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Wolf Richter

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On his site WOLFSTREET.com, Wolf Richter slices into economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and China. He lives in San Francisco.

Wolf Street - Seattle house prices fall year-over-year. New York condos drop to Aug 2017 level. San Francisco Bay Area near-flat. Los Angeles, Denver, Boston reach new highs. Las Vegas, Phoenix dream of crazy Housing Bubble 1. Miami stalls “Prices are cooling, and Western states are starting to see the dip,” said CoreLogic in a statement when it […]

Wolf Street - Vancouver sags. Calgary, Edmonton down from many years ago. Toronto rises but below 2017 peak. Montreal, Ottawa at new highs. July is seasonally a strong month in the Canadian housing market, as tracked by the Teranet–National Bank National House Price Index. Over the past 21 years, the composite index for the metros has risen on […]

Wolf Street - But these are the good times. Automakers are not amused. The auto industry depends on subprime-rated customers that make up over 21% of total auto-loan originations. Without these customers, the wheels would come off the industry. And tightening up lending standards to reduce risks would cause serious damage to the undercarriage. Subprime lending is very […]

Wolf Street - The bifurcation among consumers. Consumer credit – auto loans, student loans, and revolving credit such as credit card balances and personal loans, but not housing-related debt such as mortgages and HELOCs – grew 5.4%, or by $208 billion, in the second quarter compared to a year ago, to a new record of $4.06 trillion (not […]

Wolf Street - Order backlog still feeds truck makers, but they don’t disclose for how long. Orders for Class 8 trucks – the iconic trucks that haul part of the economy’s goods across the country – collapsed by 81% in July compared to July last year, to 9,800 units, the lowest since 2010, according to FTR Transportation Intelligence […]

Wolf Street - “For developers and agents in most parts of the country who rely on foreign buyers, there is really no alternative to buyers from China”: CEO of Juwei.com The puzzle in the US housing market was this: Mortgage rates have dropped since November, and as expected mortgage applications to buy homes have surged, and this was […]

Wolf Street - But it’s curing a housing crisis where middle-class households are priced out of a market, inflated by rampant international speculation and large-scale money laundering, says BC’s Finance Minister. In the City of Vancouver, BC, Canada, condo sales in June plunged 28% from the already weak June last year to just 343 units. Inventory for sale […]

Wolf Street - Where is the Fed’s “U-Turn” that Wall Street promised us? In June, the Fed shed Treasury securities at the slower pace announced in its new plan for QT, but it dumped Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) at the fastest rate since the QE unwind started, breaching its “up to” cap for the first time. And it […]

Wolf Street - Not a rate-cut economy. The inflation index that the Fed has anointed to be the yardstick for its inflation target – the PCE price index without the volatile food and energy components – rose 0.19% in May from April, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis this morning. This increase in “core PCE” was near […]

Wolf Street - Vancouver housing bubble sags. Toronto down 3.4% from peak. Calgary and Edmonton back to 2007. Montreal sets new record. National index ticks up the least for any May in 21 years of data. Home prices across major metros in Canada ticked up 0.5% in May from the prior month, the slowest rise for any May […]

Wolf Street - This, despite still ultra-low interest rates and the highest disposable income ever. Canadian households are known around the world for their uncanny ability to pile on debt. And American debt slaves, who’d gotten trampled during the Great Recession, turn out to be lackadaisical these days in comparison. The share of disposable income (total incomes from […]

Wolf Street - The Chart of Carmageddon. Prices of used vehicle that were sold in May at wholesale auctions rose 4.0% compared to May last year, according to Manheim, the largest auto-auction house in the US, running about 8 million vehicles through its venues a year. The chart of the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, which is adjusted […]

Wolf Street - Ecommerce is drawing up new battle lines – in the transportation sector. Amazon is aggressively butting in on freight carriers with its own planes, trucks, and delivery infrastructure, and is at the same time aggressively pushing for faster and cheaper service from freight carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and the US Postal Service. And FedEx […]

Wolf Street - The economy is in a “very good place,” says Trump’s man at the Fed. And the Fed’s favorite inflation measure ticks up. The Fed’s message has been that it may consider cutting rates if the economy deteriorates, or if inflation falls further, but the economy is currently in a “very good place,” it says. And […]

Wolf Street - Impact felt by the real economy and the most vulnerable consumers. In the first quarter, the credit-card “charge-off” rate at the 4,650 or so smaller US commercial banks – all banks other than the largest 100 banks – ticked down to 7.37%, the sixth quarter in a row above 7%. During the peak of the […]

Wolf Street - Finance & Insurance, Which Dominates the US Economy, Has Blistering Q1. Huge Services Sector Not Yet Hit by Slowdown in Goods. Revenues in private-sector services in the US rose 5.6% in the first quarter of 2019, compared to a year ago, to $3.94 trillion, according to the Commerce Department’s Advance Quarterly Selected Services Report released […]

Wolf Street - “It is their interaction with froth that matters most. How much a housing market adjusts depends on how much froth there is”: Poloz Across Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, sales of all types of homes so far this year through April plunged to 6,212 homes, the lowest count since 1986, as the market is freezing up. […]

Wolf Street - House prices set post-collapse record in Miami, flatten out in Las Vegas, Phoenix & once red-hot Charlotte, linger below Oct 2018 levels in Washington, DC & Chicago. Cincinnati & Detroit in a show of their own. On one side, there are “The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America” – the San Francisco Bay Area, the […]

Wolf Street - Dollar Hegemony is a tough nut to crack. China is taking another baby step in promoting the internationalization of the renminbi and nibble on the hegemony of the US dollar: It’s pushing a proposal to add a pile of yuan to the $240 billion currency swap agreement between ASEAN plus China, Japan, and South Korea, […]

Wolf Street - Despite “the lowest interest rates in more than a year.”   In California, the median house price in March was essentially flat with March last year at $565,880, according to the California Association of Realtors. But among the most expensive 16 coastal counties – those with a median price for a single-family house above $500,000 – […]

Wolf Street - Market for houses freezes up. House & condo prices drop. High end hit the hardest. In the City of Vancouver, British Columbia, in March, sales of detached houses fell 14% from March 2018, to merely 117 houses, down 50% from March 2017 and down 74% from March 2016, to the lowest number of sales since […]

Wolf Street - Ford wisely kept its mouth shut. The problem with Mercedes and BMW is that they don’t yet sell luxury pickups, though they’re finally figuring it out. The first quarter was not pretty for new-vehicle sales in the US. Deliveries fell 3.2% from Q1 last year, to 3.99 million vehicles. Unless a miracle happens – and […]

Wolf Street - And how it compares to what happened during the Financial Crisis. The goods-based segment of the economy is heading for rough waters, and it is further diverging from the path of the services-based segment of the economy that is still growing at a solid rate: that’s what the current inventory pileup tells us. When inventories […]

Wolf Street - How do they stack up against the most splendid housing bubble in America? Holy cow! Canadian housing markets are in a category of their own. No housing market in the US – no matter how crazy Housing Bubble 1 was, which began to implode in 2006, or how crazy Housing Bubble 2 is or was […]

Wolf Street - And where do Chinese consumers fit in? Americans are infamous for their eagerness to spend money they don’t have. A whole industry has grown up around making that happen, from payday lenders to the government that guarantees or insures a large portion of the mortgages so that lenders and investors don’t have to carry the […]
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