Heartaches On Heartaches! US Court Ruling May Take 70,000 Truckers Off Road, Spur Jams (Diesel Prices UP 118% Under Biden, Things Just Keep Getting Worse)

Hey, I thought Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the US Transportation Secretary, was supposed to unclog the supply-chain crisis! Instead, we get heartaches on heartaches as diesel prices rise 118% under Biden AND now the bottle-necks may get a lot worse.

A US Supreme Court decision that could force California’s 70,000 truck owner-operators to stop driving is set to create another choke point in already-stressed West Coast logistics networks, a truckers’ organization said. 

“Gasoline has been poured on the fire that is our ongoing supply-chain crisis,” the California Trucking Association said in a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to deny a judicial review of a decision of a lower court, a process known as certiorari.

“In addition to the direct impact on California’s 70,000 owner-operators who have seven days to cease long-standing independent businesses, the impact of taking tens of thousands of truck drivers off the road will have devastating repercussions on an already fragile supply chain, increasing costs and worsening runaway inflation,” the CTA said.

The association asked the Supreme Court for a review of a case challenging California’s Assembly Bill 5, a law that sets out three tests to determine whether a worker is an employee entitled to job benefits or an independent contractor who isn’t. The trucking industry relies on contractors, and has fought to be exempt from state regulations for years because of federal law.

With few exceptions, the relationship between independent truckers and their carriers, brokers and shippers will be governed by the tests. 

As if US consumers aren’t getting crushed by rising prices already. In response to the Covid outbreak, The Fed slammed its foot on the money accelerator along with Federal government stimulus. Throw in Biden’s anti-drilling executive orders, and we have a nightmare.

Consumer confidence is already crumbling under inflation and rising energy prices.

Let’s get ready to stumble.

Slip, Slidin’ Away! US Q2 Real GDP Descends To -2.1% (Late In The Evening For The Midterm Elections!)

Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer the midterm elections

The more you’re slip slidin’ away

As Bill Clinton once said about elections, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Which is bad news for Biden and Democrats after Q1’s bad GDP report of -1.6% “growth”, we now see the Atlanta Fed’s real-time GDP report for Q2 at -2.1%.

Today’s miserable construction spending report helped tank Q2’s real GDP forecast.

Its getting late in the evening since the midterms are only a couple of months away and Biden’s approval rating is miserable.

Sing it, Joe!

Reversal Of Fortune! Fed Funds Futures Point To Feb ’23 Reversal Of Fed Rate Hikes (Recession Alert!) As Crippling Inflation Soars

No, not the Claus von Bülow kind of reversal of fortune where has was accused of killing his wife. But this murder is coming from The Federal Reserve hiking interest rates even when they know that doing so could lead to a recession. And Biden’s anti-fossil fuel energy policies.

“Fed Chair Powell Admits That Fighting Inflation Could Lead To Recession.”

And investors in the Fed Funds Futures market see The Fed changing its rate-hiking ways in February 2023.

Inflation is what is killing the US economy and millions of households. Financially speaking.

And Biden’s approval ratings are sinking faster than The Titanic. In other words, he’s just killing us.

And then we have turbulence in the housing market as Fed intentions are driving up mortgage rate which helped listings with price reductions at 98.2% YoY.

Biden’s energy policies plus The Fed’s war on inflation will result in an economic reversal of fortune.

Nothing From Nothing! US Q1 GDP Falls To -1.6% QoQ As GDP Price Index Soars To 8.2% With Massive Fed Stimulus

Nothing from nothing beats the numbers coming out of Washington DC.

Despite enormous Fed monetary stimulus, Q1 Real GDP fell to -1.6% QoQ while prices rose 8.2%.

And if it weren’t for real estate, it would have been worse.

Personal consumption growth in real terms QoQ declined to 1.8% as Fed money printing slows.

Can the US economy survive without Uncle Spam’s printing press?

Fed Is ‘Just at the Beginning’ of Raising US Rates, Mester Says, MBA Mortgage Purchase Applications Drop -21% WoW As Rates Rise (Mester Channels The Carpenters)

Cleveland Fed’s Mester is channeling The Carpenter’s song “We’ve only just begun … to raise rates.”

Financial markets are anticipating what Mester is saying: rapidly rising interest rates. But as you can see from the following chart, gasoline prices (orange line) are driving rising US prices. So it is doubtful that monetary tightening will slow price increases. But Mester and company can only control monetary stimulus.

Mortgage rates have soared as The Fed attempts to crush inflation. And mortgage purchase applications fell -21% WoW in the most recent Mortgage Bankers Association survey.

The Refinance Index increased 2 percent from the previous week and was 80 percent lower than the same week one year ago. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.1 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 21 percent compared with the previous week and was 24 percent lower than the same week one year ago.

It almost seems like Mester is following the Taylor Rule (not really). But using CPI YoY, the Taylor Rule is saying that The Fed Funds Target Rate should be … 22.10%. It is only 1.75% after years of excessive stimulus following the banking crisis of 2008/2009. And Yellen who seemingly never met a rate hike that she liked.

If we use core PCE as our measure of inflation, the Taylor Rule is still high at 13.25%, a whopping 11.50 spread over the current target rate.

Will The Fed drive up rates and risk a recession ala Paul Volcker? Are we sitting on top of the world or about to get fried?

Bear in mind that gasoline prices are up 104% under the Biden Administration and mortgage rates are up 105%.

AEI’s April Home Price Index UP 17.3% YoY As The Fed And “Slowhand” Powell Keep Monetary Stimulus In Place (Bostic Talking About A Pause?)

All I can say is “Wow.” Tobias Peter and Ed Pinto of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) released their April housing report and it was a doozy. The AEI’s home price appreciation index came in at a blood curdling 17.3% YoY.

The reason why home prices are still raging at 17.3% YoY? The Fed’s monetary stimulypto is STILL in place! The Fed’s balance sheet (green line) is still staggering, and The Fed Funds target rate (white line) is a measly 1%.

Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is talking about a pause in Fed tightening. Which they haven’t paused yet.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is really “slowhand,” not Eric Clapton. Bostic is now a member of The Fed’s “Slowhand” strategy.

Mortgage Update! Mortgage Applications Fell 1.2% WoW, Refi Applications Down 75% YoY, Purchase Applications Down 16% YoY, Mortgage Rate UP 71% YoY

Mortgage applications decreased 1.2 percent from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending May 20, 2022.

The Refinance Index decreased 4 percent from the previous week and was 75 percent lower than the same week one year ago. And under Biden, the refinance index is down -83.2%.

The good news? The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index increased 0.2 percent from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1 percent compared with the previous week and was 16 percent lower than the same week one year ago. And the mortgage purchase applications index is down -12% under Biden.

While mortgage interest rates are up 71.7% than one year ago and mortgage rates are up 87% under Biden. As The Federal Reserve signals (but not yet accomplished) monetary tightening.

Once again, The Fed is dead set on cooling inflation caused by 1) Biden’s anti-drilling policies and 2) the remnants of the Federal government spending splurge to combat Covid. The Fed has been increasing their asset purchases (purple line) as inflation increase (blue line). Now they are signaling a decline in the balance sheet (green line) in the hope that it will cool inflation. Fat chance.

Let’s see how DEAD SET The Fed is about tightening monetary policy in the face of rising energy and food prices while a war rages in Ukraine and China in a Covid lockdown.

We are all goin’ down the road feelin’ bad under Biden.

US New Home Sales Down -32% Under Biden While Mortgage Rates Are Up 89%, Framing Wood Up 21.4% (New Home Sales Down -16.6% For April)

I have never seen two Federal entities make such a mess in my life. The Federal Reserve and The Federal government.

The good news? The 10-year Treasury yield is down -12.9 BPS this morning generally resulting in lower 30-year mortgage rates. Of course, the reason why the 10-yield is falling is generally bad news.

The bad news? US New Home Sales fell -16.6% MoM in April as mortgage rates skyrocketed.

Since the installation of Joe Biden as President, new home sales have plunged -31.2%, mortgage rates are up 88.9%, and framing lumber prices are up 29.2%.

Biden is out there bragging about rising energy prices which he views as a necessity to force the conversion of America to electric cars and trucks. Biden is the first President in history to gloat over the suffering of American households.

Under Biden, regular gasoline prices are up 92%, diesel prices are up 111%, and CRB Foodstuffs are up 61%.

Say, framing lumber for housing is cheaper than food. Maybe Biden will suggest Americans transform to being beavers and gnaw on wood.

Commodities Versus S&P 500 And The New World Order (Crashing Currencies And Flight To Commodities) The End Of US Dollar Hegemony?

Here is Dvorak’s New World Symphony, an appropriate piece the global turmoil that has taken place after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Here is the ratio of the S&P 500 index against the Bloomberg Commodity Price Index. This ratio is plotted against The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet of assets. Notice the decline in the Commodity Ratio in 2022, even ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Global currencies, on the other hand, have been really crushed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Japanese Yen, China’s Renminbi and Europe’s Euro relative to the US Dollar are falling due to a variety of reasons. Covid lockdown in China, Japan’s insistence on monetary easing while other Central Banks are tightening and the Euro with Russia threatening nuclear war.

WTI Crude is back to $100 a barrel. Critical metals are down today related to a slowing global economy and wheat is up 2.75%.

Could it be that US Dollar hegemony is nearly over and commodity-backed currencies are the way of the future?

The Biden Inflation Scorecard! House Price Growth UP 69%, Food UP 58%, Gasoline UP 72%, Diesel Fuel UP 154%, Fed Bal Sheet UP 21% (Mortgage Rates UP 83.3%)

Under President Biden’s Reign of Error, inflation is the highest in 40 years. But Powell and The Fed are still overstimulating the economy, and Congress is contributing to the inflation disaster with short-sighted political policies and spending (flooding the economy with stimulus spending helping to drive up prices). Even Democrat US Senator Elizabeth Warren gets it.

Here is Biden’s inflation scorecard in one chart. Under Inflation Joe, foodstuffs are up 58%, gasoline is up 72%, diesel fuel is up 154%, and green energy element Lithium is up 645% (no wonder electric car manufacturer Telsa is raising their prices 10%). Of course, The Federal Reserve keeps on expanding its balance sheet, UP 50.3% under Inflation Joe.

House price growth is up 69% and the 30-year mortgage rate is UP 83.3% and currently is at 5.28%. The orange line is the growth path.

Yes, prices have risen even more after Russia Invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. But most of the inflation was baked-in prior to the Russian invasion. Sorry Jen Psaki, but you are wrong about inflation being all Putin’s fault.