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October 12, 2019 | Global Air Freight Sinks into Longest Recession Since 2008

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 […]

October 1, 2019 | Tariff-Front-Running Hits US Manufacturing, after Causing Biggest Surge since 2004

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 […]

September 17, 2019 | Debt-Wracked Chinese Companies Dump US & Other Foreign Assets, Become Net Sellers Overseas for First Time

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 […]

August 27, 2019 | The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in America, August Update: West Coast Markets “See the Dip”

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 […]

August 20, 2019 | Canada’s Most Splendid Housing Bubbles, July Update

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 […]

August 14, 2019 | Subprime Auto Loans Blow Up, Delinquencies at 2009 Level, Biggest 12-Month Surge Since 2010

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 […]

August 7, 2019 | The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q2 2019

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 […]

August 3, 2019 | Heavy-Truck Orders Collapse Stunning 81%. Lowest Since 2010

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 […]

July 18, 2019 | US Home Purchases by Chinese, Other Foreigners Plunge Below 2012 Level. And the (for me) Chilling “Chinese Reaction” to it from the Largest Chinese Portal for US Homes for Sale

“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 […]

July 8, 2019 | Update on the Worsening Housing Bust in Vancouver, Canada: Spring Hopes Got Crushed

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 […]

July 6, 2019 | Fed Sheds $38 Billion in Treasuries and MBS in June, Dumps MBS at Record Pace, Exceeding “Cap” for First Time

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 […]

June 28, 2019 | Markets Might Hafta Grapple with “Patient”: Fed Rate Cut in July After This Inflation?

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 […]

June 19, 2019 | The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada, May Update

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 […]

June 14, 2019 | The State of the Canadian Debt Slaves, and How They Compare to the American Debt Slaves

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 […]

June 10, 2019 | Used-Car Wholesale Prices Surge, Retail Volume Drops. New Cars Sink Deeper into Carmageddon

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 […]

June 8, 2019 | Amazon Gets Booted by FedEx

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 […]

May 31, 2019 | American Consumers Prop Up the Economy. Wall Street Clamors for Multiple Rate Cuts. Fed Blows Off Wall 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 […]

May 22, 2019 | Subprime Profit-Machine Hiccups: Credit-Card Charge-Offs Rise Across Banking System

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 […]

May 18, 2019 | Here’s What Happened in the Service Sector in Q1

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 […]

May 7, 2019 | Vancouver Housing Bust Steepens, Bank of Canada Welcomes “Froth” Coming Off

“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. […]

May 2, 2019 | Update on the Less-Splendid Housing Bubbles & Crushed Markets in America

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 […]

April 27, 2019 | China Tries to Muscle in on Dollar as Dominant ‘Payments Currency,’ But It’s a Thankless Slog

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, […]

April 17, 2019 | House Prices in 12 of California’s Most Expensive Coastal Counties Fell in March from a Year Ago. Here are the Charts

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 – […]

April 7, 2019 | Update on the Deepening Housing Bust in Vancouver, Canada

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 […]

April 2, 2019 | Q1 Carmageddon for GM, Fiat-Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, Mazda…

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 […]

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