With about two weeks to go until the U.S. election, volatility gauges for stocks and bonds are on different paths. The Cboe Volatility Index — known as the equity market’s “fear gauge” — has been relatively subdued this month in contrast to the ICE BofA MOVE Index, the Treasury market’s equivalent measure.
JP Morgan’s Global Credit Volatility premium index has soared since June while gold’s 3m implied volatility is calm.
The Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF has leveled-out after rising from the Covid outbreak.
The US Dollar Swap forward rate has crashed with Covid and has laid flat ever since.
(A vanilla interest rate swap is an agreement between two counterparties to exchange cashflows (fixed vs floating) in the same currency. This agreement is often used by counterparties to change their fixed cashflows to floating or vice versa. The payments are made during the life of the swap in the frequency that is pre-established by the counterparties.)
This is a nightmare. A nightmare on Constitution Avenue.
(Bloomberg) — The U.S. budget deficit more than tripled to a record $3.1 trillion in the latest fiscal year on the government’s massive spending aimed at softening the blow from the coronavirus pandemic.
The increase brought the deficit as a share of gross domestic product to 16% in the year ending in September, the largest since 1945, a Treasury Department report showed Friday. At the end of the financial crisis in 2009, the ratio was close to 10% before slowly narrowing through 2015.
Investors have handed the government ultra-low borrowing costs to finance the spending, resulting in a 9% drop in federal interest payments during the year. But the national debt is now bigger than the size of the economy, and it could be almost double GDP by 2050 as an aging population places more demands on Social Security and Medicare, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The risk is that in the long term, rising debt could end up sparking inflation and repelling investors if the market becomes too saturated. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and other officials say eventually the debt trajectory will need to be addressed, but now isn’t the time to worry because unemployment remains high and the pandemic has crushed many businesses, warranting further support for the economy.
While the central bank cut the benchmark interest rate to near zero in March and expects to keep borrowing costs very low likely for years to come, lawmakers remain deadlocked over additional fiscal aid ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
The report showed federal spending jumped 47.3% to $6.55 trillion in fiscal 2020, driven by increased outlays for unemployment compensation and small businesses that were approved by President Donald Trump and Congress. Government revenue declined 1.2% as receipts from individual and corporate income taxes fell.
Underscoring the massive fiscal relief efforts this year, the Treasury’s report showed $275 billion in outlays for federal additional unemployment compensation that included the now-expired $600 supplemental weekly jobless payments. Spending for state unemployment benefits totaled nearly $196 billion in the fiscal year.
Spending on national defense went from the second-largest outlay in fiscal 2019 to fifth in 2020 as pandemic-induced spending resulted in larger spending for income security, health and Medicare.
As Congress and the Administration continue the spending splurge, what are the odds that spending (and borrowing) will decline after Covid recedes? Especially with declining money velocity and exploding public debt.
One question that is often asked if “Where Will Mortgage Rates Be In Three Years?”
Take a look at Freddie Mac’s 30Y mortgage survey rate (white line) and M2 Money Velocity (green line). And then overlay The Federal Reserve Balance Sheet, pushing down the benchmark 10Y Treasury Note yield. It is clear that mortgage rates aren’t going up anytime soon.
Look at home price growth and The Fed’s balance sheet. As the Fed began shrinking its balance sheet in 2018 and then the Case-Shiller home price index growth rate started falling … then recovered as The Fed threw more gas on the fire.
Gold? There is also a positive relation to The Fed’s balance sheet.
The Fed isn’t going until at least 2023. So, The Fed is here to stay, distorting markets and prices.
Oddly, there is an election in less than a month and no one is talking about the crashing US budget deficit (where government spending is greater than government receipts [taxes].
The US Federal Budget consists mostly of “mandatory” expenditures (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.). Discretionary spending is a much smaller amount.
Which budget it is growing the fastest? Medicare and Medicaid. Defense is a small fraction of healthcare spending.
Covid helped to drive the US budget deficit to -15.009 while M2 Money Velocity has collapsed to 1.0970 indicating that printing money to stimulate economic growth isn’t working. At the same time that Washington DC has lost its will to control their spending, gold prices has soared.
Note that gold prices soar when US budget deficits grow, then recede as budget deficits moderate. But the latest spike in budget deficits has led gold to all-time highs.