Global Supply Of Negative Yield Bonds Hits $10 TRILLION (Europe’s Sweet 16 Of Negative Yielding Sovereign Debt)

To listen to some talking heads, everything is beautiful.

But according to the bond market, everything is not beautiful. In fact, there is concern about global economic growth and financial fragility.

There is now $10 trillion in negative yielding bonds in the global economy.

negyield

And in Europe, there are 16 nations with negatiive 2-year sovereign yields, including Germany and France.

sweet16

Notice that the short-end of the yield curves in Europe and Japan are negative.

globalyielf

People get ready for negative Central Bank rates in the USA!

Fixing The Holes? G-SIB House Hearing For CEOs Of Citi, Wells, BofA, Goldman, MS, JPMC, Etc. But Where Are Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac?

Today’s hearing in the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee (where the committee calls Globally-Systemically Important Bank (G-SIB) CEOs to testify and ask them uncomfortable questions).

But today’s hearing should have been extended to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that unquestionably qualify as Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs), both under the statutory and FSOC definitions, and in any objective assessment of their financial importance. Are they G-SIBs? Of course.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are supposed to maintain capital. Congress, in enacting the Safety and Soundness Act in 1992, established minimum capital requirements for the Enterprises and those standards have been in place for the past 25+ years. That Act requires the Enterprises to maintain minimum capital that is greater than or equal to:

  • 2.5 percent of on-balance sheet assets, which include mortgage-backed securities (MBS), mortgage loans, and other investments the Enterprises hold in their respective investment portfolios;
  • 0.45 percent of the unpaid principal balance of outstanding MBS not included in on- balance sheet assets, which include MBS the Enterprises issue and guarantee, but do not own and hold in their investment portfolios; and
  • 0.45 percent of “other off-balance sheet obligations.”

Well, the required capital for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac clearly did not protect their shareholders from a catastrophic failure in 2008 due to declining home prices and a surge in mortgage delinquencies.

ffhp

In fairness, Fannie and Freddie are not depository institutions. But the sheer size of their loan portolios is worrisome.

fnmaloans

freddietrotaloans

Whether you want to call Fannie and Freddie SIFIs or G-SIBs, they should have been called to testify as well.

Regulation of G-SIBs

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, all depository institutions with more than $10 billion in assets, including the U.S. G-SIBs, are supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for compliance with consumer financial protection laws and regulations. Furthermore, the Dodd-Frank Act subjects the largest banks, including the U.S. G-SIBs, to heightened oversight and enhanced prudential standards to safeguard the U.S. financial system, which are implemented by the Federal Reserve. These requirements include enhanced capital, liquidity and leverage requirements, as well as regular stress testing to ensure banks hold enough capital to survive a future economic downturn or financial crisis. The G-SIBs are also required to submit resolution plans (also referred to as “living wills”) to ensure their firms can be resolved in an orderly way if they were to fail.

There have been several deregulatory developments and proposals in recent years. For example, S.2155, which was signed into law in May 2018 (Public Law 115-174), reduces the frequency of G-SIB stress tests, and it reduces other capital and leverage requirements. In addition, regulators have been advancing their own proposals. In April 2018, the Federal Reserve issued a set of proposals to simplify its capital rules for G-SIBs and introduced a “stress capital buffer,” or SCB, which would in part integrate the forward-looking stress test results with the Board’s non-stress capital requirements. The Federal Reserve joined the OCC in releasing a second proposal to substantially revise the current enhanced supplementary leverage ratio (eSLR) that applies to G-SIBs. After the proposal was released, former FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said, “Strengthening leverage capital requirements for the largest, most systemically important banks in the United States was among the most important post crisis reforms…the amount of tier 1 capital required under the proposed eSLR standard across the lead IDI subsidiaries would be approximately $121 billion less than what is required under the current eSLR standard to be considered well-capitalized” (emphasis added). In response to a request from Committee staff for more information, the FDIC estimated the eSLR proposal would lower capital requirements for the primary federally-insured bank subsidiary of each G-SIB as follows:

● JPMorgan Chase & Co.: $34.597 billion (20.83% reduction in tier 1 capital) ● Citigroup: $26.978 billion (23.3% reduction)
● Bank of America: $22.838 billion (18.5% reduction)
● Wells Fargo: $20.406 billion (16.9% reduction)
● Bank of New York Mellon: $5.911 billion (33.65% reduction)

● State Street: $5.346 billion (37.5% reduction)
● Morgan Stanley: $2.507 billion (25% reduction)
● Goldman Sachs: $1.93 billion (9.49% reduction)

Despite proposing to reduce capital for the G-SIBs, the Federal Reserve’s own research has indicated current capital requirements are on the lower end of requirements that best balances benefits associated with mitigating systemic risk with a bank’s funding costs. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve has also been working on making stress testing more transparent to banks, potentially undermining the value of the regular exercise. Bank regulators have also proposed reducing enhanced prudential standards and liquidity requirements for banks as large as $700 billion, and there have been reports that regulators may reconsider their proposal on the Volcker Rule and propose further rollbacks of Dodd-Frank reforms.

Finally, while the Dodd-Frank Act and related reforms required additional capital and strengthened oversight of G-SIBs through the creation of the Consumer Bureau, there remain concerns regarding whether some of these institutions are adequately being held accountable for repeated consumer violations, and whether these firms may be too big to manage, as was discussed at the Committee’s hearing on March 12, 2019, with Wells Fargo’s former CEO, Tim Sloan.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s regulator is proposing that the mortgage-finance giants have a combined capital buffer of as much as $180.9 billion should the companies be released from government control.

I would really like to hear what new-minted FHFA Director Mark Calabria has to say on capital requirements and administrative reform.  And turning Fannie and Freddie loose again in the financial system.

Hopefully Calabria will be fixing the holes in the mortgage system.

 

Refi Inferno? Residential Mortgage Refinancing Applications Jump 38.50% WoW As Mortgage Rate Decline To 4.06%

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, residential mortgage refinancings shot up 38.50% from the previous week.

mortgagestt

Here is the chart of mortgage refinancing applications with the mortgage rate drop to 4.06%.

mbarefi

Mortgage purchase applications were more modest at +4.06% WoW despite the rapid decline in mortgage rates.

mbap

30-year mortgage rates have been falling thanks to deterorating conditions in the EU.

Is this a refi inferno?  Or is it just a slight increase? Call it a relative inferno!

ltrefi

 

 

Mortgage Investors Cool on Swaps as Rush for Duration Ends

Investors in mortgage-backed securities are cooling on swaps used to hedge against falling interest rates, signaling confidence that yields may have found their bottom.

The 10-year swap spread has backed off from the tightest level since October 2017, reached last week. The U.S. Treasury 10-year yield had touched a 15-month low of 2.37 percent on March 27.

durationswap

A U.S. homeowner may prepay their mortgage at will, and the duration of a mortgage-backed security can drop dramatically during periods of falling yields due to the potential for faster prepayments. This means MBS investors need to add duration, referred to as “convexity hedging,” as interest rates drop.

A popular method to add duration is by using swaps and “the 10-year is still the most liquid swap for mortgage hedgers,” said Walt Schmidt, head of mortgage strategies at FTN Financial. Now that the 10-year yield has risen again to the 2.50 percent area, swap spreads are back close to where they lay previous to the rally and “the wave of convexity hedging is likely over for now,” he said.

dooration
Duration:  the weighted average maturity of the security’s cash flows, where the present values of the cash flow serve as the weights. The greater the duration of a security, the greater its percentage price volatility.

The Overnight Indexed Swap (OIS) looks like an ARCTANGENT function.

oiscurve.png

Slippin’ Jimmy took this photo of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s chair.

 thurstonpowellII.jpg

Thinner! San Francisco Home Price Futures Indicate Further Price Declines (But Futures Volume Is Razor THIN)

When the US housing bubble was in full steam, I was working with a major insurance company on a way to hedge home price risk in major metropolitan areas. Their risk committee thought housing was too risky (hence the reason for trying to hedge the risk). But to no avail.

csfut

The problem with housing futures is … there is very thin volume in trading. Exactly one contract trade on March 12, 2019 at. 261.2.

sanfurthin

Aggregate open interest is a minuscule 20.

ope

This contracts with the SOFR futures with substantially larger open interest.

sofrfutuew.png

Based on thin depth of trading, the trend line for San Francisco futures is downward sloping. And LAGGING the Case-Shiller home price index.

sfbets

If we look at the CFTC CBOE, CME futures activity, home price indices are so thin that don’t show up.

cftclong

Home price futures are thinner than other futures contracts, hence one must be careful.

THINNER_STILL_1195-e1482984508444

 

S&P 500 e-mini Futures On The Rise Again As China Signals Growth (UST 10Y-3M Curve Turns Positive Again!)

China signalled positive manufacturing growth and the market react positvely.
(Bloomberg) — Stocks strengthened worldwide as strong manufacturing data out of the world’s second largest economy (China) helped ease investor worries about a slowdown in global growth. Treasuries extended losses after as a gauge of U.S. factories topped estimates in March.
chinapce
The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq were all in the green. Shares of Lyft dropped below its IPO price as analysts noted there is limited visibility into the company’s path to growth and profitability. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed on the heels of its best quarter in four years after key China manufacturing PMIs for March beat the highest estimate in Bloomberg surveys of economists. That’s despite manufacturing data for Europe coming in at the lowest since 2013, which briefly caused the euro to pare some of its gains.
E-mini S&P 500 futures are on the rise … again!
 

china

And the 10 year – 3 month yield curve turned positive!

103yc

 

Remain Calm! VIX-MOVE Spread Separates As Fed Rate Cut Predicted

Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of financial markets!

The S&P 500 Cboe Volatility (Equity) index versus the Merrill Lynch 1-month Treasury bill index (MOVE) show a further separation.

vixvmove

This comes as the WIRP Estimated Number of Moves Priced in for the US (Futures Model) is indicating one rate cut coming up (although Trump’s economist Larry Kudlow wants 50 points in cuts as does Trump’s nominee for The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Stephen Moore.

Rateciuts

Despite Kudlow and Moore touting 50 basis point cuts (and a slowing advanced retail spending report for February) …

retailsalesslowdown

Remain calm .. all is well!

 

Liquifying The S&P 500! Central Bank Money Printing Sends S&P 500 Skyrocketing

So much for market discipline.  In fact, central bank intervention kills-off market discipline, a vital component of free markets.

However central banks are not concerned with market discipline. They are concerned with perpetuating asset bubbles.

gmssp500

t2

 

Low (Rate) Rider! New Home Sales Increase As Mortgage Rates Drop To 4.06% (Core Inflation Drops To 1.4% YoY As Well)

The 30-year mortgage rate is dropping fast and the housing data is low riding on the rate decline.

freddiecom

And with the drop, both new home sales and existing home sales are enjoying a revival.

nhsehsrates.png

The Core PCE and Core PCE deflator YoY (aka, core inflation) are both declining. The deflator is actually down to 1.4% YoY.

corepec

Slowing! US Pending Home Sales Fall 5% YoY In February As Inventory Remains Low (Fed Rate CUT At 72% In 2019)

The US housing market is slowing and The Federal Reserve is likely to CUT interest rates in 2019 (at least the market is betting on it).

(Bloomberg) — Contract signings to purchase previously owned U.S. homes fell more than estimated in February, suggesting that the prior month’s surge resulted from pent-up demand and that a sustainable recovery may take more time.

The index of pending home sales fell 1 percent from the prior month, after a downwardly revised 4.3 percent increase in January, according to data released Thursday from the National Association of Realtors in Washington. The gauge fell 5 percent from a year earlier following a 3.3 percent annual decline.

And pending home sales fell 5% YoY in February,

phsyoy

Not only are pending home sales YoY slowing, but so is home price growth.

slowing

Existing home sales inventory is down considerably from 2007.

ehsinv

At least interest rates are likely to be cut by The Fed in 2019.

ratecutyikes