US New Home Sales Decline -19.3% YoY As Mortgage Rates Rise (Median Price Of New Home Sales UP 13.4% YoY)

US new home sales declined -19.3% YoY in January as mortgage rates have risen awfully fast.

On a MoM basis, US housing starts declined -4.53% from December, but heck … its winter. The median price for new homes rose 7.03% from December.

Median price of new home sales YoY is now 13.4% thanks to limited available inventory for sale.

Putinesca! European Markets Tank, Energy Prices Explode, US 10Y Treasury Yields Plunge 13.3 BPS After Russia Invades Ukraine (Russian 5Y CDS Soars To 917)

I admit, I follow market data to get a signal of what is happening to mortgage rates and I got one. With Putin and Russia invading Ukraine, markets are in turmoil

WTI Crude is up 8.14% this morning, Brent Crude is up 8.45% and NBP (UK) Natural gas is up 40%.

Europe is having a bad day equity market-wise. Eurostoxx 50 was down 4.92%. The US Dow is braced for a 2.5% opening.

Now to bonds. The 10-year Treasury yield is down 13.3 bps this morning. Sweden and UK are down 10 bps as well.

How about the new Russian front? Ukraine’s 10y yield rose 691.0 bps while Russia’s 10Y yield rose 435 bps.

Russian 5Y Credit Default Swaps (CDS) leaped to a Greek-like 917.

Well, it looks like the sanctions imposed by Winken (US VP Harris), Blinken (US Secretary of State) and Nod (US President Biden because he always looks half-asleep) apparently didn’t work as intended.

Putin finally made up his mind.

Fed’s Bullard Backs Supersized Hike, Seeks Full Point by July 1 (10Y-2Y Yield Curve Crashing)

Call this “The running of the Bull(ard)s mouth.”

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said he supports raising interest rates by a full percentage point by the start of July — including the first half-point hike since 2000 — in response to the hottest inflation in four decades.

“I’d like to see 100 basis points in the bag by July 1,” Bullard, a voter on monetary policy this year, said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Thursday. “I was already more hawkish but I have pulled up dramatically what I think the committee should do.”
 
Bullard’s plan involves spreading the increases over three meetings, shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet starting in the second quarter, and then deciding on the path of rates in the second half based on updated data. He said he was undecided on whether the March meeting should begin with 50 basis points, and would defer to Fed Chair Jerome Powell in leading the discussion. Powell, at a press conference in January, didn’t rule out the idea of such a move.

Bullard’s comments, along with the war drums along The Potomac about a Russian invasion of The Ukraine, are causing the 2-year Treasury yield to rise faster than the 10-year yield.

Resulting in a crashing 10Y-2Y curve.

The GINI measure of income inequality is at an all-time high as the purchasing power of the US Dollar is at an all-time low. Way to go, Federal Reserve and Congress!

What will The Fed decide at their emergency, closed-door meeting today? Nice transparency, Powell!

PIGS Facing The Fire (Again)! Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain Seeing Surge In Sovereign Debt Yields

European PIGS must face the fire … again.

Once upon a time, European PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain) saw incredible spikes in their sovereign yields related to Greek credit default contagion. But the European Central Bank (ECB), World Bank (WB), International Money Fund (IMF) rose to the rescue.

But here we go again! Thanks to rising inflation, the ECB is threatening to remove the massive monetary stimulus. Sound familiar??

Here are the Eurozone 10-year sovereign yields as of this morning. Greece is up a whopping 27.4 basis points, Italy is up 11.7 BPS, Portugal is up 9.3 BPS and Spain is up 9.2 BPS. The core of the Eurozone, France and Germany, are up 4.3 and 3.0 BPS, respectively.

Germany has REAL 10Y Bunds yields of -4.7%.

Like the USA, the Eurozone Taylor Rule is much higher than the ECB’s Main Refinancing rate of 0%..

Here is ECB’s Christine Lagarde saying “What, me worry??”

U.S. Yield Curve Flattens as Traders Mull Half-Point March Hike (Fed’s March Of The Toreadors Killing The Bull Market)

Raphael Bostic and Goldman Sachs are both calling for dramatic rate increases to fight inflation … that they helped cause with their monetary stimulypto. I call this The Fed’s March of the Toreadors as The Fed now attempts to kill the bull market.

(Bloomberg) — The Treasury yield curve flattened to the lowest level in over a year on Monday as the prospect of a super-sized Federal Reserve rate increase in March gained traction, weighing disproportionately on shorter-dated tenors.

Two-year U.S. yields climbed as much as 4 basis points after Raphael Bostic, the president of the Fed’s Atlanta branch, said the U.S. central bank could raise its benchmark rate by 50 basis points if a more aggressive approach to taming inflation is needed. 

That narrowed the gap with ten-year counterparts — which rose about half as much — to the least since October 2020. The last time the Fed delivered a half-point increase to borrowing costs was at the height of the dot-com bubble in 2000.

The repricing extended a move spurred last week, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell underscored the policy maker’s determination to put a lid on inflation. The market positioning may have been exacerbated by hedge funds that had been leaning the wrong way before Powell’s address.

Traders are currently betting the Fed will deliver 32 basis points of tightening in March, more than fully pricing an increase of a quarter-point. That puts the implied probability of a 50-basis-point increase at almost 30%. The odds of such a move in December were zero.

Consumer prices rose an annual 7% in December, the fastest pace in almost four decades. Powell left the door open to increasing rates at every meeting, and didn’t rule out the possibility of a 50-basis-point hike.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Bostic stuck to his call for three quarter-point interest rate increases in 2022, while saying that a more aggressive approach was possible if warranted by the economic data. Bostic is a non-voting member of the FOMC this year. 

Since the rapid growth in inflation was caused by a combination of too much Fed stimulus, too much fiscal stimulus and “green” energy policies, it is unclear whether an increase of 50 basis points will do much, particularly if Bostic’s own Atlanta Fed GDPNow forecast of 0.051% is accurate. Raising rates if the economy is slowing??

To be clear, Bostic and others are trying to signal The Fed’s intent well in advance to avoid a surprise knock-down of the stock market. Or a killing of the bull market.

Here is a video of Raphael Bostic leading The Fed Toreadors in the slaying of the bull market.

Crying Time! Atlanta Fed GDP Forecast TANKS To Near Zero (What Will The Fed Do With STAGFLATION??)

Well if the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecast is accurate, The Federal Reserve is going to have to think about its 5 upcoming rate cuts. Because its Crying Time for the Biden Administration.

Stagflation anyone?

This news will not be well received by Country Joe Biden.

Rave on, Joe!

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.