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August 1, 2020 | Average Age of Cars & Trucks on the Road Sets Record, Will Jump During Pandemic as New-Vehicle Sales Plunge to 1970s Level

The average age of passenger cars and trucks on the road in the US – light “vehicles in operation” or VIO – rose to another record of 11.9 years in 2020, according to IHS Markit. But this doesn’t yet include the effects of the Pandemic on the auto industry. We’ll get to that in a […]

July 24, 2020 | Shift from Condos to Houses and from Big Cities to Suburbs? New House Sales Rose 6.9% fr. June Last Year, to Highest Level since July 2007

Sales of new single-family houses (based on signed contracts) rose 6.9% in June, compared to June last year, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales of 776,000 houses, according to the Commerce Department this morning. It was a hair above January’s 774,000, having recovered all of the plunge during February, March, and April — […]

July 14, 2020 | It Starts: Mortgage Delinquencies Suddenly Soar at Record Pace

OK, it’s actually worse. Mortgages that are in forbearance and have not missed a payment before going into forbearance don’t count as delinquent. They’re reported as “current.” And 8.2% of all mortgages in the US – or 4.1 million loans – are currently in forbearance, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But if they did […]

July 7, 2020 | US House Prices to Drop 6.6% by May 2021, First Annual Decline since Jan. 2012: CoreLogic, Owner of the Case-Shiller Index

CoreLogic, which owns the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, released its monthly “Home Price Index Forecast” this morning, based on the Case-Shiller data. After years of being bullish about home prices, CoreLogic suddenly turned bearish. It forecast that prices of single-family houses, including distressed sales, would begin dropping on a month-to-month basis with the June reading […]

June 27, 2020 | World Trade Plunges. Here’s Why it’s Even Worse in Reality: China’s Deep-Fake Data Comes to Light

World trade in goods plunged by 12% in April from March, after having already dropped 2.4% in March from February. This plunge of the Merchandise World Trade Monitor, released by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, was by far the largest month-to-month drop in the history of the data going back to 2000. Compared […]

June 16, 2020 | But Who Bought this Huge Pile of US Government Debt?

Foreign investors – including central banks, governments, companies, funds, and individuals – shed $44 billion of US Treasury securities in April, compared to March, according to the Treasury Department Monday afternoon. Over the same period, the mountain of US Treasury securities grew by $1.287 trillion. Someone must have bought this $1.287 trillion in additional US […]

June 4, 2020 | Week 11 of the U.S. Labor Market Collapse: Signs of Having Hit Bottom, Finally

To determine if the collapse of the US labor market hit bottom, the combined number of people still receiving unemployment benefits under state programs and under federal programs – such as gig workers receiving benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program – need to stop growing. And for the first time since this fiasco started, […]

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) […]

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