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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 - 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 […]

Wolf Street - San Francisco Bay Area & Seattle lead with biggest multi-month drops since 2012; San Diego, Denver, Portland, Los Angeles decline. Others have stalled. A few eke out records. San Francisco and San Diego are catching the Seattle cold, and others are sniffling too, as the most splendid housing bubbles in America are starting to run […]

Wolf Street - What banks & housing markets in Sydney and Melbourne are facing in 2019. As investors are fleeing Australia’s housing bust, sales of new houses have plunged to record lows, and home prices in the Sydney and Melbourne metros have dropped 12% and 9% from their respective peaks in mid and late 2017. Combined, the two […]

Wolf Street - The hope in early January has been unwound. A month ago, mortgages reappeared in the housing-hype circus, when it was widely reported that mortgage applications “soared” and “jumped.” Both types of mortgage applications did so: those used to purchase a home (purchase mortgages) and those used to refinance an existing mortgage (refinance mortgages). The jump […]

Wolf Street - So that U-turn was fast, even for the legendarily cyclical trucking business. In January, orders for Class-8 trucks — the heavy trucks that haul trailers with goods of all kinds across the US — plunged by 58% from a year ago, to just 15,642 orders. It was the lowest number or orders since October 2016, […]

Wolf Street - Seattle prices drop 5.1% in five months, most since Housing Bust 1; San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Portland all decline. This is the most obvious one: Seattle. House prices in the Seattle metro dropped 0.7% in November from prior month, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index released this morning. It […]

Wolf Street - Welcome to the Big Club of Saturation & Decline. For the month of December, light new-vehicle sales in China plunged 13%, compared to a year ago, to 2.23 million vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) announced on Monday. Sales through June had risen 6%, but then came July, and now there have been […]

Wolf Street - “We did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration.” Oh dude, starting the year out on the right foot. On Wednesday after the market closed, Apple released a letter to shareholders in which it said that revenues are going to be a lot worse in the quarter ended December 29 than its guidance two […]

Wolf Street - Seattle house prices drop 4.4% in four months, biggest drop since Housing Bust 1; Prices deflate in San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Denver, and Portland. Some of the markets in this select group of the most spending housing bubbles in America have turned the corner, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, […]

Wolf Street - But a whole generation of investors has never been through a Nasdaq-bubble unwind, and they’re shocked. I just dug out my “Dow 20,000” hat, but I might not need it for a while because nothing goes to hell in a straight line. And I still have my “Dow 10,000” hat somewhere just in case, though […]

December 15th, 2018 | The Trucking Boom Ends

Wolf Street - But no letup in freight rates yet. In November, according to transportation data provider FTR, orders for new Class-8 trucks — the heavy trucks that haul the products of the goods-based economy across the US — plunged nearly 50% from July and August, 35% from October, and 15% from November 2017, to 27,500 orders, the […]

Wolf Street - But how low might the Fed’s balance sheet go? The Federal Reserve shed $54 billion in assets over the five weekly balance sheet periods that encompass the calendar month of November. This reduced the assets on its balance sheet to $4,086 billion, the lowest since January 15, 2014, according to the Fed’s balance sheet for […]

Wolf Street - Bond ETFs and open-end bond mutual funds sound conservative in marketing materials, but they pack special risks & surprises in a downturn that can entail a catastrophic loss for investors. Exchange-traded bond funds and bond mutual funds are big business. They’re a lot easier for retail investors to buy and sell than the actual bonds, particularly […]

Wolf Street - Bloodletting beneath the surface. Big names too. Here they are. It’s barely a correction, technically speaking, with the S&P 500 down 9.9% from its all-time closing high, the Dow down 9.2%, the Nasdaq down 14%, and the Russell 2000 small-caps index down 15%. But beneath the surface, there has been some serious bloodletting for many […]

Wolf Street - It’s not pretty. In 2018, “each month has brought weaker than normal sales, rising inventory, and continued downward pressure on prices” in Vancouver, British Columbia, writes Steve Saretsky, a Vancouver Realtor and publisher of real-estate blog, Vancity Condo Guide. The market faces another headwind: “With the Bank of Canada determined to reach a neutral rate […]

Wolf Street - Consumers are being lackadaisical again with their plastic. Consumer debt – or euphemistically, consumer “credit” – jumped 4.9% in the third quarter compared to the third quarter last year, or by $182 billion, to almost, but no cigar, $4 trillion, or more precisely $3.93 trillion (not seasonally adjusted), according to the Federal Reserve this afternoon. […]
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