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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 - Sales of passenger cars and light trucks in Canada fell 3.7% to 1.91 million vehicles in 2019, the second year in a row of declines, and were down 6.1% from peak-year 2017, according to industry data compiled by Des Rosiers Automotive Consultants: These sales are new vehicles that dealers delivered to their customers, or that […]

Wolf Street - Powered by the innumerable millionaires and multimillionaires that the mega IPOs would be suddenly printing in 2019, home prices in the San Francisco Bay Area would be doomed to surge this year, thus exacerbating the “housing crisis,” as it’s called locally, even further, the media have promised us incessantly earlier this year, having fallen once […]

Wolf Street - Mall investors have long denied it. But year after year, ecommerce has been eating up brick-and-mortar retail sales, in the third quarter faster than ever, and in the fourth quarter, according to early indications, even faster. Turns out, ecommerce is a structural change that grew out of the arrival of the Internet, has been underway […]

Wolf Street - That the Manhattan market for condos and co-ops has been heading lower is no secret. The price and sales data I’m going to briefly lay out here is just to provide a backdrop for what comes next – the struggles below the surface that rarely make it to the surface. But this time they did. […]

Wolf Street - Canadian households, rated near the top of the most indebted in the world, accomplished something awe-inspiring: They got even more indebted and their leverage rose to a new record, according to data released today by Statistics Canada. The portion of their disposable income (total incomes from all sources minus taxes) that Canadian households spent on […]

Wolf Street - Celadon Group, one of the larger full-truckload operators in the US with about 3,000 drivers and about 2,700 tractors, said today – confirming days of rumors – that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is ceasing operations. This is the largest truckload carrier ever to file for bankruptcy in US history. The drivers, hauling […]

Wolf Street - The total amount of repurchase agreements (“repos”) on the Fed’s balance sheet as of December 4, released today, declined to $209 billion, from $215 billion a month ago. These repos included: $70 billion in overnight repos, issued on Wednesday morning that unwound today; all prior overnight repos had already unwound. $88 billion in multi-day repos […]

Wolf Street - “The boom and bust patterns of home price growth in the West appear to be now solidly on the bust side,” said Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic, in a statement about today’s release of the firm’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index. So here we go. San Francisco Bay Area House Prices House prices in […]

Wolf Street - Vancouver has tiny uptick after 14 declines. Toronto dips below July 2017 peak. Victoria ekes out new high. Calgary, Edmonton stuck below oil-boom peaks years ago. Quebec City flat for 6 years. Montreal ticks down from high. Ottawa ekes out new high but remains low. House prices in Greater Vancouver ticked up 0.2% in October […]

Wolf Street - Yield Curve Spaghetti! It happened. Hallelujah. Or maybe better: Watch Out! The yield curve, after having been at least partially inverted all year, un-inverted today. The yield curve still kind of flat at the short end, but the middle-aged sag is gone, and the long end with maturities of seven years and up is higher […]

Wolf Street - Prices in red-hot Dallas slow. Chicago condos flat for the year. Formerly crushed Detroit up 100% in 7 years. Cleveland struggles out of crushed status. Yesterday, we did The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America — such as the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City metro, the Miami metro, Seattle, and other markets that […]

Wolf Street - Santander Consumer USA is on the forefront of souring subprime-auto-loan backed securities. Santander Consumer USA, one of the largest subprime auto lenders and the largest securitizer of subprime auto loans, is not alone. But it’s on the forefront. It had $26.3 billion of subprime auto loans as of June 30 that it either owned and […]

Wolf Street - The hangover after the tariff-front-run boom last year. Freight shipments by all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – within the US fell 3.4% in September 2019, compared to September last year, according to the Cass Freight Index for Shipments. For the index – which tracks shipment volume of consumer and industrial […]

Wolf Street - US-China trade war, falling business confidence, slowdown in China, German exports, and new: the temporary shutdown of Hong Kong’s airport, the largest cargo hub in the world. Demand for global air freight, domestic and international, as measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), fell by 3.9% in August compared to August last year, the 10th month […]

Wolf Street - Supply chains begin to shift back to US suppliers, “due to tariffs.” Two US manufacturing reports were released this morning, one showing the fastest decline since June 2009, and the other showing an increase in growth, and given the bad numbers recently, the fastest growth in five months. So get ready for mild whiplash. The […]

Wolf Street - Another piece in the Chinese capital-flow puzzle. Chinese conglomerates that had gone on a debt-fueled buying binge over the past decade but have come under heavy pressure from the government to sell their overseas holdings in order to reduce their astronomical debts – well, they’re doing it. In the US, Chinese conglomerates have dumped $26 […]

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 […]
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