation.

When will The Fed ACTUALLY start removing the overreaction stimulus? Let’s get it started.

Perhaps only April Ludgate can kill The Fed’s overreaction stimulus.

U.S. Inflation-Adjusted Spending Stagnates To 0% Growth As Prices Surge (Core PCE Deflator Rises To 4.7% YoY, Highest Since 1989 Implying A Taylor Rule Rate Of 11.84%)

The core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) deflator numbers for November were released this morning and the print was a whopping 4.7% YoY, the highest rate since 1989.

Meanwhile, U.S. consumer spending, adjusted for inflation (aka, REAL personal spending), stagnated in November as the fastest price gains in nearly four decades eroded purchasing power. Stagnated to 0.

Purchases of goods and services, after adjusting for higher prices, were little changed following a 0.7% gain in October, Commerce Department figures showed Thursday.

And as Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story.

Core PCE growth YoY of 4.68% implies a Fed Funds target rate of 11.84%. Powell and the gang have the target rate at 0.25%. But the Taylor Rule doesn’t take into account the latest FEAR raging in Washington DC … the Omicron variant. Just another excuse for The Fed to do nothing and let asset bubbles blow out of control.

Tiny bubbles? How about HUGE bubbles!

Fed Reverse Repo Usage Rises to Record for Fourth Straight Day As Turkish Lira Volatility Hits All-time High And US Current Account Balances Rise To 2006 Levels

(Bloomberg) — The amount of money that investors are parking at a major central bank facility climbed to yet another all-time high as supply-demand imbalances continue to dog U.S. dollar funding markets. 

Eighty-one participants on Monday placed a total of $1.758 trillion at the Federal Reserve’s overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility, in which counterparties like money-market funds can place cash with the central bank. That surpassed the previous record volume of $1.705 trillion from Dec. 17, New York Fed data show.

Demand for the so-called RRP has climbed further as principal and interest payments from government-sponsored enterprises has entered short-end funding markets. However, that cash is expected to exit the overnight space by the end of the week as the Treasury ramps up its issuance of Treasury bills now that Congress has increased the debt limit. 

Overall volume has been rising this year as a flood of cash continues to overwhelm the U.S. dollar funding markets due to central-bank asset purchases and the drawdown of the Treasury’s cash account, which is pushing reserves into the system. The larger takeup looks set to persist even as the Fed tapers its asset-purchase program — something it began this month — because the supply-demand imbalances in short-end securities are likely to persist.

Then we have the Turkish Lira volatility hitting an all-time high.

And finally we have the US Current Account Balance rising to levels last seen in 2006 just after the peak of the US housing bubble.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Powell Says Foreign Buyers Distorting Yield-Curve Readings (Gold Rises On Powell Head Fake As US Dollar Declines)

Like John Belushi from The Blues Brothers, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is saying that the markets lackluster response in terms of bond yields to his “hawkish” announcement yesterday “isn’t his fault.”

(Bloomberg) Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell appears unperturbed by the fact that longer-term bond yields remain low even as officials lay the ground work for tighter policy and inflation is ticking higher.

While the drop in longer-term rates may be viewed by some as indicative of where so-called terminal rates for U.S. policy might ultimately lie, Powell on Wednesday emphasized the impact of ultra-low yields in places like Japan and Germany in helping to keep them anchored. 

“A lot of things go into the long rates and the place I would start is just look at global sovereign yields around the world,” Powell said at a news conference following the Fed’s final scheduled policy meeting for the year, which saw officials ramp up the pace of stimulus withdrawal and boost predictions for rate hikes in 2022. The Fed Chair noted that rates on Japanese and German government bonds are “so much lower” than those on Treasuries and that with currency hedging taken into account American debt provides investors with a higher yield. “I’m not troubled by where the long bond is,” he said. 

This stands as something of a contrast to the view expressed back in 2005 by one of Powell’s predecessors. Back then, Fed chief Alan Greenspan described a decline in long-term bond yields even in the face of six policy rate increases as a “conundrum.” 

Or it could be that no one REALLY believes that Central Banks will ever cut interest rates, despite surging inflation.

The US Treasury 10-year yield dropped 7 basis points overnight and remains just south of 1.50%. The Eurozone remains below 1% (with Germany at -0.358% and France at -0.009% at the 10-year mark). Japan is at 0.039%. This is what Powell means by low global rates keeping US long-term rates down.

The 10-year Treasury term premium (measured before Powell’s head fake on raising rates) has returned to pre-Biden levels.

Meanwhile, global equities futures are up across the board (well, except for Mexico).

Gold rose on Powell’s “Tomorrow” talk while the US Dollar fell.

The Fed could have raised their target rate if they were REALLY interested in cooling inflation. The Taylor Rule remains at 14.94% while The Fed is stalled at 0.25%. Even if you don’t like the Taylor Rule, it still highlights how ridiculous Fed Stimulypto is.

Well, we do have a government-propelled economic recovery, but at a cost of declining REAL wages thanks to the highest inflation rate in 40 years.

Reverse Repos Parked Overnight At Fed Remain Near $1,418 BILLION As UBS Warns Of Stagflation And 50% Stock Plunge

When something is wrong with the economy.

Banks park funds at The Federal Reserve in an attempt to soothe themselves.

Nothing has been the same since the housing bubble of the 2000s, the resulting banking meltdown and the takeover of the economy by The Federal Reserve.

And since the 2000s housing bubble and financial crisis, The Federal Reserve has taken control of the economy resulting in M2 Money Velocity crashing to historic lows.

UBS ran a simulation that shows stocks could lose up to 50% under rare stagflation scenario.

And The Fed says “Hold on, we’re coming!”

My reaction to Biden’s Build Back Better spending spree and The Fed keeping rates repressed.

US Dollar, Gold, Ethereum SOARING As Fed Loses Control Of Inflation

As inflation seems unstoppable by The Federal Reserve, we are seeing the US Dollar, Gold and Ethereum soaring in price.

Persistent inflation is here to stay.

Yup, The Fed is firing blanks.

JOLT! Job Openings Changed Little (10.4 Million In September) As UMich House Buying Sentiment Declines Even Further (To 62 From 144 Last Year On This Date)

The Federal Reserve continues to JOLT markets with excessive monetary stimulus despite numerous reasons why they should back off.

For example, today’s JOLT report (US job openings) revealed that 10.4 million jobs were open in September. This is the fourth consecutive month of 1 million plus job openings, yet The Fed refuses to raise their target rate.

At the same time, the University of Michigan survey revealed that buying conditions for houses dropped to 66 (baseline of 100). To show how bad this is, buying conditions for houses was at 144 this time last year.

UPDATE: UMich revised their number downward to 62, the lowest since 1981.

In The Fed’s mind, they are still chasing at least 3.5% unemployment, the lowest rate under President Trump prior to COVID. But with perpetual million plus job openings GOING UNFILLED, trying to get to pre-COVID unemployment rate of 3.5% is a fool’s errand.

Of course, with The Fed helping to pump up house prices to largely unaffordable levels, it makes sense that enthusiasm for buying expensive homes has crashed.

Meanwhile, The Fed continues to JOLT the economy with excess stimulus.

Overall inflation fears are leading to lowest consumer confidence since 2011.

PLEASE stop JOLTING US!!

The Shadow Knows! The Xu-Xia Fed Shadow Rate Is -1.7021% (US Effectively Has Negative Interest Rates And Inflation Is Expected To Continue And NOT Be Transitory)

The Shadow Knows!

Wu-Xia employs an approximation that makes a nonlinear term structure model extremely tractable for analysis of an economy operating near the zero lower bound for interest rates. It can be used to summarize the macroeconomic effects of unconventional monetary policy (ZIRP + QE). The Shadow Rate is now -1.7021%.

And you wonder why we have inflation and house prices going into orbit?

With inflation also going into orbit, we see that breakeven 10 year inflation rate rising above the 5Y5Y (nominal forward 5 years minus US inflation-linked bonds forward 5 years). In other words, the US has abnormally high inflation and is expected to grow and NOT be transitory.

The Shadow knows … that the US is hyperstimulated. And inflation isn’t going away anytime soon.