The Covid epidemic was bad enough with the government shutdowns and deaths. But was even worse is that all the Fed monetary stimulus and Federal government stimulus “relief” led to a reversal of fortune. In that, the share of net worth held by the top 1% grew and the gap between the 1% and bottom 50% hit an all-time high.
Now that the 1% have fed at the Federal trough, The Fed is anticipated to raise rates by 100 basis points at the next two meetings.
Remember, REAL average hourly earnings are getting crushed under Biden and his pro-1% policies.
This is a nightmare for the American middle-class and lower-wage households.
Fortunately, I refinanced my home mortgage while Trump was still President. When Biden was installed as President, the 30-year mortgage rate was 2.88% (according to Bankrate). It has now risen to 5.25%.
The Federal Reserve is now expected to raise their target rate as much as 50 basis points at the next meeting on May 4, 2022. This chart shows the anticipated rate hikes coming our way, peaking in summer 2023.
Fed Funds Futures are pricing in a 50 bps rise at the May meeting.
The good news is that the US Treasury actives curve is upward sloping, but is showing fatigue in the forward rates between 7Y and 10Y.
On the hard asset front, precious metals are up over 1% with silver and platinum leading the way.
With 8.5% YoY inflation, REAL average hourly earnings growth fell to -3% YoY.
And with The Fed intent on extinguishing their part of the inflation, Bankrate’s 30Y mortgage rate rose to 5.14%.
Energy is the biggest culprit (fuel oil up 70.1% YoY) thanks to the double whammy of 1) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and 2) Biden’s restrictions on oil and natural gas production. Food at home is up 10% YoY.
Here is a colorful chart of MoM growth in prices.
The Taylor Rule model now says that The Fed Funds Target Rate should be 11.90%. Hence, Fed Stimulypto is still in place with the signal that rates will increase.
How about WTI Crude and Brent Crude soaring over 4% today?
Once again, the Four Horsemen of the Inflation Apocalypse (Biden, Powell, Pelosi, Schumer) overstimulated the economy and financial markets with excessive monetary stimulus (Powell) and excessive Federal spending (Biden, Pelosi, Schumer) where demand soared for products and supply naturally hasn’t caught up.
Stablecoin refers to a new class of cryptocurrencies which offer price stability and/or are backed by reserve asset. In recent times, stablecoins have gained enough traction as they attempt to offer the best of both world’s – the instant processing and security of payments of cryptocurrencies, and the volatility-free stable valuations of fiat currencies.
US Senator Pat Toomey, ranking member of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, announced today legislation to create a responsible regulatory framework for STABLECOINS.
Toomey Announces Legislation to Create Responsible Regulatory Framework for Stablecoins Releases Discussion Draft of the Stablecoin TRUST Act
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today released a discussion draft of legislation establishing a new regulatory framework for payment stablecoins.
“While today stablecoins facilitate trading with cryptocurrencies, tomorrow stablecoins could be widely used in the physical economy. They have the potential, among other things, to speed up payments and automate transactions,” said Ranking Member Toomey. “The proposed regulatory framework I’m releasing today will allow this crypto-innovation to continue flourishing while protecting consumers and minimizing potential risks from stablecoins to the financial system. I look forward to receiving feedback on this legislation from my colleagues and stakeholders as Congress continues its work on stablecoin regulation.”
· Authorizes three different options to issue payment stablecoins:
o Establishes a new federal license designed specifically for stablecoin issuers;
o Preserves the state-registered money transmitter status for most existing stablecoin issuers; and
o Clarifies that insured depository institutions are permitted to issue stablecoins.
· Protects consumers by subjecting all payment stablecoin issuers—regardless of whether they are a state money transmitter or receiving a new federal license—to standardized requirements, including:
o Disclosures regarding the reserve assets backing the stablecoin;
o Clear redemption policies; and
o Subjecting them to routine audits by registered public accounting firms.
· Provides much-needed clarity that, at a minimum, stablecoins that do not offer interest are not securities.
o Provides a clear regulatory framework for payment stablecoins and rejects the Securities and Exchange Commission’s approach of regulating through enforcement actions.
· Applies privacy protections to transactions involving stablecoins and other virtual currencies.
· In August 2021, Ranking Member Toomey announced he was soliciting legislative proposals to ensure federal law supports the development of digital assets and its underlying technologies while protecting investors.
· In December 2021, Ranking Member Toomey released a set of principles to lay the framework for forthcoming stablecoin legislation.
Crytpos in general are having a bad day, with Bitcoin down 4.78% today and Ethereum Classic down 12%.
Toomey’s proposal is a great step forward in the regulation of stablecoin.
Consider what has happened since President Biden was elected. The S&P 500 total return index (green index) has risen thanks to The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet expansion (orange line) with COVID. Until 2022 when the expectation of Fed rate hikes surged from 3 in late December 2021 to 9.4 expected rate hikes over the next 12 months (yellow line).
The US Treasury total return index (white line) has gotten crushed with The Fed’s signals of rate hikes and quantitative tightening (QT). Call it “White Line Fever.” The commodity total return index (blue line) has surged as The Fed’s expected rate hikes have risen from 3 to 9.4 in 2022.
Is The Fed causing a Great Reset in housing? In 2022, we see the surge in Fed rate hike expectations leading the 30-year mortgage rate to be nearly 5%. The last Case-Shiller home price index was for January and it was still raging at 19.17% YoY growth. Let’s see if The Fed’s QT will slow down home price growth. But home prices are growing at 4x 30-year mortgage rates.
Now the basis of this system, which has operated for the past 50 years, is being called into question. The sanctions on Russia, which showed that reserves accumulated by central banks can simply be taken away, raised the question of “what is money?”
That question may explain why Pozsar believes a huge shift in the way the world organizes money and reserves is now underway, “creating a “Bretton Woods III backed by outside money,” (gold and other commodities). Including crude oil and bitcoin.
At least crude oil has fallen below $100 as Biden merrily drains the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Gasoline prices have fallen slightly as this is being done before the midterm elections with political, not economic, intent. Once the midterms pass, will Biden continue draining the SPR until there is little left forcing the US to convert to “green energy”?
The purchasing power of the consumer dollar took a plunge under Biden as other commodities such as Bitcoin and crude oil soared.
An alternative asset, gold, have generally risen under Biden’s Reign of Error, but particularly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Unfortunately, the US Breakeven 10Y inflation rate hit another all-time high as West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil (Cushing Spot) soars.
But note that the WTI Crude spot rate is still lower than it previous peak in June 2008. What is notable in the above chart is that M2 Money growth YoY has slowed after Covid “Stimulypto”. But M2 is still growing at an 11% YoY clip, much faster growth than pre-Covid rates. So, Federal stimulypto is still in place, helping to drive inflation to the moon.
Oil prices are soaring as US President Biden pleads like a homeless person to foreign countries for oil rather than let the US produce more oil to drive down prices. Meanwhile, the US Treasury yield curve 10Y-3M is at its steepest (rising 10Y yields while The Fed keeps short rates at near zero).
But if we look at the belly of the beast, so to speak, the 10Y-5Y slope, we can see that the Treasury curve has declined to a mere 0.278 basis points as inflation rages.
Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate keeps on climbing and has hit 4.55% as the 2-year Treasury yield rises rapidly.
The US Dollar Index has risen dramatically as US inflation has increased dramatically.
Oil? Oil is up over 4% in the US. Mexican Mix (not a #3 meal at Chuy’s) is up 7.32%.
Gasoline? NY prices are up over 10%.
Russian oil is up 9.35%.
Ah, for the good old days of 30 cents a gallon gasoline, although I always wondered about Gulf’s marketing campaign. “Good Gulf” seems to imply that the other Gulf gasolines aren’t good. And Gulf’s “No-nox” seems to imply that the other Gulf gasolines knock like Biden’s knees as he pleads for foreign oil.
The news just keeps getting worse and worse. Russia is still assaulting Ukraine, WTI Crude prices are above $100 a barrel and climbing, the Cleveland Browns signed Deshaun Watson to replace Baker Mayfield at quarterback, etc.
But back to energy prices. Since Biden was sworn-in as President, WTI Crude Oil futures are up 125%, regular gasoline prices are up 89%, and diesel fuel prices are up 155%. Diesel is important since America uses diesel-powered trucks to transport goods to market.
Globally? The world inflation rate has grown from 2% in January 2021 to 6.82%. Global food prices are up 24%.
Yes, WTI Crude and Brent Crude are above $100 per barrel.
And coal prices are up 256% under Shoeless Brainless Joe.
Mortgage rates? Bankrate’s 30-year mortgage rate is now above 4.50%.
Let’s see if Dr. StrangeFedpolicy raises rates as aggressively as signaled.