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Futures Slide On Stagflation Fears As 10Y Yields Spike

Futures Slide On Stagflation Fears As 10Y Yields Spike

US index futures dropped after IBM and Tesla fell after their quarterly results, with investors turned cautious awaiting more reports to see the see the adverse impact of supply chain…

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Futures Slide On Stagflation Fears As 10Y Yields Spike

US index futures dropped after IBM and Tesla fell after their quarterly results, with investors turned cautious awaiting more reports to see the see the adverse impact of supply chain disruption and labor shortages on companies even as jitters remained over elevated inflation and the outlook for China’s property sector. The dollar reversed an overnight drop, while Treasuries fell pushing the 10Y yield to a 5-month high of 1.68%. At 745 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 98 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 14 points, or 0.31%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 49.25 points, or 0.32%.

In the premarket, Tesla fell 1% in premarket trading as it said on Wednesday its upcoming factories and supply-chain headwinds would put pressure on its margins after it beat Wall Street expectations for third-quarter revenue. AT&T rose 1% in pre-market trading after exceeding Wall Street’s expectations for profit and wireless subscriber growth. PayPal Holdings also climbed as it explores a $45 billion acquisition of social media company Pinterest Inc., in what could be the biggest technology deal of the year. Dow gained 1.1% after it posted a more than a five-fold jump in third-quarter profit as economic recovery boosted prices for chemicals. IBM plunged 4.7% after it missed market estimates for quarterly revenue as its managed infrastructure business suffered from a decline in orders. Some other notable premarket movers:

  • Digital World Acquisition (DWAC US) surges 30% after the blank-check company agreed to merge with Trump Media & Technology. Former U.S. President Donald Trump says the new company plans to start a social media firm called Truth Social.
  • Denny’s (DENN US) rises 1.4% as the restaurant chain is upgraded to buy from hold at Truist Securities, which sees upside to 3Q estimates, partly due to expanding operating hours.
  • ESS Tech (GWH US) adds 4.6% as Piper Sandler says the stock offers a compelling entry point for investors seeking exposure to energy storage, initiating coverage at overweight.

As Bloomberg notes, corporate results have tempered but not dissipated worries that cost pressures could slow the pandemic recovery. Among S&P 500 companies that have disclosed results, 84% have posted earnings that topped expectations, a hair away from the best showing ever. Yet, the firms that surpassed profit forecasts got almost nothing to show for it in the market. And misses got punisheddearly, by the widest margin since Bloomberg started tracking the data in 2017.

European equities faded early losses but remain in small negative territory. Euro Stoxx 50 is 0.4% lower having dropped ~0.8% at the open. IBEX lags peers. Miners led a retreat in Europe’s Stocks 600 index, while industrial commodities including copper and iron ore reversed earlier gains; retail and banks were also among the weakest sectors.

Concerns about the inflationary impact of higher prices have risen in recent days, with everyone from Federal Reserve officials to Tesla weighing in on cost pressures. Unilever Plc pushed rising raw material costs onto consumers, increasing prices by the most in almost a decade. Meanwhile, Hermes International said sales surged last quarter, showing resilience compared to rival luxury-goods makers. European autos dropped after Volvo Group warned that the global semiconductor shortage and supply-chain challenges will continue to cap truckmaking.

Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Soitec shares gain as much as 7.3% in Paris, the stock’s best day since June, after reporting 2Q results and raising its full- year sales forecast.
  • BioMerieux shares rise as much as 5.9%. Sales in 3Q were well ahead of expectations on strong U.S. demand for BioFire respiratory panels, Jefferies (hold) writes in a note.
  • Randstad shares rise as much as 4.7%, the most intraday since Dec. 2020, with RBC (sector perform) saying the staffing firm’s 3Q earnings topped estimates.
  • Sodexo shares rise as much as 4.8% after activist investor Sachem Head took a stake in the French catering co., saying the investment is passive and that Sodexo is going “activist on itself.”
  • Zur Rose shares fall as much as 8.1% after the Swiss online pharmacy cut its growth guidance and posted 3Q sales that Jefferies says missed consensus expectations.
  • Nordic Semi shares drop as much as 7% before recovering some losses, after results; Mirabaud Securities says any weakness in the stock is a “great buying opportunity.”
  • Eurofins shares drop as much as 7.5%, the most in nearly a year, after the laboratory-testing company left its 2021 Ebitda and free cash flow guidance unchanged, which Morgan Stanley says implies a lower Ebitda margin versus previous guidance.
  • Bankinter shares fell as much as 6.6%, most intraday since December. Jefferies highlighted the weaker trend for the Spanish lender’s 3Q net interest income.

Earlier in the session, Asian equities fell in late-afternoon trading as investors sold Japanese and Hong Kong-listed tech shares, which helped trigger broader risk aversion among investors. Ailing China Evergrande Group sank on a worsening cash squeeze, while other developers rallied after regulators said their funding needs are being met. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.8%, with Japanese equities slumping by the most in over two weeks as the yen -- typically seen as a safe haven -- strengthened against the dollar, likely boosted by technical factors. Toyota Motor and Alibaba were the biggest drags on the regional benchmark as higher bond yields weighed on sentiment toward the tech sector. The story “shapes up to be worries about higher inflation and the follow-on policy response,” said Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. Bucking the downtrend were Chinese developers, which shrugged off China Evergrande Group’s scrapping of a divestment plan and climbed after regulators said risks in the real estate market are controllable and reasonable funding needs are being met.

China was one of the region’s top-performing equity markets.  Still, Asian stocks continue to feel pressure from higher U.S. bond yields as the 10-year rate surpassed 1.6%. In addition, earlier optimism about earnings is being muted by the outlook for inflation and supply-chain bottlenecks. Chinese growth, global supply constraints and inflation are “acting as a bit of a brake on markets,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy & chief economist at AMP Capital. However, with U.S. equities trading near a record high, investors are “a bit confused,” he said.

Japanese equities fell by the most in over two weeks, extending losses in afternoon trading as the yen strengthened against the dollar. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 1.3%, with all 33 industry groups in the red. Tokyo Electron and Fast Retailing were the largest contributors to a 1.9% loss in the Nikkei 225. S&P 500 futures and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index similarly extended drops. “There has been a general turn in equity market sentiment evident by the afternoon decline in U.S. equity futures and main regional equity indexes,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign-exchange strategist at National Australia Bank Ltd. “The reversal in risk-sensitive FX pairs like the AUD is reflecting this u-turn.” The Japanese currency gained 0.2% to 114.05 per U.S. dollar, while the Australian dollar weakened. The yen is still down 9.5% against the greenback this year, the worst among major currencies. Yen Faces Year-End Slump as U.S. Yield Premium Spikes With Oil The gain in the yen on Thursday probably followed technical indicators suggesting the currency was oversold and positioning seen as skewed, said Shusuke Yamada, head of Japan foreign exchange and rates strategy at Bank of America in Tokyo. The rally may be short-lived, as rising oil prices are expected to worsen Japan’s terms of trade, and monetary policies between Japan and overseas are likely to diverge further

In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an earlier loss to rise as much as 0.2% as the greenback advanced versus all its Group- of-10 peers apart from the yen; risk-sensitive currencies, led by the New Zealand dollar, were the worst performers. The pound weakened against the dollar and was little changed versus the euro into the European session. U.K. government borrowing came in significantly lower than official forecasts, but a surge in debt costs sent a warning to the government ahead of the budget next week. The U.K.’s green gilt may price today, subject to market conditions, after being delayed earlier this week. The Australian and New Zealand dollars reversed intraday gains on sales against the yen following losses in regional stock indexes. A kiwi bond auction attracted strong demand. The yen headed for a second session of gains as a selloff in Japanese equities fuels haven bids. Government bonds consolidated.

In rates, the Treasury curve flattened modestly as yields on shorter-dated notes inched up, while those on longer ones fell; the bund curve shifted as yields rose about 1bp across the curve. Yields were richer by less than 1bp across long-end of the curve, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by ~1bp each; 10-year yields rose to a 5 month high of 1.68%, outperforming bunds by 2bp and gilts by 4bp on the day. Long end USTs outperform, richening ~2bps versus both bunds and gilts. Peripheral spreads tighten slightly. U.S. breakevens are elevated ahead of $19b 5Y TIPS new issue auction at 1pm ET.

In commodities, oil slipped from 7 year highs, falling amid a broad-based retreat in industrial commodities, though trader focus was glued to a surging market structure as inventories decline in the U.S.; Oil’s refining renaissance is under threat from the natural gas crisis; American drivers will continue to face historically high fuel prices. WTI was lower by 0.5% to trade near $83 while Brent declined 0.8% before finding support near $85. Spot gold is range-bound near $1,785/oz. Base metals are mixed. LME nickel and copper are deep in the red while zinc gains 1.5%.  Bitcoin was volatile and dropped sharply after hitting an all time high just above $66,500.

Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the weekly initial jobless claims, existing home sales for September, the Conference Board’s leading index for September, and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook for October. Central bank speakers will include the Fed’s Waller and the ECB’s Visco, while the Central Bank of Turkey will be making its latest monetary policy decision. Otherwise, earnings releases include Intel, Danaher, AT&T and Union Pacific.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,515.25
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 469.02
  • MXAP down 0.7% to 199.61
  • MXAPJ down 0.4% to 659.34
  • Nikkei down 1.9% to 28,708.58
  • Topix down 1.3% to 2,000.81
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.5% to 26,017.53
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,594.78
  • Sensex down 1.1% to 60,560.47
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,415.37
  • Kospi down 0.2% to 3,007.33
  • Brent Futures down 1.0% to $84.98/bbl
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,785.09
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.11% to 93.67
  • German 10Y yield up 0.7 bps to -0.119%
  • Euro down 0.1% to $1.1639

Top Overnight News from Bloomberg

  • China Evergrande Group scrapped talks to offload a stake in its property-management arm and said real estate sales plunged about 97% during peak home-buying season, worsening its liquidity crisis on the eve of a dollar-bond deadline that could tip the company into default. Its shares plunged as much as 14% on Thursday.
  • China’s goods imports from the U.S. have only reached about 53% of the $200 billion worth of additional products and services it promised to buy under the trade deal signed last year, far behind its purchasing target.
  • Signs that policy makers are accelerating toward an interest-rate hike have traders fumbling around to figure out what that means for sterling. Money managers at Jupiter Asset Management and Aberdeen Asset Management turned neutral in recent days, following similar moves by Amundi SA and William Blair Investment Management.
  • The price on eight out of 10 bonds sold in the first three quarters of this year by European investment-grade borrowers fell after issuance, wiping almost 23.5 billion euros ($27.3 billion) from portfolios.
  • The Turkish lira is looking vulnerable as speculation grows that policy makers will cut interest rates again despite the deteriorating inflation outlook. Option traders see a more than 60% chance that the currency will weaken to an all-time-low of 9.50 per U.S. dollar over the next month, according to Bloomberg pricing. That’s the next key psychological threshold for a market trading largely in uncharted territory ahead of Thursday’s decision.

A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk

Asia-Pac indices traded somewhat mixed after the similar performance stateside where the broader market extended on gains in which the DJIA touched a fresh record high and the S&P 500 also briefly approached within 5 points of its all-time peak as attention remained on earnings, although the Nasdaq lagged with tech and duration-sensitive stocks pressured by higher longer-term yields. ASX 200 (+0.1%) was positive as Victoria state approaches the end of the lockdown at midnight and with the index led by outperformance in mining stocks and real estate. However, gains were capped amid weakness in energy as shares in Woodside Petroleum and Santos were pressured following their quarterly production results in which both posted a decline in output from a year ago, albeit with a jump in revenue due to the rampant energy prices, while Woodside also flagged a 27% drop in Wheatstone gas reserves. Nikkei 225 (-1.9%) felt the pressure from the pullback in USD/JPY and with focus shifting to upcoming elections whereby election consulting firm J.A.G Japan sees the LDP losing 40 seats but win enough to maintain a majority with a projected 236 seats at the 465-strong Lower House. Hang Seng (-0.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) were varied despite another respectable PBoC liquidity effort with the mood slightly clouded as Evergrande concerns persisted with Co. shares suffering double-digit percentage losses after it resumed trade for the first time in three weeks and after its deal to sell a stake in Evergrande Property Services fell through, while reports that Modern Land China cancelled its USD 250mln bond repayment plan on liquidity issues added to the ongoing default concerns although it was later reported that Evergrande secured a three-month extension on USD 260mln Jumbo Fortune bond which matured on October 3rd. Finally, 10yr JGBs traded flat with the underperformance in Japanese stocks helping government bonds overlook the pressure in global counterparts and continued losses in T-note futures following the weak 20yr auction stateside, although demand for JGBs was limited by the absence of BoJ purchases.

Top Asian News

  • China Vows to Keep Property Curbs, Evergrande Risk Seen Limited
  • Abu Dhabi Funds Hunt for Asian Unicorns Ahead of IPOs: ECM Watch
  • Biden’s Pick for China Envoy Draws Sharp Lines With Beijing
  • Carlyle, KKR Among Firms Said to Mull $2 Billion Tricor Bid

Bourses in Europe have held onto the downside bias seen since the cash open, but with losses less pronounced (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.4%; Stoxx 600 -0.2%) despite a distinct lack of news flow in the EU morning, and as Chinese property woes weighed on APAC markets, but with earnings seasons picking up globally. US equity futures are also softer with modest and broad-based losses ranging from 0.2-0.3%. Back to Europe, the Netherland’s AEX (+0.3%) outperforms as Unilever (+3.3%) also lifts the Personal & Household Goods sector (current outperformer) following its earnings, whereby underlying sales growth of +2.5%, as +4.1% price growth offset a -1.5% decline in volumes, whilst the group noted: "Cost inflation remains at strongly elevated levels, and this will continue into next year". The AEX is also lifted by Randstad (+4.5%) post earnings after underlying EBITDA topped forecasts. Sectors in Europe are mixed with a slight defensive bias. On the downside, there is clear underperformance in Basic Resources as base metals pull back, whilst Oil & Gas names similarly make their way down the ranks. In terms of individual movers. ABB (-5%) resides at the foot of the SMI (+0.2%) as the group sees revenue growth hampered by supply constraints. Nonetheless, flows into Food & Beverages supports heavy-weight Nestle (+1.0%) which in turn supports the Swiss index. Other earnings-related movers include Barclays (-0.4%), SAP (+1.5%), Carrefour (+1.5%), Nordea (-1.8%), and Swedbank (+2.7%).

Top European News

  • Volvo Warns More Chip Woes Ahead Will Curtail Truck Production
  • Hermes Advances After Dispelling Worries on China Demand
  • Stagflation Risk Still Means Quick Rate Hikes for Czech Banker
  • Weidmann Exit Could Pave Way for Bundesbank’s First Female Chief

In FX, the Dollar has regained some composure across the board amidst a downturn in broad risk sentiment, but also further retracement in US Treasuries from bull-flattening to bear-steepening in wake of an abject 20 year auction that hardly bodes well for the announcement of next week’s 2, 5 and 7 year issuance, or Usd 19 bn 5 year TIPS supply due later today. In index terms, a firmer base and platform around 94.500 appears to be forming between 93.494-701 parameters ahead of initial claims, the Philly Fed and more housing data as the focus switches to existing home sales, while latest Fed speak comes via Daly and Waller. However, the DXY and Greenback in general may encounter technical resistance as the former eyes upside chart levels at 93.884 (23.6% Fib of September’s move) and 93.917 (21 DMA), while a major basket component is also looking in better shape than it has been of late as the Yen reclaims more lost ground from Wednesday’s near 4 year lows to retest 114.00 in the run up to Japanese CPI tomorrow.

  • NZD/AUD/NOK - No real surprise to see the high beta Antipodeans bear the brunt of their US rival’s revival and the Kiwi unwind some of its post-NZ CPI outperformance irrespective of the nation’s FTA accord in principle with the UK, while the Aussie has also taken a deterioration in NAB quarterly business business confidence into consideration. Nzd/Usd is back below 0.7200 and Aud/Usd has retreated through 0.7500 after stalling just shy of 0.7550 before comments from RBA Governor Lowe and the flash PMIs. Elsewhere, the Norwegian Crown has largely shrugged off the latest Norges Bank lending survey showing steady demand for credit from households and non-financial institutions, but seems somewhat aggrieved by the pullback in Brent from just above Usd 86/brl to under Usd 85 at one stage given that Eur/Nok is hovering closer to the top of a 9.7325-9.6625 range.
  • EUR/CHF/GBP/CAD - All softer against their US counterpart, albeit to varying degrees as the Euro retains a relatively secure grip around 1.1650, the Franc straddles 0.9200, Pound pivots 1.3800 and Loonie tries to contain declines into 1.2350 having reversed from yesterday’s post-Canadian CPI peaks alongside WTI, with the spotlight turning towards retail sales on Friday after a passing glance at new housing prices.
  • SEK/EM - Some traction for the Swedish Krona in a tight band mostly sub-10.0000 vs the Euro from a fall in the nsa jobless rate, but the Turkish Lira seems jittery following a drop in consumer confidence and pre-CBRT as another 100 bp rate cut is widely expected, and the SA Rand is on a weaker footing ahead of a speech by the Energy Minister along with Eskom’s CEO. Meanwhile, the Cnh and Cnh have lost a bit more momentum against the backdrop of ongoing stress in China’s property market, and regardless of calls from the Commerce Ministry for the US and China to work together to create conditions for the implementation of the Phase One trade deal, or fees on interbank transactions relating to derivatives for SMEs being halved.

In commodities, WTI and Brent Dec futures have gradually drifted from the overnight session peaks of USD 83.96/bbl and USD 86.10/bbl respectively. The downturn in prices seems to have initially been a function of risk sentiment, with APAC markets posting losses and Europe also opening on the back foot. At the time of writing, the benchmark resides around under USD 83/bbl for the former and sub-USD 85/bbl for the latter. Participants at this point are on the lookout for state interventions in a bid to keep prices from running. Over in China, it’s worth keeping an eye on the COVID situation – with China's Beijing Daily stating "citizens and friends are not required to leave the country, do not gather, do not travel or travel to overseas and domestic medium- and high-risk areas", thus translating to lower activity. That being said, yesterday’s commentary from the Saudi Energy Minister indicated how adamant OPEC is to further open the taps. UBS sees Brent at USD 90/bbl in December and March, before levelling off to USD 85/bbl for the remainder of 2022 vs prev. USD 80/bbl across all timelines. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are relatively flat around USD 1,785 and USD 22.25 with nothing new nor interesting to report thus far, and with the precious metals moving in tandem with the Buck. Base metals meanwhile are softer across the board as global market risk remains cautious, with LME copper trading on either side of USD 10k/t.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Oct. Continuing Claims, est. 2.55m, prior 2.59m
  • 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 297,000, prior 293,000
  • 8:30am: Oct. Philadelphia Fed Business Outl, est. 25.0, prior 30.7
  • 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 51.2
  • 10am: Sept. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. 3.6%, prior -2.0%
  • 10am: Sept. Leading Index, est. 0.4%, prior 0.9%
  • 10am: Sept. Home Resales with Condos, est. 6.09m, prior 5.88m

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

I watched the first of the new series of Succession last night. I like this program as it makes me think I’ve got a totally normal and non-dysfunctional family. It’s a good benchmark to have.

There are few dysfunctional worries in equities at the moment as even with the pandemic moving back onto investors’ radars, the resurgence in risk appetite showed no sign of diminishing yesterday, with the S&P 500 (+0.37%) closing just a whisker below early September’s record high. It’s an impressive turnaround from where the narrative was just a few weeks ago, when the index had fallen by over -5% from its peak as concerns from Evergrande to a debt ceiling crunch set the agenda. But the removal of both risks from the immediate horizon along with another round of positive earnings reports have swept away those anxieties. And this has come even as investors have become increasingly sceptical about the transitory inflation narrative, as well as fresh signs that Covid-19 might be a serious issue once again this winter.

Starting with the good news, US equities led the way yesterday as a number of global indices closed in on their all-time highs. As mentioned the S&P 500 rallied to close just -0.02% beneath its record, which came as part of a broad-based advance that saw over 75% of the index move higher. Elsewhere, the Dow Jones (+0.43%) also closed just below its all-time high back in August. After the close, Tesla fell short of revenue estimates but beat on earnings, despite materials shortages and port backlogs that have prevented production from reaching full capacity, a common refrain by now. Overall 17 out of 23 S&P 500 companies beat expectations yesterday, meaning that the US Q3 season beat tally is now 67 out of 80. Meanwhile in Europe, equities similarly saw advances across the board, with the STOXX 600 (+0.32%) hitting its highest level in over a month, as it moved to just 1.2% beneath its record back in August.

For sovereign bonds it was a more mixed picture, with 10yr Treasury yields moving higher again as concerns about inflation continued to mount. By the close of trade, the 10yr yield had risen +2.0bps to 1.57%, which was driven by a +4.6bps increase in inflation breakevens to 2.60%, their highest level since 2012. That came as oil prices hit fresh multi-year highs after the US EIA reported that crude oil inventories were down -431k barrels, and gasoline inventories were down -5.37m barrels, which puts the level of gasoline inventories at their lowest since November 2019. That saw both WTI (+1.10%) and Brent crude (+0.87%) reverse their earlier losses, with WTI closing at a post-2014 high of $83.87/bbl, whilst Brent hit a post-2018 high of $85.82/bbl. Yields on 2yr Treasuries fell -1.0bps however, after Fed Vice Chair Quarles and President Mester joined Governor Waller in pushing back against the more aggressive path of Fed rate hikes that has recently been priced in. Even so however, money markets are still implying around 1.75 hikes in 2022, about one more hike than was priced a month ago. Separately in Europe, sovereign bonds posted a much stronger performance, with yields on 10yr bunds (-2.0bps), OATs (-2.6bps) and BTPs (-3.4bps) all moving lower.

Overnight in Asia stocks are trading higher this morning with the Shanghai Composite (+0.46%), CSI (+0.35%) and KOSPI (+0.23%) all advancing, whilst the Hang Seng (-0.20%) and the Nikkei (-0.45%) have been dragged lower by healthcare and IT respectively. Meanwhile Evergrande Group (-12.60%) fell sharply in Hong Kong after news that it ended talks on the sale of a majority stake in its property services division to Hopson Development. And we’ve also seen a second day of sharp moves lower in Chinese coal futures (-11.0%) as the government is mulling measures to curb speculation. And there have also been a number of fresh Covid cases in China, with 21 new cases reported yesterday, as the city of Lanzhou moved to shut down schools in response. Elsewhere in Asia, with just 10 days now until Japan’s general election, a poll by Kyodo News found that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party would likely maintain its parliamentary majority. Futures markets are indicating a slow start for markets in the US and Europe, with those on the S&P 500 (-0.09%) and the DAX (-0.05%) both pointing lower.

As we’ve been mentioning this week, the Covid-19 pandemic is increasingly returning onto the market radar, with the number of global cases having begun to tick up again. This has been reflected in a number of countries tightening up restrictions, and yesterday saw Russian President Putin approve a government proposal that October 31 to November 7 would be “non-working days”. In the Czech Republic, it was announced that mask-wearing would be compulsory in all indoor spaces from next week, and New York City moved to mandate all municipal workers to get vaccinated, with no alternative negative test result option now available. In Singapore, it was announced that virus restrictions would be extended for another month, which includes a limit on outdoor gatherings to 2 people and a default to work from home. Finally in the UK, the weekly average of cases has risen above 45k per day, up from just under 30k in mid-September. There is lots of talk about the need to put in place some additional restrictions but it feels we’re a fair way from that in terms of government-mandated ones.

From central banks, it was announced yesterday that Bundesbank president Weidmann would be stepping down on December 31, leaving his position after just over a decade. He said that he was leaving for personal reasons, and in his letter to the Bundesbank staff, said that “it will be crucial not to look one-sidedly at deflationary risks, but not to lose sight of prospective inflationary dangers either.” It’ll be up to the next government to decide on the new appointment.

Staying on Europe, our economists have just released an update to their GDP forecasts, with downgrades to their near-term expectations as supply shortages for goods and energy have created headwinds for the recovery. They now see 2021 growth at +4.9% (down -0.1pp from their previous forecast), whilst 2022 has been downgraded to 4.0% (-0.5pp). Alongside that, they’ve also included the latest oil and gas price movements into their inflation forecasts, and now project Euro Area 2022 HICP at 2.3%, although they don’t see this above-target inflation persisting, with their 2023 HICP forecast remaining unchanged at 1.5%. You can read the full note here.

Speaking of inflation, we had a couple of inflation releases yesterday, including the UK’s CPI data for September, which came in slightly beneath expectations at 3.1% (vs. 3.2% expected), whilst core CPI also fell to 2.9% vs. 3.0% expected). As we discussed earlier this week though, there was some downward pressure from base effects, since in September 2020 we had a recovery in restaurant and cafe prices after the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme in August ended, and that bounce back has now dropped out of the annual comparisons. UK inflation will rise a fair amount in the months ahead. Otherwise, we also had the CPI release from Canada for September, which rose to 4.4% (vs. 4.3% expected), which is its highest reading since February 2003.

Finally, bitcoin hit an all-time high, with the cryptocurrency up +2.92% to close at a record $65,996, which was slightly down from its intraday peak of $66,976. Bitcoin has surged over recent weeks, and as it stands it’s up +49.3% so far this month at time of writing, which would mark its strongest monthly performance so far this year. This latest move has occurred along with the first trading of options on Bitcoin-linked ETFs, which the US first listed the day prior.

To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the weekly initial jobless claims, existing home sales for September, the Conference Board’s leading index for September, and the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook for October. Central bank speakers will include the Fed’s Waller and the ECB’s Visco, while the Central Bank of Turkey will be making its latest monetary policy decision. Otherwise, earnings releases include Intel, Danaher, AT&T and Union Pacific.

Tyler Durden Thu, 10/21/2021 - 08:20

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Apartment permits are back to recession lows. Will mortgage rates follow?

If housing leads us into a recession in the near future, that means mortgage rates have stayed too high for too long.

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In Tuesday’s report, the 5-unit housing permits data hit the same levels we saw in the COVID-19 recession. Once the backlog of apartments is finished, those jobs will be at risk, which traditionally means mortgage rates would fall soon after, as they have in previous economic cycles.

However, this is happening while single-family permits are still rising as the rate of builder buy-downs and the backlog of single-family homes push single-family permits and starts higher. It is a tale of two markets — something I brought up on CNBC earlier this year to explain why this trend matters with housing starts data because the two marketplaces are heading in opposite directions.

The question is: Will the uptick in single-family permits keep mortgage rates higher than usual? As long as jobless claims stay low, the falling 5-unit apartment permit data might not lead to lower mortgage rates as it has in previous cycles.

From Census: Building Permits: Privately‐owned housing units authorized by building permits in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,518,000. This is 1.9 percent above the revised January rate of 1,489,000 and 2.4 percent above the February 2023 rate of 1,482,000.

When people say housing leads us in and out of a recession, it is a valid premise and that is why people carefully track housing permits. However, this housing cycle has been unique. Unfortunately, many people who have tracked this housing cycle are still stuck on 2008, believing that what happened during COVID-19 was rampant demand speculation that would lead to a massive supply of homes once home sales crashed. This would mean the builders couldn’t sell more new homes or have housing permits rise.

Housing permits, starts and new home sales were falling for a while, and in 2022, the data looked recessionary. However, new home sales were never near the 2005 peak, and the builders found a workable bottom in sales by paying down mortgage rates to boost demand. The first level of job loss recessionary data has been averted for now. Below is the chart of the building permits.



On the other hand, the apartment boom and bust has already happened. Permits are already back to the levels of the COVID-19 recession and have legs to move lower. Traditionally, when this data line gets this negative, a recession isn’t far off. But, as you can see in the chart below, there’s a big gap between the housing permit data for single-family and five units. Looking at this chart, the recession would only happen after single-family and 5-unit permits fall together, not when we have a gap like we see today.

From Census: Housing completions: Privately‐owned housing completions in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,729,000.

As we can see in the chart below, we had a solid month of housing completions. This was driven by 5-unit completions, which have been in the works for a while now. Also, this month’s report show a weather impact as progress in building was held up due to bad weather. However, the good news is that more supply of rental units will mean the fight against rent inflation will be positive as more supply is the best way to deal with inflation. In time, that is also good news for mortgage rates.



Housing Starts: Privately‐owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,521,000. This is 10.7 percent (±14.2 percent)* above the revised January estimate of 1,374,000 and is 5.9 percent (±10.0 percent)* above the February 2023 rate of 1,436,000.

Housing starts data beat to the upside, but the real story is that the marketplace has diverged into two different directions. The apartment boom is over and permits are heading below the COVID-19 recession, but as long as the builders can keep rates low enough to sell more new homes, single-family permits and starts can slowly move forward.

If we lose the single-family marketplace, expect the chart below to look like it always does before a recession — meaning residential construction workers lose their jobs. For now, the apartment construction workers are at the most risk once they finish the backlog of apartments under construction.

Overall, the housing starts beat to the upside. Still, the report’s internals show a marketplace with early recessionary data lines, which traditionally mean mortgage rates should go lower soon. If housing leads us into a recession in the near future, that means mortgage rates have stayed too high for too long and restrictive policy by the Fed created a recession as we have seen in previous economic cycles.

The builders have been paying down rates to keep construction workers employed, but if rates go higher, it will get more and more challenging to do this because not all builders have the capacity to buy down rates. Last year, we saw what 8% mortgage rates did to new home sales; they dropped before rates fell. So, this is something to keep track of, especially with a critical Federal Reserve meeting this week.

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Young People Aren’t Nearly Angry Enough About Government Debt

Young People Aren’t Nearly Angry Enough About Government Debt

Authored by The American Institute for Economic Research,

Young people sometimes…

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Young People Aren't Nearly Angry Enough About Government Debt

Authored by The American Institute for Economic Research,

Young people sometimes seem to wake up in the morning in search of something to be outraged about. We are among the wealthiest and most educated humans in history. But we’re increasingly convinced that we’re worse off than our parents were, that the planet is in crisis, and that it’s probably not worth having kids.

I’ll generalize here about my own cohort (people born after 1981 but before 2010), commonly referred to as Millennials and Gen Z, as that shorthand corresponds to survey and demographic data. Millennials and Gen Z have valid economic complaints, and the conditions of our young adulthood perceptibly weakened traditional bridges to economic independence. We graduated with record amounts of student debt after President Obama nationalized that lending. Housing prices doubled during our household formation years due to zoning impediments and chronic underbuilding. Young Americans say economic issues are important to us, and candidates are courting our votes by promising student debt relief and cheaper housing (which they will never be able to deliver).

Young people, in our idealism and our rational ignorance of the actual appropriations process, typically support more government intervention, more spending programs, and more of every other burden that has landed us in such untenable economic circumstances to begin with. Perhaps not coincidentally, young people who’ve spent the most years in the increasingly partisan bubble of higher education are also the most likely to favor expanded government programs as a “solution” to those complaints.

It’s Your Debt, Boomer 

What most young people don’t yet understand is that we are sacrificing our young adulthood and our financial security to pay for debts run up by Baby Boomers. Part of every Millennial and Gen-Z paycheck is payable to people the same age as the members of Congress currently milking this system and miring us further in debt.

Our government spends more than it can extract from taxpayers. Social Security, which represents 20 percent of government spending, has run an annual deficit for 15 years. Last year Social Security alone overspent by $22.1 billion. To keep sending out checks to retirees, Social Security goes begging to the Treasury Department, and the Treasury borrows from the public by issuing bonds. Bonds allow investors (who are often also taxpayers) to pay for some retirees’ benefits now, and be paid back later. But investors only volunteer to lend Social Security the money it needs to cover its bills because the (younger) taxpayers will eventually repay the debt — with interest.

In other words, both Social Security and Medicare, along with various smaller federal entitlement programs, together comprising almost half of the federal budget, have been operating for a decade on the principle of “give us the money now, and stick the next generation with the check.” We saddle future generations with debt for present-day consumption.

The second largest item in the budget after Social Security is interest on the national debt — largely on Social Security and other entitlements that have already been spent. These mandatory benefits now consume three quarters of the federal budget: even Congress is not answerable for these programs. We never had the chance for our votes to impact that spending (not that older generations were much better represented) and it’s unclear if we ever will.

Young Americans probably don’t think much about the budget deficit (each year’s overspending) or the national debt (many years’ deficits put together, plus interest) much at all. And why should we? For our entire political memory, the federal government, as well as most of our state governments, have been steadily piling “public” debt upon our individual and collective heads. That’s just how it is. We are the frogs trying to make our way in the watery world as the temperature ticks imperceptibly higher. We have been swimming in debt forever, unaware that we’re being economically boiled alive.

Millennials have somewhat modest non-mortgage debt of around $27,000 (some self-reports say twice that much), including car notes, student loans, and credit cards. But we each owe more than $100,000 as a share of the national debt. And we don’t even know it.

When Millennials finally do have babies (and we are!) that infant born in 2024 will enter the world with a newly minted Social Security Number and $78,089 credit card bill for Granddad’s heart surgery and the interest on a benefit check that was mailed when her parents were in middle school. 

Headlines and comments sections love to sneer at “snowflakes” who’ve just hit the “real world,” and can’t figure out how to make ends meet, but the kids are onto something. A full 15 percent of our earnings are confiscated to pay into retirement and healthcare programs that will be insolvent by the time we’re old enough to enjoy them. The Federal Reserve and government debt are eating the economy. The same interest rates that are pushing mortgages out of reach are driving up the cost of interest to maintain the debt going forward. As we learn to save and invest, our dollars are slowly devalued. We’re right to feel trapped.  

Sure, if we’re alive and own a smartphone, we’re among the one percent of the wealthiest humans who’ve ever lived. Older generations could argue (persuasively!) that we have no idea what “poverty” is anymore. But with the state of government spending and debt…we are likely to find out. 

Despite being richer than Rockefeller, Millennials are right to say that the previous ways of building income security have been pushed out of reach. Our earning years are subsidizing not our own economic coming-of-age, but bank bailouts, wars abroad, and retirement and medical benefits for people who navigated a less-challenging wealth-building landscape. 

Redistribution goes both ways. Boomers are expected to pass on tens of trillions in unprecedented wealth to their children (if it isn’t eaten up by medical costs, despite heavy federal subsidies) and older generations’ financial support of the younger has had palpable lifting effects. Half of college costs are paid by families, and the trope of young people moving back home is only possible if mom and dad have the spare room and groceries to make that feasible.

Government “help” during COVID-19 resulted in the worst inflation in 40 years, as the federal government spent $42,000 per citizen on “stimulus” efforts, right around a Millennial’s average salary at that time. An absurd amount of fraud was perpetrated in the stimulus to save an economy from the lockdown that nearly ruined itTrillions in earmarked goodies were rubber stamped, carelessly added to young people’s growing bill. Government lenders deliberately removed fraud controls, fearing they couldn’t hand out $800 billion in young people’s future wages away fast enough. Important lessons were taught by those programs. The importance of self-sufficiency and the dignity of hard work weren’t top of the list.

Boomer Benefits are Stagnating Hiring, Wages, and Investment for Young People

Even if our workplace engagement suffered under government distortions, Millennials continue to work more hours than other generations and invest in side hustles and self employment at higher rates. Working hard and winning higher wages almost doesn’t matter, though, when our purchasing power is eaten from the other side. Buying power has dropped 20 percent in just five years. Life is $11,400/year more expensive than it was two years ago and deficit spending is the reason why

We’re having trouble getting hired for what we’re worth, because it costs employers 30 percent more than just our wages to employ us. The federal tax code both requires and incentivizes our employers to transfer a bunch of what we earned directly to insurance companies and those same Boomer-busted federal benefits, via tax-deductible benefits and payroll taxes. And the regulatory compliance costs of ravenous bureaucratic state. The price paid by each employer to keep each employee continues to rise — but Congress says your boss has to give most of the increase to someone other than you. 

Federal spending programs that many people consider good government, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance for children (CHIP) aren’t a small amount of the federal budget. Government spends on these programs because people support and demand them, and because cutting those benefits would be a re-election death sentence. That’s why they call cutting Social Security the “third rail of politics.” If you touch those benefits, you die. Congress is held hostage by Baby Boomers who are running up the bill with no sign of slowing down. 

Young people generally support Social Security and the public health insurance programs, even though a 2021 poll by Nationwide Financial found 47 percent of Millennials agree with the statement “I will not get a dime of the Social Security benefits I have earned.”

In the same survey, Millennials were the most likely of any generation to believe that Social Security benefits should be enough to live on as a sole income, and guessed the retirement age was 52 (it’s 67 for anyone born after 1959 — and that’s likely to rise). Young people are the most likely to see government guarantees as a valid way to live — even though we seem to understand that those promises aren’t guarantees at all.

Healthcare costs tied to an aging population and wonderful-but-expensive growth in medical technologies and medications will balloon over the next few years, and so will the deficits in Boomer benefit programs. Newly developed obesity drugs alone are expected to add $13.6 billion to Medicare spending. By 2030, every single Baby Boomer will be 65, eligible for publicly funded healthcare.

The first Millennial will be eligible to claim Medicare (assuming the program exists and the qualifying age is still 65, both of which are improbable) in 2046. As it happens, that’s also the year that the Boomer benefits programs (which will then be bloated with Gen Xers) and the interest payments we’re incurring to provide those benefits now, are projected to consume 100 percent of federal tax revenue.

Government spending is being transferred to bureaucrats and then to the beneficiaries of government spending who are, in some sense, your diabetic grandma who needs a Medicare-paid dialysis treatment, but in a much more immediate sense, are the insurance companiespharma giants, and hospital corporations who wrote the healthcare legislation. Some percentage of every college graduate’s paycheck buys bullets that get fired at nothing and inflating the private investment portfolios of government contractors, with dubious, wasteful outcomes from the prison-industrial complex to the perpetual war machine.

No bank or nation in the world can lend the kind of money the American government needs to borrow to fulfill its obligations to citizens. Someone will have to bite the bullet. Even some of the co-authors of the current disaster are wrestling with the truth. 

Forget avocado toast and streaming subscriptions. We’re already sensing it, but we haven’t yet seen it. Young people are not well-informed, and often actively misled, about what’s rotten in this economic system. But we are seeing the consequences on store shelves and mortgage contracts and we can sense disaster is coming. We’re about to get stuck with the bill.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/19/2024 - 20:20

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Spread & Containment

There Goes The Fed’s Inflation Target: Goldman Sees Terminal Rate 100bps Higher At 3.5%

There Goes The Fed’s Inflation Target: Goldman Sees Terminal Rate 100bps Higher At 3.5%

Two years ago, we first said that it’s only a matter…

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There Goes The Fed's Inflation Target: Goldman Sees Terminal Rate 100bps Higher At 3.5%

Two years ago, we first said that it's only a matter of time before the Fed admits it is unable to rsolve the so-called "last mile" of inflation and that as a result, the old inflation target of 2% is no longer viable.

Then one year ago, we correctly said that while everyone was paying attention elsewhere, the inflation target had already been hiked to 2.8%... on the way to even more increases.

And while the Fed still pretends it can one day lower inflation to 2% even as it prepares to cut rates as soon as June, moments ago Goldman published a note from its economics team which had to balls to finally call a spade a spade, and concluded that - as party of the Fed's next big debate, i.e., rethinking the Neutral rate - both the neutral and terminal rate, a polite euphemism for the inflation target, are much higher than conventional wisdom believes, and that as a result Goldman is "penciling in a terminal rate of 3.25-3.5% this cycle, 100bp above the peak reached last cycle."

There is more in the full Goldman note, but below we excerpt the key fragments:

We argued last cycle that the long-run neutral rate was not as low as widely thought, perhaps closer to 3-3.5% in nominal terms than to 2-2.5%. We have also argued this cycle that the short-run neutral rate could be higher still because the fiscal deficit is much larger than usual—in fact, estimates of the elasticity of the neutral rate to the deficit suggest that the wider deficit might boost the short-term neutral rate by 1-1.5%. Fed economists have also offered another reason why the short-term neutral rate might be elevated, namely that broad financial conditions have not tightened commensurately with the rise in the funds rate, limiting transmission to the economy.

Over the coming year, Fed officials are likely to debate whether the neutral rate is still as low as they assumed last cycle and as the dot plot implies....

...Translation: raising the neutral rate estimate is also the first step to admitting that the traditional 2% inflation target is higher than previously expected. And once the Fed officially crosses that particular Rubicon, all bets are off.

... Their thinking is likely to be influenced by distant forward market rates, which have risen 1-2pp since the pre-pandemic years to about 4%; by model-based estimates of neutral, whose earlier real-time values have been revised up by roughly 0.5pp on average to about 3.5% nominal and whose latest values are little changed; and by their perception of how well the economy is performing at the current level of the funds rate.

The bank's conclusion:

We expect Fed officials to raise their estimates of neutral over time both by raising their long-run neutral rate dots somewhat and by concluding that short-run neutral is currently higher than long-run neutral. While we are fairly confident that Fed officials will not be comfortable leaving the funds rate above 5% indefinitely once inflation approaches 2% and that they will not go all the way back to 2.5% purely in the name of normalization, we are quite uncertain about where in between they will ultimately land.

Because the economy is not sensitive enough to small changes in the funds rate to make it glaringly obvious when neutral has been reached, the terminal or equilibrium rate where the FOMC decides to leave the funds rate is partly a matter of the true neutral rate and partly a matter of the perceived neutral rate. For now, we are penciling in a terminal rate of 3.25-3.5% this cycle, 100bps above the peak reached last cycle. This reflects both our view that neutral is higher than Fed officials think and our expectation that their thinking will evolve.

Not that this should come as a surprise: as a reminder, with the US now $35.5 trillion in debt and rising by $1 trillion every 100 days, we are fast approaching the Minsky Moment, which means the US has just a handful of options left: losing the reserve currency status, QEing the deficit and every new dollar in debt, or - the only viable alternative - inflating it all away. The only question we had before is when do "serious" economists make the same admission.

They now have.

And while we have discussed the staggering consequences of raising the inflation target by just 1% from 2% to 3% on everything from markets, to economic growth (instead of doubling every 35 years at 2% inflation target, prices would double every 23 years at 3%), and social cohesion, we will soon rerun the analysis again as the implications are profound. For now all you need to know is that with the US about to implicitly hit the overdrive of dollar devaluation, anything that is non-fiat will be much more preferable over fiat alternatives.

Much more in the full Goldman note available to pro subs in the usual place.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/19/2024 - 15:45

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