Why is this terrifying? Blockchain technology is a fantastic innovation for processing payments given its ledger capabiliities. But that means that The Federal Reserve might be able to look at your complete history of expenditures. Or worse, perhaps even shut down your ability to make payments, This may lead to a China-style “social credit score” where the Fed and the Federal government punish people for driving “too much” increasing your carbon footprint or eating non-Federal government approved foods and lowering your social credit score.
Will there be safeguards? Allegedly, but remember the FBI hid Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the Presidential election of late 2020. And HOW did our nation’s regulators completely drop the ball on Sam Bankman-Fried (or Spam Bankfraud)?
Alarm! US home prices are decelerating as inflation rages and The Fed tightens.
Home price growth in the US slowed the most on record as a doubling of borrowing costs (thanks to the US Federal Reserve) has sapped demand.
A national measure of prices increased 13% in August from a year earlier, but is down from 20.79% in March, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index showed Tuesday. That’s the biggest deceleration in the index’s history.
The housing market has started to slump as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates to curb the hottest inflation in decades. Even with the deceleration, prices remain high compared to last year. Coupled with mortgage rates that are edging closer to 7%, many would-be buyers have been shut out, while some sellers have retreated.
While 13% growth sounds good, it is not good for renters looking to buy a home.
On related news, I always said in my classes that +/- 10 basis point in the US Treasury yield is a big deal. This morning, the US Treasury 10-year yield is DOWN -16.1 bps. In fact, the 10-year yields are down across the board globally.
Pension funds hold large positions in US Treasuries and Agency Mortgage-backed Securities (MBS). As does America’s central bank, The Federal Reserve. All are suffering losses as The Fed fights inflation.
(Bloomberg) — Week by week, the bond-market crash just keeps getting worse and there’s no clear end in sight.
With central banks worldwide aggressively ratcheting up interest rates in the face of stubbornly high inflation, prices (created by The Fed, Biden’s Green Energy Follicies and reckless Federal spending) are tumbling as traders race to catch up. And with that has come a grim parade of superlatives on how bad it has become.
On Friday, the UK’s five-year bonds tumbled by the most since at least 1992 after the government rolled out a massive tax-cut plan that may only strengthen the Bank of England’s hand. Two-year US Treasuries are in the middle of the the longest losing streak since at least 1976, dropping for 12 straight days. Worldwide, Bank of America Corp. strategists said government bond markets are on course for the worst year since 1949, when Europe was rebuilding from the ruins of World War Two.
The escalating losses reflect how far the Federal Reserve and other central banks have shifted away from the monetary policies of the pandemic, when they held rates near zero to keep their economies going. The reversal has exerted a major drag on everything from stock prices to oil as investors brace for an economic slowdown.
And as The Fed tries to combat stubborn inflation (caused by The Fed, Biden’s Green Energy folly and reckless Federal spending), you can see the US government security liquidity is worsening.
At least inflation has produced one “positive.” REAL mortgage rates are NEGATIVE since Freddie Mac’s 30-year mortgage rate less headline inflation is currently -2.975%.
Then we have Agency MBS (example, FNCL 3% MBS) plunging like a paralyzed falcon as duration risk increases with Fed rate tightening.
Fed Funds Futures data points to tightening until May ’23, then a reversal of rate hikes.
Inflation is stubborn because “goin’ green!” by 1) restricting US fossil fuel production and exploration and 2) Biden/Congress endless spending splurge since Covid. So, The Federal Reserve has a tough problem: cooling inflation while US energy prices are up 54% under Biden. And those higher energy prices have percolated through the entire economy in terms of food prices and heating prices.
Where do we sit? The US Treasury 10yr-2yr yield curve remains inverted (a sign of impending recession). Mortgage rates are the highest in 14 years as The Fed tightens.
If we look at Fed Funds Futures data, we can see that traders expect The Fed’s target rate to rise to 4.395% by March 2023’s FOMC meeting. Then traders expect The Fed to take their enormous foot off the tightening pedal.
Yes, inflation is crushing the middle class and low-wage workers. Average hourly earnings YoY after we subtract inflation are negative.
Taylor Rule? Currently, the Taylor Rule based on Core inflation of 4.56% YoY suggests a Fed target rate of 9.14%. Since traders anticipate the target rate to peak at 4.395%, The Fed will almost be halfway towards cooling inflation.
The problem is … Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen don’t like rules limiting their “power.” Powell and Yellen think the Taylor Rule is a New Jersey ham product.
Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune, something to make us all happy (like hitting 2% inflation WITHOUT crashing the economy). Do anything take us out of this gloom (caused by The Fed, Biden’s energy policies and Federal spending). Sing a song, play guitar, Make it snappy. Or in the case of housing, make it crappy.
(Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said the central bank was resolved to curb red-hot inflation, even if that meant risking a US economic recession.
“We’re committed to returning inflation to our 2% target and we’ll do what it takes to get there,” Barkin said Friday during an event in Ocean City, Maryland. He said that this could be achieved without a “tremendous decline in activity” but acknowledged that there were risks.
“There’s a path to getting inflation under control but a recession could happen in the process,” he said.
The US central bank hiked interest rates by 75 basis points in July for the second straight month as policy makers tackle inflation that’s running near 40-year highs. Fed officials speaking in recent days have said more rate increases are needed, but they are still deciding how big to move at their next policy meeting.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, one of the most hawkish policy makers, on Thursday urged another 75 basis-point move while Kansas City’s Esther George struck a more cautious tone.
Well, The Fed (aka, Der Kommissars) let the monetary stimulus blow out of control since 2000.
With the 2001 recession, The Fed crashed the target rate (white line) causing home price growth (blue line) to soar. Then The Fed decided that the economy was overheated and cranked up their target rate. This sudden rise in The Fed’s target rate helped to slow/crash housing prices. Resulting in … a frantic decrease in the target rate (late 2007- late 2008) and the adoption of asset purchases of Treasury Notes/Bonds and Agency Mortgage-backed Securities in late 2008.
The Bernanke/Yellen “loose as a goose” policies from late 2008 to Feb 2018 created a total mess. Bernanke/Yellen raised the target rate only one before Trump was elected President, and 8 times AFTER Trump was elected. And Yellen’s Fed began to let the balance sheet shrink a bit before Covid struck in early 2020. And with Covid came another massive expansion of The Fed’s Balance Sheet WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN WITHDRAWN (despite Fed talking heads saying it would be reduced).
Here we sit with The Fed NOW trying to extinguish inflation (yellow line) by raising their target rate (white line) but NOT shrinking the balance sheet (orange line).
Wonder why this is a horrible homeless problem in the US, particularly in California? While Stanford University has an excellent study of the causes of California’s homeless problem, there is another cause of homelessness … The Federal Reserve’s insane monetary policies since late 2008. The Case-Shiller National Home Price Index is 65% higher in May than during the calamitous home price bubble of 2005-2007, helping to exacerbate the homeless problem.
One of the many problems created by the reckless Bernanke/Yellen/Powell monetary policies is the M2 Money Velocity is near an all-time low making a return to “easy money policies” far more difficult.
I won’t post any photos of the homeless encampments in Los Angeles since it is very sad. But here is a photo of the Dunder-Mifflin paper company “office” on Saticoy Street. The point is that thanks to The Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policies, housing is unaffordable for millions of households forcing many to live on the streets.
Figure 2: Median Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment, California, 2022
And a point of trivia. The Office’s Charles Miner (played by the GREAT Idris Elba) was allegedly hired from Saticoy Steel. The Dunder-Mifflin paper company site was on Saticoy Street in sunny LA, not Scranton PA.
Good luck to The Federal Reserve in combating inflation without causing a recession.
The 2020 Covid outbreak led to a massive (and generally awful) reaction. There were economic shutdowns that caused extensive damage (particularly to small firms), but it was the massive overreaction by The Federal government in terms of Covid relief and The Federal Reserve’s expansion of the money supply that caused considerable damage.
One truly horrific chart is that of M1 Money and M1 Money Velocity (M1/GDP). M1 Money surged with Covid driving M1 Money Velocity down to levels never seem before.
The broader measure of money, M2, isn’t as dramatic, but we also see that M2 Money VELOCITY has plunged to levels never seen before.
What does low money velocity indicate? Simply put, The Fed is printing trillions of dollars, but GDP isn’t moving much. But that won’t stop Congress from spending (and using The Fed to buy its debt).
So, here we sit. This morning, the US Treasury yield curve (10Y-2Y) remains inverted. This AM, the curve inverted another -.591 basis points to -42.725, a sign of impending recession.
Yes, we are living through Jay Powell’s famous chili episode where money velocity is near historic lows and we have an inverted yield curve.
BTW, congratulations to Will Zalatoris (aka, Happy Gilmore’s caddy) for his first PGA Tour victory at the FedEx St. Jude Championship!
The dollar’s gain is the world’s pain — and based on its current trajectory, the world may be in for a whole lot more discomfort.
Concerns over global growth have recently sent the US Dollar Index to the strongest level on record, with the greenback hitting multi-decade highs against currencies like the euro and the yen.
But the move risks becoming a self-reinforcing feedback loop given that the vast majority of cross-border trade is still denominated in dollars, and a stronger US currency has historically translated into a broad hit to the world economy.
Against the backdrop of higher-than-expected inflation and still-elevated commodities prices, the concern is that we’re in for a dollar ‘doom loop’ like never before, according to Jon Turek, the founder of JST Advisors and author of the Cheap Convexity blog.
With the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates at the fastest pace in decades, he says, it’s much less clear what could break the feedback loop in the next few months.
The Dollar Doom Loop with US inflation causing The Fed to tighten
Under Biden’s policies, inflation hit a 40-year high (blue line), and the US Dollar (green line) is strengthening. Then we have The Fed raising the target rate (purple line) and the probability of recession rising with Fed tightening.
Is a US recession coming? The US Treasury 10Y-2Y yield curve is inverted at almost -20 basis points.
There is a Fed open market committee meeting in one week and they are expected to raise their target rate by 75 basis points according to Fed Fund Futures data. Inflation keeps rising as does the probability of a US recession. So, The Fed will keep on tightening.