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May 23, 2020 | Catastrophic Plunge in Jobs & Labor Force in Los Angeles, San Francisco/Silicon Valley Smacks into Housing Bubbles

A little anecdotal thingy before we get into the horrifying data: I was on a call with a guy from Google – they want my WOLF STREET media mogul empire to spend money advertising on Google. He was working from home, and since he no longer has to go to Google’s office in Redwood City, […]

May 13, 2020 | A Word About the Current Chaos in Prices and Inflation

Amid soaring prices of meat, beverages, fruit, veggies, and other food at home, and surging costs of personal goods, medical care services, and household furnishings, and amid a collapse in prices of gasoline, car rentals, public transportation, car insurance, lodging away from home, and other things – amid these diametrically opposed price movements, the Consumer […]

May 9, 2020 | The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q1 2020

Most of the first quarter was still the Good Times, but in later February and early March it hit the fan, as markets were crashing. In mid-March lockdowns started to roll across the country, and the layoffs by the tens of millions commenced. So how were consumers positioned going into this crisis? Many of them, […]

May 2, 2020 | Bone-Chilling WTF Charts of the Collapse in US Demand for Gasoline, Jet Fuel, and Diesel

Oil companies are reporting financial fiascos every day: Today Exxon reported its first quarterly loss since 1999 ($610 million), on a “market-related” $2.9 billion write-down. “We’ve never seen anything like what the world is facing today,” CEO Darren Woods said. On Thursday, Texas-based shale-driller Concho Resources reported a quarterly loss of $9.3 billion, after writing […]

April 20, 2020 | Holy WTF Moly: WTI May Contract Collapses to Negative -$37

It’s not often that we’re served up a WTF moment like this. Just about a couple of hours ago, I published my article about US crude-oil benchmark grade West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and how the May futures contract for it collapsed by 45% to $10 a barrel — US Crude Oil Gets Annihilated Under Targeted […]

April 16, 2020 | How Will Covid-19 Lockdowns Hit the Housing Market? It Gets a Little Clearer

The “combined COVID-19 and oil shock” are going to do a number on the U.S. housing market, Fannie Mae warned in its monthly report on Wednesday. Actual data for homes sold after the lockdowns began will not be available for a while, and everyone is grappling with preliminary indications of just how ugly this is […]

April 12, 2020 | Going to be Tougher for Lots of People to Even Get a Mortgage. Expensive Housing Markets Most Affected

That mortgage lending standards have suddenly tightened in just a few weeks – and in some areas drastically, such as jumbo mortgages – has been reported in bits and pieces by boots-on-the-ground mortgage brokers and mortgage bankers. But how loose were those lending standards to begin with, and how did they compare to the lending […]

April 8, 2020 | How Lockdowns Hit U.S. New & Used Vehicle Sales: Beyond Ugly

The lockdowns were gradually rolled out state by state, starting in mid-March, and this was when the historic unemployment crisis exploded onto the scene. So it’s the events from mid-March forward that show the new trend. For the whole month of March, total new vehicle sales plunged 37.9% year-over-year, with fleet sales (rental, commercial, and […]

April 4, 2020 | Trucking Skids Off the Road Entirely

Orders for heavy trucks in March collapsed by 52% from the already dreadfully low levels a year ago to 7,400 trucks, the lowest since 2010, driven by cancellations of existing orders “due to the sharp and sudden downturn in economic conditions,” according to preliminary estimates by FTR Transportation Intelligence. And so COVID-19 spirals through the economy: […]

March 26, 2020 | Helicopter Money for Wall Street

otal assets on the Fed’s weekly balance sheet, released this afternoon, spiked by $586 billion in one week, to $5.25 trillion. This doesn’t even include yet the bulk of the mortgage-backed securities (MBS) the Fed bought over the past two weeks because the Fed books them when its trades settle, and MBS trades take a […]

March 18, 2020 | Treasury Market, Gold Go Haywire as Fed Struggles to Contain What’s Turning into Financial Crisis 2

The sell-off among US Treasuries with 10-year maturities is seriously rattling nerves. The 10-year yield spiked to 1.22% early this morning (when the price of a bond falls, its yield rises by definition). The problem began Monday morning last week, March 9, when suddenly the 10-year yield started rising from its historic low of 0.32%. […]

March 12, 2020 | Stocks Crashed. I Covered My Short Positions (SPY, QQQ) Because “Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line.” Out of Spite, Bought Some Crap for a Bear-Market Bounce

  The S&P 500 plunged 9.5% today to 2,481, where it had first been in September 2017. It has plunged 26.7% in the last 16 trading days since its peak. It has plunged 14% in just two days. That was fast, too fast, based on our WOLF STREET beer-mug dictum, “Nothing goes to heck in […]

March 1, 2020 | China’s Non-Manufacturing & Manufacturing PMIs Show to What Unfathomable Extent the Economy Has Collapsed

Purchasing Managers’ Indices (PMIs) are a tally of how executives see their own company – whether business activity at their company rose or fell compared to the prior month, whether new orders rose or fell, whether they added or shed staff, etc. Executives and their companies remain unnamed. A value above 50 means expansion; a […]

February 20, 2020 | Ecommerce Spikes by Most Ever. Brick & Mortar Melts Down. Department Stores are Toast

Ecommerce retail sales jumped 16.4% in the fourth quarter 2019 compared to a year earlier (not seasonally adjusted), to $187 billion, and reached $602 billion for the year, double the amount five years ago, according to the Commerce Department. Ecommerce retail sales in Q4 were $26.4 billion higher than in Q4 a year earlier, the […]

February 15, 2020 | “Speculative Energy in the Market is Incredibly out of Control”

This market has been an astounding experience for people who’ve traded through the prior stock market bubbles and the last three crashes, who’ve seen a national and several regional housing bubbles form and implode, who’ve seen the subprime-auto-loan Asset Backed Securities bubble blow up in the mid-1990s and again during the Financial Crisis, and now […]

February 8, 2020 | The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q4 2019

Consumer debt – student loans, auto loans, and revolving credit such as credit cards and personal loans but excluding housing-related debts such as mortgages and HELOCs – jumped by $187 billion in the fourth quarter 2019, compared to a year earlier, or by 4.7%, to a record $4.2 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data released […]

January 28, 2020 | The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America, January Update

Reports have been circulating for a while about the deterioration in the Manhattan housing market, including a report in December that studied condo towers with 30 or more units, built after 2015, in total 7,727 condos, nearly half of which the developers have been unable to sell. Much of the new inventory is at the […]

January 23, 2020 | Fed’s Repos Drop to Oct Level, T-Bills Surge, But MBS Fall, and Total Assets Decline Further

The Fed had doused the market with $410 billion in liquidity between September and January 1 through its repo operations and its T-bill purchases. Market hype had expected this blistering pace of money-printing to continue, but wait… While T-bill purchases continue, the repos on the Fed’s balance sheet are getting unwound, its mortgage-backed securities (MBS) […]

January 5, 2020 | Carmageddon Spreads to Canada

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 […]

January 1, 2020 | The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America, Dec. Update

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 […]

December 24, 2019 | What Options Do Mall Landlords Have When Brick & Mortar Retail Melts Down on Them?

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 […]

December 21, 2019 | Below-the-Surface Struggles in Manhattan Housing Bust Seep to the Surface

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. […]

December 14, 2019 | The State of the Canadian Debt Slaves, How They Compare to American Debt Slaves, and the Bank of Canada’s Response

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 […]

December 9, 2019 | Accounting Fraud & Freight Recession Topple Celadon, Largest Truckload-Carrier Bankruptcy in US History

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 […]

December 5, 2019 | Fed Goes Hog-Wild with T-Bills, But Repos Drop from a Month Ago, and MBS Shrink by $22 Bn

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 […]

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