Kevin’s Famous Chili? 30Y Mortgage Rate Rises To 3.45% As 10Y Treasury Yields Rises To 1.869% (4 Rates Hikes By Fed Priced-in)

The 10-year Treasury Note yield rose to 1.869% this afternoon as Freddie Mac’s 30-year mortgage commitment rate rose to 3.45%.

And if you like The Fed Funds Futures data, it is pricing in 4 rate hikes by The Fed (March, June, September and December). For a grand total of … 100 basis points or 1%.

By keeping rates soooo low for soooo long, The Fed has committed a serious policy error. Or as Kevin Malone calls it, “The Fed’s Famous Chili!”

The Empire Strikes Out! Empire Manufacturing Index Slumps To Negative Territory As Inflation Roars (WTI Crude Futures UP 79% Since Jan 1st)

Well, Omicron is hitting hard. Not the virus itself, but governments’ reaction to the virus. The NY Empire Manufacturing Index has tanked into negative territory.

New orders are down 5%.

On the energy front, West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures are up 79% since January 1, 2021 while regular gasoline prices are up “only” 50% over the same period.

How about inflation and the Treasury yield curve? Inflation has soared to 40-year highs under Biden as energy prices (WTI Crude Futures) have soared 79%.

Container ships are still backed-up at LA and Long Beach ports. I thought Mayor Pete was supposed to fix the port congestion problem!

Maybe they should play the Darth Vader theme when Biden goes to the podium to stammer.

Inflation Nation! US PPI Final Demand Soaring At 9.7% YoY As CPI Soared 7.0% YoY (Energy Prices Lessened In Q4 But Are Surging Again In 2022)

Yesterday’s inflation report was the worst in 40 years. But at least today’s Producer Price Index Final Demand is down slightly from November. But PPI Final Demand YoY is still roaring at 9.7%.

The producer price index for final demand increased 0.2% from the prior month and 9.7% from a year earlier, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The annual advance was the largest in figures back to 2010. 

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the PPI climbed 0.5% in December and was up 8.3% from a year earlier. 

Too much Federal government spending, too much Fed monetary stimulus, Omicron helping created labor shortages, etc. But the real killer has been ENERGY prices. Note that natural gas, gasoline and WTI crude oil were falling in November/December helping to slow PPI growth by a smidge. BUT energy prices are skyrocketing in January. So … look for higher PPI in January.

Here is the painting by Thomas Hart Benton that drove “Brokeback Biden” to try to destroy fossil fuel production. Or at least this is Washington DC’s idea of what Oklahoma and Texas are like.

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.

Turkish Lira Freefall Accelerates Despite Central Bank Intervention (Turkey’s 10Y Yield At 21.50%, Very Venezuela-Like With Inflation At 21.31%)

Turkey (the nation, not the bird) is now the Venezuela of Europe/Middle East, where insane government policies are destroying both nations.

(Dow Jones) — Turkey’s central bank intervened to arrest the plunge in the country’s currency, which lost as much as 8% of its value against the dollar on Friday in an ongoing crisis that is straining the country’s financial system.

The crash followed another decision by the central bank on Thursday to cut interest rates under pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who favors lower rates as a part of a vision to grow the Turkish economy. Mainstream economists have urged the government to raise interest rates to control Turkey’s rising inflation, which reached more than 21% last month, according to official statistics.

The ongoing plunge is putting increasing pressure on ordinary Turks who have seen their savings evaporate, and adding to pressure on the banking system which has high levels of foreign-currency-denominated loans to repay within the next 12 months.

Wow. Turkey’s 10-year sovereign yield rose 42 BPS today to 21.590%. Turkey is looking like the Venezuela of Europe and the Middle East.

The Turkish sovereign curve in their home currency is humped.

But the Turkish yield curve (in US Dollars) looks more like the US Treasury actives curve.

The Turkish Lira is crashing against the US Dollar.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Turkey is cutting their repo rate as inflation soars. WTF???

I love this ZeroHedge headline: “Turkey Halts All Stock Trading As Currency Disintegrates, Central Bank Powerless To Halt Collapse.” Yes, it would help if Turkey’s Central Bank was RAISING rates rather than cutting them in order to stem the tide of inflation. It is like Turkey’s Central Bank is steering their ship of state INTO an F5 tornado.

Then again, US Fed chair Powell seems to be taking his time in cooling US inflation by … doing nothing.

Here is Turkish President Erdogan meeting with Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro. “Together we can destroy both economies!”

The Fed’s Gilded Age: A Tale of Today’s Housing Market (REAL Home Prices Rising At 14.6% YoY As REAL Hourly Earnings Fall (-0.41% YoY)

Welcome to The Fed’s Gilded Age … for housing! The gilded age refers to the thin-veneer of gold covering up problems in the late 1800s.

Today’s gilded age is largely fueled by The Federal Reserve’s uber-easy monetary policies combined with absurd Federal government policies. The result? Thanks to inflation, REAL home prices are growing at 14.6% YoY while REAL hourly earnings are declining (-0.41% YoY).

Redfin predicts a more balanced housing market in 2022. Part of their rationale is that they predict mortgage rates will rise to 3.6%. This growth in the mortgage rate is predicted to slow home price growth to 3.2% from double digit growth currently.

While this scenario is plausible, it will require a change in direction of the 10-year Treasury yield which has been declining since 1981. 5.39% YoY inflation may encourage The Fed to raise rates.

Today’s REAL 30-year mortgage rate is -3.08% while the REAL 10-year Treasury yield is -4.67%. It will require a reduction in inflation AND an increase in the nominal rate to get to 3.6%.

With the Freddie Mac 30-year survey rate at 3.10, will a 50 basis point increase in mortgage rates send the market crashing? Not likely.

After all, the US economy is under the thumb of The Federal Reserve.

Ethereum Jumps to Record High As People Lose Faith In Central Banks To Control Inflation

Instead of Bonjovi singing “Keeping the faith,” they should sing “Losing the faith” with regard to central banks and inflation.

Ethererum, the cryptocurrency, is now at $4,298. It under $200 as the Covid crisis took shape in March 2020. Since Covid, The Federal Reserve went loco and massively increased their money supply and asset purchases. With that response (and economic bottlenecks), inflation has increased to 5.4% YoY.

The Fed’s new moto should be “Policy errors ARE our business!”

No, we don’t look to President Beavis to do much of anything positive about inflation.

Is Joe Biden Actually Dwight Schrute From “The Office”? Natural Gas Prices EXPLODING And Americans Being Punished!!!!

Since Joe Biden took office in January 2021, we have seen several actions from The White House. First, was the cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline (making the US more energy dependent on others). Second, Biden waived US sanctions on Russian pipeline to Germany. Big winner? Russia. Big loser? US consumers trying to heat their homes.

Here is a chart of natural gas prices since Biden took office in January.

Biden reminds me of Dwight Schrute from the TV show “The Office” as he loves to punish people. In this case, families trying to heat their home. And have his own currency, Schrute Bucks.

Perhaps The Federal Reserve should rename the US Dollar as “Biden Bucks.”

Here is Joe Biden lecturing the American people on Covid compliance.

Venezuela’s Battered Bolivar Gets Makeover With Six Fewer Zeroes (Cup Of Coffee Rises 345%, Household Goods Rising Over 4,000%)

Here they go again! A cautionary tale of a government gone wild resulting in gut-wrenching inflation and 76.7% of the population living in extreme poverty.

Venezuela is launching a new version of the bolivar in the latest attempt to salvage a currency so beaten down by years of hyperinflation that residents have adopted the U.S. dollar.

The so-called digital bolivar, which is being introduced Friday, effectively removes six zeroes from the “sovereign bolivar,” which started circulating just three years ago.

New banknotes and coins will be put into use. Bank accounts will be adjusted to reflect the redenomination. And debit and credit card purchases will become easier: there were so many digits involved in some transactions that merchants were forced to split the transaction into multiple card swipes.

It’s another maneuver aimed at propping-up the national currency, even though President Nicolas Maduro’s government is permitting the use of the U.S. dollar as a way to cope with runaway inflation and shortages. The government has implemented two other currency changes since 2008, dropping eight zeroes. Hyperinflation, among the highest in the world, has slowed to 2,146% per year from more than 300,000% in 2019, according to Bloomberg’s Cafe Con Leche index.

Under Friday’s change, the largest former banknote, for 1 million bolivars — worth about $0.23 –will be replaced by a 1-bolivar coin. One dollar will fetch around 4.2 bolivars instead of 4.2 million bolivars at the official exchange rate.

“This is useless. Prices will continue to rise and, in a few months, the new bills will be useless,” said Leida Leon, a 37-year-old cleaning worker at a Caracas school.

The price of a coffee, an inflation indicator, has risen 345% this year
  

And Venezuela’s official inflation rate for household goods is a blood-curdling 4,245% YoY.

On Thursday, demand for dollars rose as people feared a prolonged suspension of banking services as the redenomination is rolled out, said Luis Arturo Barcenas, senior economist at Caracas-based financial analysis firm Ecoanalitica.

Two-thirds of retail transactions involve the U.S. dollar, according to Ecoanalitica. Yet, many Venezuelans need bolivars for everyday transactions, like bus fares and to buy gas subsidized by the government. While the government is attempting to boost the use of digital payments, many regions are beset by regular electrical blackouts that affect communications.

Venezuelans have faced disastrous government policies and pressure from U.S. sanctions that have put the country on the brink of its eighth-straight year of economic contraction. More than 5 million people have fled the country, once one of Latin America’s wealthiest.

An estimated 76.6% of Venezuelans are living in extreme poverty, up from 67.7% last year, according to a university survey on living conditions known as Encovi.

As least Venezuela’s Treasury Department could produce a likeness of Simón Bolívar (aka, Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Ponte Palacios y Blanco) that doesn’t look like a bad cartoon character.

Kind Of A Drag! The Taper That Will Really Bite Into U.S. Growth Isn’t the Fed’s (As The Fed’s Repo Facility Hits An All-time High)

Kind of a drag … when Federal government stimulus fades just as The Fed tries to decide on slowing its balance sheet expansion.

(Bloomberg) — In the coming Year of the Taper, it’s the fiscal version that will really bite.

The chatter in U.S. financial markets is all about the Federal Reserve’s yet-to-be-announced reduction of its bond purchases. That’s obscuring something important: the already-under-way cutback of the federal government’s budgetary support — which is likely to have a much bigger impact on economic growth next year.


The U.S. expansion looks set to slow sharply in the second half of 2022 as measures that propped up the economy during the pandemic — from stimulus checks for households to no-cost financing for small companies — fade from view.

That will be the case even if President Joe Biden manages to win Congressional approval for the bulk of his $3.5 trillion Build Back Better agenda. The spending will stretch over years, with limited impact in 2022. It will also be at least partly paid for by tax increases that slow the economy down rather than speed it up.

And then the is Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen renewing her call for Congress to raise or suspend the U.S. debt ceiling, saying the government will otherwise run out of money to pay its bills sometime in October.

We can see the CDS market reacting … slightly … to Yellen’s concerns.

But next to Argentina’s CDS, the US looks positively tame.

And there is a little disturbance in the Fed Funds Futures volatility.

Then we have the volatility cube showing The Fed’s rate suppression at the short end and expected volatility in the future.

And there we have The Fed’s temporary repo facility hitting an all-time high.

Mercy, mercy, mercy!