Respondents warn it can be linked to global social credit score system.
The World Economic Forum is promoting a ‘smart mask’ that tracks your breathing and alerts you via an app if you wear it improperly or forget to wear it at all.
Bill Greenblatt/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The numbers: The producer price index rose 1% in March, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.5% rise.
The rate of wholesale inflation over the past 12 months climbed to 4.2% in March. That’s the highest level since September 2011. Because PPI was so weak last spring, increases this year are going to push the annual readings higher for at least a few months.
LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, one of the places Japanese Americans were held during World War II, will serve as an emergency shelter for unaccompanied children who have crossed the border into the United States, L.A. County has announced.
Hilda Solis, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said Thursday the decision was made after discussions with the Biden White House.
After China’s factory inflation surprised to the upside with the hottest print since July 2018, this morning’s US producer price data was highly anticipated and expected to surge to multi-year highs.
As ZeroHedge detailed earlier, the data’s release was actually delayed – it seems people are actually interested in how much of their dollar’s worth is being eaten away?
Can we make Biden’s infrastructure plan $1 trillion bigger so the BLS can update its website pic.twitter.com/0qrGdj670R
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) April 9, 2021
As a reminder, over half of the inputs for the consumer price index calculation is estimated (translation: made up), so why not PPI too.
And when it hit it was dramatically hotter than expected, printing up 1.0% MoM (vs +0.5% exp) and a stunning 4.2% rise YoY (+3.8% exp) – the highest since 2011…
This is the 11th month in a row of rising PPI.
When they show you who they are, believe them. In this soundbite Dr. Wen is apoplectic that people might realize there is no need for a vaccination because everything is open and there is no crisis. She frets that American people will enjoy their freedoms without vaccination. Just watch and listen to the priority in her soundbite.
The blind-spot exposure of their ideology is a weakness of the totalitarian mind. They spend so much time in an echo-chamber they cannot fathom the insanity of what they are espousing. To them it just seems like the typical conversation they have all the time, because they never face anyone challenging them. WATCH:
The US Army can’t legally mandate COVID vaccines, but restrictive policies like those at Fort Drum and Fort Bragg make it increasingly difficult for service members to refuse.
“Liberty is always dangerous but it is the safest thing we have.” — Henry Emerson Fosdick
(Pam Long) A March 17 memorandum from the commander at the U.S. Army’s Fort Drum reservation in New York lists privileges withheld from service members who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine — an experimental Emergency Use Authorization product not proven to prevent infection or transmission of the COVID virus.
The memo, “Prohibited Activities for Personnel Within the Authority of the Commander, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum,” states:
Following the unexpected plunge in new- and existing-home sales, analysts expected a 3.0% MoM drop in pending home sales to round out the dismal housing data in February. Instead – mimicking the huge drops in other segments of the housing market, pending home sales crashed 10.6% MoM (the biggest drop since April). Worse still, pending home prices are now back down 2.7% YoY…
That completes the triple whammy of collapse in the home sales market…
The Covid 19 (CV-19) headlines out so far this week are downright confusing and contradictory. One says “Covid-19’s Fourth Wave is hitting the U.S Hard.” Another says, “Texas Hits Record Low Covid Cases 3 Weeks After Lifting All Pandemic Restrictions.” What are you to believe? The mainstream media (MSM), CDC and most politicians have been lying about almost everything. The idea they are pushing that only a vaccine is the answer to what many people call a “Plandemic” is a huge lie. Let me prove it.
Please join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he posts three videos: An intro- duction video by Hunter along with two “must watch” videos by top experts, so you can be informed about taking a vaccine (or not) or a treatment that can save your life. Big Tech, MSM and the CDC do not want you to hear what these experts have to say.
After a mixed picture in February (expectations down, current conditions up), analysts expected a big jump in Conference Board Consumer Confidence in March… and they got it.
March Consumer Confidence exploded from 90.4 (revised lower) in Feb to 109.7 in March – the highest since March 2020.
The underlying components also smashed expectations:
- Present situation confidence rose to 110.0 vs. 89.6 last month.
- Consumer confidence expectations rose to 109.6 vs. 90.9 last month – highest since July 2019
(TE Creus) The vaccine was a resounding success. Yes, there had been a final death rate of 10% among the vaccinated, but this was mostly among the elderly or the already ill, so it was probably not the vaccine’s fault, and if it was, no one could prove it one way or another, and even if they could, well, the vaccine manufacturers were not liable to lawsuits due to the agreements they had made with the various governments.
In any case, the pandemic had ended, that was for sure.
(Peter Schiff) Since the beginning of the pandemic, government debt and money printing are off the chart. This is creating inflationary pressure. Prices are on the rise. And this is by design. In fact, the Fed has been promising more inflation for years. As Peter Schiff explains, it looks like this is one promise the Fed is going to keep.
Don’t worry, there’s no inflation – apart from in gas and home prices. According to AAA, gas prices at the pump are back near their highest in 6 years, up a stunning 42% YoY…
The housing boom unleashed by the Federal Reserve during the pandemic was built on historically low mortgage rates (thanks Powell), low inventory, city-dwellers moving to rural areas, and remote-work phenomenon. In the latest installment of the desperate frenzy of buyers fleeing for suburban life in California, one home received 122 offers in just two days.
(Ethan Huff) Official data released by the British government shows that Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) injections are killing unborn babies at an astounding rate. The latest Medicines and Healthcare produce Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) Yellow Card Scheme report, dated Dec. 9, 2020, through March 7, 2021, reveals a whopping 366 percent increase in the rate of miscarriage thanks to Chinese virus jabs.
(Matt Margolis) The city of Oakland, Calif., has just launched a universal basic income program, providing low-income families $500 per month, with absolutely no strings attached regarding how they must spend it. According to a report from CBS News, this program, which is privately-funded, “is the latest experiment with a ‘guaranteed income,’ the idea that giving low-income individuals a regular, monthly stipend helps ease the stresses of poverty and results in better health and upward economic mobility.” Unless you aren’t eligible for the program because you’re white.
Yesterday ZeroHedge discussed why western Corporations are terrified to confront China, even if it means losing on those all-important virtue signaling brownie points which are all that matter in Western society today: as a reminder, the stock of H&M, Nike and Adidas came under fire on Chinese social media on Thursday after Beijing’s propaganda offensive against Swedish fashion brand H&M sparked by the company’s expression of concern about labor conditions in Xinjiang. The sportswear companies were the latest to be caught up in a backlash prompted by a government call to stop foreign brands from tainting China’s name as internet users found statements they had made in the past on Xinjiang.
On Friday, as the Xinjiang spat escalated, China showed just how easy it is for Western companies to literally disappear when outlets belonging to Sweden’s H&M (Hennes & Mauritz AB) – the fashion retailer that found itself at the center of an escalating spat over human rights in Xinjiang – did not to show up on Apple Maps and Baidu Maps searches in China.
Few are aware of it but the digitalization of the human race is advancing at break-neck speed.
Based on 85 monthly individual factors, The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index unexpectedly plunged in February. Against expectations of a +0.75 print, the data showed a -1.09 (a reading below 0 indicates below-trend growth in national economy).
This is the first decline since April 2020.
(Diana Olick) Closed sales of existing homes in February dropped a larger-than-expected 6.6% compared with January, according to the National Association of Realtors.
That put them at a seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of 6.22 million units, which was 9.1% higher compared with February 2020.
Despite being on the cusp of the historically busy spring housing market, homeowners are not listing their properties for sale at the pace they normally would this time of year. The supply of homes for sale fell 29.5% year over year, the largest annual decline ever, to 1.03 million homes.
(Tap News) The entire world is watching in horror as vaccine death rates have skyrocketed in Israel since the Israeli government brokered a secret deal with Pfizer to inject the entire population with their experimental COVID shots, which are now being mandated as a condition to participate in society.
Global elites may soon influence every financial aspect of your life through car loans, business loans, mortgages, and more. It’s all thanks to the partnership between America’s biggest banks, the federal government, and global groups like the World Economic Forum — and it has already begun.
The Heartland Institute’s Justin Haskins joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to describe how Bank of America Merrill Lynch now assigns ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) credit scores for customers. It may not affect you yet, but soon, a low score — based on things like products you buy or how much electricity you use — could significantly impact your life.
(Stephen Gutowski) California will reopen its “assault weapons” registration process and pause unconstitutional prosecutions after settling with a gun group over accusations that the process hindered the Second Amendment rights of residents.
California will let gun owners file new registrations, avoid prosecutions of registration violations for at least seven months, and pay the Firearms Policy Coalition $151,821.42 for lawyers’ fees, according to the terms of the agreement. Once the court approves the settlement, California will start a campaign to inform the public of the new registration process and give owners of the banned AR-15 variants up to three months to register them.
Global food prices are surging, and the timing couldn’t be worse.
From Rabobank’s Michael Every and Michael Magdovitz to everyone’s favorite permabear, SocGen’s Albert Edwards, both point out that food prices worldwide are quickly rising and overwhelmingly agree the Federal Reserve is exacerbating the problem.
Colleen Huber, NMD, February 21, 2021, updated March 15, 2021. Most of the links below are from medical journals, the FDA, CDC, and other entities that generally support vaccination, yet the information in this article shows how EXTREMELY RISKY the COVID-19 vaccines are.
In my family, we have a rule: If you consider having an experimental medical procedure done,
Don’t even think of insisting that anyone else have it done, inside or outside the family, because they control their own bodies and health decisions, not you; and
Be sure you have read about and can explain in your own words all of the known risks of that procedure before embarking on it. Also, consider potential future risks.
I ask that you, the reader, at least take time to consider the above, and at least consider reading information in the links below, before submitting to this experimental medical procedure.
In Wednesday’s press conference, Jay Powell confirmed that the Fed is setting off on a historic experiment: welcoming a conflagration of red-hot inflation for an indefinite period of time in an overheating economy, with the underlying assumption that it’s all “transitory” and that inflation will return to normal in a few years, and certainly before 2023 when the Fed’s rates will still be at zero.
There is a big problem with that assumption: while FOMC members, most of whom are independently wealthy and can just charge their Fed card for any day to day purchases of “non-core” CPI basket items, the vast majority of the population does not have the luxury of having someone else pay for their purchases or looking beyond the current period of runaway inflation, which will certainly crush the purchasing power of the American consumer, especially once producers of intermediate goods start hiking prices even more and passing through inflation.
While speaking through his face mask, China Joe was seen waving his hands around, one of them moving behind one of the microphones apparently being held by a reporter. Even though Biden’s image was clearly standing several feet away, his hand mysteriously moved to the reporter’s side of the mic, suggesting that some kind of green screen or superimposed imagery was used to create the fake footage.
With interest rates expected to remain low for the foreseeable future (as Fed Chairman Jerome Powell re-affirmed Wednesday), and millions of people adjusting to the prospect of working from home permanently, Americans are eager to compare various housing markets, as ‘Zoom Towns’ pop up across the US, and prospective homebuyers reassess where they might consider settling down.
The Ford Motor Company has reportedly shifted a $900 million investment for an Avon Lake, Ohio assembly plant towards a site in Mexico, according to the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
Why didn’t Ford try this last year?
(Sophia Ankel) On the morning of the Capitol riot, Vern Swieringa told his wife during a walk with their dogs: “Something is going to happen today. I don’t know what, but something’s going to happen today.”
The Christian Reformed Church pastor from Michigan had been watching for months as some members of his congregation grew captivated by videos about the QAnon conspiracy theory on social media, openly discussing sex trafficking and Satan-worshipping pedophiles.
He had watched as other spiritual advisors, including the self-proclaimed “Trump Prophet” Mark Taylor, incorporated wild and dangerous QAnon beliefs into their sermons on YouTube and as organizers of the Christian Jericho March gathered in Washington, DC, days before the insurrection, urging followers to “pray, march, fast, and rally for election integrity.”
So when hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol hours after his premonition, Swieringa was shocked, but not surprised.
“I think some of the signs had been there all along, and it just all came to a perfect storm,” Swieringa told Insider.
Dr. Hotze discusses the dangers of the COVID-19 vaccine. You don’t want to miss this!
The weather must have been pretty bad to prevent people from buying something on Amazon from the cell phone they were already holding in their hand.
US Industrial Production was expected to rise (+0.3% MoM) for the 9th month of the last 10 in February (the last ‘clean’ pre-COVID print before last March’s collapse, which will spark YoY comp chaos). But, instead, industrial production tumbled 2.2% MoM – the biggest plunge since April 2020. That pushed the YoY drop in production down to 4.25%…
(ZeroHedge) Households across the US rejoiced over the weekend as they received their first stimulus checks. And as BofA’s team of analysts parses exactly how millions of Americans will spend this money (will they buy washing machines and toasters? Or dump it into crypto/GME?), Bloomberg is out with a chilling report alerting Americans to the inevitable reality that President Biden is about to switch gears from spending to fundraising.
Of course, we use that term loosely: Despite the fact that Biden just shelled out another $1.85 trillion to finance a third round of stimulus checks (not to mention hundreds of billions in handouts to states and municipalities), his administration isn’t raising money to pay for that. Instead, they’re looking to finance a Democratic “New New Deal”.
(Arnie Aurellano) Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, has introduced the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act, a bill that would cancel rents and mortgage payments nationwide through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation would constitute full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history. Just as significantly, it would also establish relief funds for mortgage holders and landlords to cover the losses incurred from such payment cancellations.
(Sovereign Man) A few hundred pages into the latest $1.9 trillion Covid relief law, the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” you’ll find Section 9674, It says that a “third party settlement organization” does not have to report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) any payments to contract workers under $600.
These third parties include Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, eBay, Freelancer, and other platforms which facilitate payments to gig workers. The problem is that this little amendment lowers the reporting threshold from $20,000 to $600. Previously, a gig worker could earn up to $20,000 on these platforms without the IRS being informed of their income.
What this means:
The rigging of interest rates by hapless central banks continues to do its job in distorting the market. In addition to boosting both bonds and stocks, it also has homeowners drawing on cash out refinancings at the quickest clip since the last global financial crisis.
(Suzanne Hanmer) Several prominent physicians, doctors, Sons of Liberty Media Health and Wellness expert Kate Shemirani, her colleague Dr. Kevin Corbett, and I have postulated that the current experimental mRNA injection for coronavirus, aka COVID-19, could alter one’s genetic code or DNA. Bill Gates stated it, which was included in my video “Human Genome 8 and mRNA Vaccine” on Brighteon.com. It is one reason the term “experimental human genome altering mRNA injection” has been used to describe the jab being foisted onto the mostly unsuspecting public. While many in the media, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and his merry band of chronic liars, and “fact checkers” have declared this claim as false, a video of a TEDx Beacon Street talk by Tal Zaks, chief medical officer of Moderna, Inc., one pharmaceutical company manufacturer of the experimental mRNA technology injection, confirms mRNA injection for COVID-19 can change your genetic code or DNA. This TEDx Beacon Street talk occurred in 2017. H/T to YouTube channel Silview Media Backup Channel.
The Department of the Treasury‘s Office of Foreign Assets Control on Jan. 26 issued General License No. 1A, which permits Americans to continue acquiring shares in certain companies associated with “Communist Chinese Military Companies,” known as CCMCs, until May 27. The Trump administration originally set the deadline on Jan. 28.
Former President Donald Trump signed a landmark Executive Order 13959 on Nov. 12 last year, which stopped investors from purchasing or possessing shares in any company associated with a CCMC. In short, Trump ordered Americans to stop financing China’s military – the People’s Liberation Army.
Wall Street opposed Trump’s executive order, and now it has additional time to work for its repeal.
(Max Blumenthal) The Joseph Biden administration has named Richard Nephew as its Deputy Iran Envoy. As the former Principal Deputy Coordinator of Sanctions Policy for Barack Obama’s State Department, Nephew took personal credit for depriving Iranians of food, sabotaging their automobile industry and driving up unemployment rates. He has described the destruction of Iran’s economy as “a tremendous success,” and lamented during a visit to Russia that food was still plentiful in the country’s capital despite mounting US sanctions.
(Chris Menahan) The Biden regime has signed off on new plans to conduct COVID-19 vaccine trials on infants and newborns — even though the CDC’s own data shows they face virtually zero risk of death from the virus.
The CDC’s data shows young people aged 0-19 have a 99.997% survival rate.
(Victoria Taft) California Governor Gavin Newsom has completely changed his response to COVID – again – this time leveraging opening the state for all Californians on the backs of low-income Latinos living in the areas with allegedly higher rates of illness.
In the name of “equity,” Newsom announced Thursday that 40% of all the state’s available vaccines will go to Latino communities in the Central Valley and in pockets of Los Angels because Latinos have suffered the most death and illness from COVID.
And there’s a catch: Until Latinos in these areas take the vaccine in higher numbers, California will stay locked down.
…If you don’t stay locked in your bedroom in favor of going about your life – still masked, scrubbed and distanced – you’re a fool… “crisis” and desperation have replaced “challenge” and problem solving…
(Rocky Swift) – Japanese supercomputer simulations showed that wearing two masks gave limited benefit in blocking viral spread compared with one properly fitted mask.
The findings in part contradict recent recommendations from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that two masks were better than one at reducing a person’s exposure to the coronavirus.
(John Hayward) Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, crowed at Thursday’s OPEC meeting that the American energy revolution is over, OPEC would soon regain control over oil markets, and “Drill, baby, drill is gone forever.”
“Drill, baby, drill” began as a Republican campaign slogan in 2008, popularized by vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, although it was coined by then-Lt. Governor of Maryland Michael Steele. The basic idea was that aggressively developing America’s energy resources would bring economic prosperity and make the United States less dependent on foreign oil.
Remember those who received the polio vaccine in the first few years, were likely infected with SV40.
2019 experimental mRNA COCVID vaccines are also first of their kind.
Federal Reserve governor Lael Brainard on Tuesday became the first top official at the central bank to express unease about last week’s sharp rise in longer-term U.S. Treasury yields.
“Some of those moves last week and the speed of the moves caught my eye,” Brainard said.
The Tell: Why the stock market’s big rotation can continue even if bond yields stop rising
The Los Angeles Unified School District is launching a Microsoft-developed COVID-tracking app for children, which allows students to schedule and view the results of weekly COVID tests, post the results of off-campus COVID tests, and schedule vaccinations.
Shortly after Gov. Abbott’s decision to follow the science and allow the people of his state to be ‘free’ to judge their own risks once again, none other than California Gov. Newsom – desperate to virtue-signal as he fights for political survival amid an imminent recall vote – had a two word response: “Absolutely reckless”
We have two words for Mr. Newsom… can you guess?
Is that really what you want to spend your time doing, paying higher taxes?
“No matter how much money I make, they will always print more. I can’t print anymore time.”
During the debate last week over the Equality Act, a measure that would create a right to kill babies in abortions and force Americans to fund abortions, Republicans accused Democrats of ignoring Biblical values. And a surprising comment from pro-abortion Democrat Congressman Jerry Nadler confirmed that to be true.
Yes, the rushed-to-market Covid “spike protein” vaccine means an unpredictable, genetically engineered and mutated virus fragment is being injected into your blood
(Natural News) Clinical trial geeks posing as journalists manipulate the language around the dirty and experimental methods used today to manufacture vaccines. Online, all the vaccine hucksters are trying to convince everyone that this sped-up hustle to produce a Covid-19 vaccine is still ‘safe and efficacious,’ and not to worry your little head a bit about the fact that it takes 7 to 10 years to even come close to developing a vaccine that works (even though they still have horrific side effects).
This is as close to a failed auction as we have ever come…
Ahead of today’s closely watched 7Y treasury auction, where the bulk of the recent Treasury rout has been concentrated as traders hammered the belly of the curve, we said that “If the 7Y tails a lot, watch out below” as that would only add insult to today’s furious selloff injury. Well, that’s precisely what happened, because with the 7Y pricing at 1.195%, this was a whopping 4.1bps tail to the 1.151% When Issued.
If the 7Y tails a lot, watch out below
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) February 25, 2021
The auction was, in a word, catastrophic.
Starting at the top, the bid to cover tumbled from 2.305 to 2.045, the lowest on record, and far, far below the 2.35 recent average.
(Tyler Durden) The Fed’s most frequent lament is that no matter how many trillions in bonds (and stocks and ETFs) it buys or how much liquidity it forehoses into the market, it just can’t push inflation higher.
Well, here’s an idea: maybe all the central-planning megabrains at the Marriner Eccles building and 33 Liberty Street can take a break from whatever circle jerk they are engaged in right now, and look at the latest Case Shiller numbers which showed not only that home prices surged at the fastest pace in seven years, rising at a double-digit pace for the first time since 2014…
(Michael Maharrey) A bill introduced in the Kansas House would recognize gold and silver specie as legal tender and repeal all taxes levied on it. The legislation would pave the way for Kansans to use gold and silver in everyday transactions, a foundational step for the people to undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.
Trying to live the American dream but can’t pay $15 an hour minimum wage? Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California doesn’t think your business should exist.
During a Sunday discussion on CNN‘s “Inside Politics,” Khanna said that “low-wage businesses” who can’t pay $15 an hour are “underpaying employees” and suggested that “If workers were actually getting paid for the value they were creating, it would be up to $23.”
Former Assistant Secretary of Housing And Urban Development, HUD and investment advisor Catherine Austin Fitts says you have to be careful and fully understand Bitcoin. Fitts explains, ‘We do know they want to go to an all-digital system with central bank cryptos. The easiest way to build the prison is to get freedom lovers everywhere to build our prison for them. To me, Bitcoin has always been the prototype on the way to building an all-digital, omnipresent crypto control system that they would love to put into place.’
Join Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog.com as he goes One-on-One with Catherine Austin Fitts, publisher of The Solari Report.
With the worst of the Texas power crisis now behind us, the blame and finger pointing begins, and while the jury is still out whose actions (or lack thereof) may have led to the deadly and widespread blackouts that shocked Texas this week, Cascend Strategy writes that “in case there was any doubt why the Texas grid collapsed, the data is clear”
- Wind failed as “Ice storms knocked out nearly half the wind-power generating capacity of Texas on Sunday as a massive deep freeze across the state locked up wind turbine generators, creating an electricity generation crisis.”
- Natural gas made up the difference for a while
- But then everything else followed down
‘The Dementia is Transparently Obvious’
(Sundance) It appears the bloom is off the ruse, at least with Sky News. In one of the first admissions to what is transparently obvious, an Australian news pundit finally points out that Joe Biden has cognitive issues. The vast majority of Americans already know this, but the U.S. media have been pretending not to know for well over a year. WATCH:
He may not have lost all his marbles, but there’s definitely a hole in the bag…
- Lumber prices inched over $1,000 per 1,000 board feet, according to Random Length Lumber Futures for March.
- That’s double the price from just three months ago.
- Starts of single-family homes, which are the most desperately needed, fell 12% compared with December, according to the U.S. Census.
(Diana Olick) Consumers want more newly built, affordable homes, but builders are finding that hard to deliver, especially as prices for framing lumber spike ever higher.
Lumber prices inched above $1,000 per 1,000 board feet Thursday morning before falling back below that milestone, according to Random Length Lumber Futures for March. The high of $1,004.90 is double the price from just three months ago and a record.
By abusing the powers of Federal regulators, Operation Choke Point 2.0 would stifle the bipartisanship, unity, and healing President Biden claims to desire.
(Kelsey Bolar) Among the record-breaking number of executive actions taken by President Joe Biden was one related to a little-known, frightening Obama-era program called Operation Choke Point. The program, dubbed so under former Attorney General Eric Holder, used the power of the federal government to target legal yet leftist-disfavored businesses. Those included gun sellers, pawnshops, and short-term money lenders.
The Trump administration did its best to end this blatantly unconstitutional program that sought to discriminate against legal industries. In 2017, the Justice Department declared the program “formally over.” At the end of Trump’s term, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency established the Fair Access rule to solidify its culmination.
But on Jan. 28, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under President Biden announced it would pause the Trump-era rule intended to prevent another Operation Choke Point from happening again.
(National File) During a recent television appearance on MSNBC, White House Senior COVID Response Advisor Andy Slavitt, who does not possess a medical background admitted the fact that California and other blue states under lockdown cannot record better infection numbers than comparatively free Florida is “just a little beyond our explanation.”
(National Addiction News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.
(Ramishah Maruf) After committing one of the “biggest blunders in banking history,” Citibank won’t be allowed to recover the almost half a billion dollars it accidentally wired to Revlon’s lenders, a US District Court judge ruled.
Citibank, which was acting as Revlon’s loan agent, meant to send about $8 million in interest payments to the cosmetic company’s lenders. Instead, Citibank accidentally wired almost 100 times that amount, including $175 million to a hedge fund. In all, Citi ( ) accidentally sent $900 million to Revlon’s lenders.
(Chris Black) Health officials have stopped administering the Pfizer vaccine after 46 residents of a nursing home in Spain have died after being inoculated with the Covid vaccine. The residents who died just received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 in early January, according to the Spanish press, via LifeSiteNews.
Medical Disclaimer: Content in this re-posted controversial opinion piece is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this blog. OK?
“As things stand at the moment, it is hard to deny the possibility of a correlation between mass vaccination and a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in both Israel and Britain.”
– Gilad Atzmon
The false gospel of collectivism and the True Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot coexist.
Let’s skip the whole bloody Civil War thing and instead jump to the Reconstruction Era. The Cultural and Spiritual Civil War has been going on for decades. We are standing in the ashes of it now. Time to reconstruct, reform, and rebuild for the Glory of God.
(by Dave Hodges) This is a time of unprecedented evil on planet earth. Many Americans are looking for refuge and direction with regard to dealing with unprecedented tyranny in our present lifetimes. Historically, Americans look to their church for salvation and direction. However, most of today’s churches have been taken over from within by the very evil we fear. Many of your religious leaders have become the newest version of Benedict Arnold with regard to their faith. In short, most 501(c)(3) churches do NOT represent God. Judas sold out the savior of humanity, Jesus Christ, for a mere thirty pieces of silver. Today, many religious leaders are selling out their congregations for even less. This is not meant to imply that there are not religious leaders who hold steadfastly to the word of God and stand as a beacon of spiritual and moral courage before their congregations. However, an increasing number of clergy are more interested in serving the dictates of Homeland Security than they are in accurately espousing and exemplifying the word of God. This betrayal by the “earthly” pastors towards the word of God, is precisely what is keeping the church from launching a massive Christian revival that would turn back the evil that has taken over our country.
(Neils Christensen) The debate between gold and bitcoin, as to which is the ultimate safe-haven and inflation hedge, continued to rage this past week. However, I feel that the longer this debate goes on, the more investors are missing the bigger picture.
The stark reality is that there is more than $16 trillion worth of negative-yielding debt floating around the world right now. The U.S. government continues to move forward with its proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package to support the U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve’s balance sheeting grows from record high to record high, pushing above $7.4 trillion.
The U.S. also isn’t in this boat alone; central banks around the world are maintaining extremely accommodative monetary policies and growing their balance sheets to record levels.
The Beehive State joins 16 other states that have adopted permitless constitutional concealed carry
(Frank Salvato) As the nation’s gun sales soar, the State of Utah has is set to adopt a permitless concealed carry system in which anyone legally permitted to own a firearm – from any state in the Union – can carry a firearm under his or her clothing while in the state.
- Premiums on physical silver coins are at records, and shortages are widespread internationally. This is only possible if silver futures are not priced for a sudden flood of monetary demand.
- Monetary demand tends to feed on itself, as the higher the price goes for a monetary asset like silver, the higher the demand for it goes, risking a dollar run.
- Monetary demand for silver suddenly woke up in early February, causing shortages and rare backwardation in silver that we last saw in March 2020, September 2015, and February 2011.
- After each of those backwardation periods, the paper price of silver skyrocketed within months as arbitrageurs moved in to bridge the physical/paper gap.
- This backwardation is most similar to February 2011, with silver nowhere near lows, and if history rhymes, it suggests we are only months away from $50 silver.
(Austrolib) Gold and silver bugs are understandably frustrated with the lack of movement on the silver price while Bitcoin goes beyond the moon. Demand for physical silver has skyrocketed, and physical shortages at coin dealers are acute internationally. New American Silver Eagles from the US Mint are out of stock at even the largest US-based dealers like Apmex, and are only selling in pre-sales at near 50% premiums. ATS Bullion, a London-based precious metals retailer, is completely out of silver coins.
(Tom Pappert) A 24-year-old man who says he graduated from college just before COVID-19 provoked massive lockdowns and a stagnant economy, now says that the cost of his insulin and other diabetic supplies have skyrocketed to $2,000. This comes after Joe Biden rescinded an executive order, signed by President Donald Trump, that lowered the cost of life sustaining insulin for low income Americans.
(Ronan Manley) With the ongoing #SilverSqueeze and huge associated dollar inflows into silver-backed Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), it is now time to look at which of these ETFs store their silver in the LBMA vaults in London, England, and to calculate how much physical silver these combined funds store in those London vaults.
- Silver and silver stocks’ explosive move higher was just a taste of what’s to come.
- The WallStreetBets call-to-action has brought wild action to the silver market, but supply/demand fundamentals will make future buying stick.
- Now, a much bigger share of investors is aware of the silver space.
- With falling supply and soaring demand, especially from investment, silver’s mania stage still lies ahead. This was just the opening act.
(Diana Olick) Communities are desperate for more affordable housing, but the cost for developers is just too high. Land, labor and materials were pricey before the pandemic, and they are even more so now.
That is why some creative developers are now turning to hotels – and it appears to be a match made in real estate heaven.
The Keystone pipeline. Cancelled by executive order on Biden’s on first day in office.
Warren Buffett owns BNSF railroad that is now transporting all that oil. BNSF would lose billions in transport fees if the pipeline is completed.
Officially, China has no specific policy for vaccinated travelers, according to Reuters.
China is reportedly denying entry to individuals who have taken the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Adam Curry of the “No Agenda” podcast claimed.
Physicians’ white paper says injection prohibited for the young and at least discouraged for healthy individuals under 70 years of age. ‘Unethical’ to advocate vaccine for persons under 50.
(Patrick Delaney) In an extraordinary recent presentation exposing “the serious and life-threatening disinformation campaign” being waged against the American people and the world, Dr. Simone Gold of the American Frontline Doctors (AFLD) laid out the facts on the Wuhan Virus, safe highly-effective treatments, and particularly what she calls “experimental biological agents,” otherwise referred to as the COVID-19 vaccines.
While all eyes have been focused on GameStop and a handful of other heavily-shorted stocks as they exploded higher under continuous fire from WallStreetBets traders igniting a short-squeeze coinciding with a gamma-squeeze, the last few days saw another asset suddenly get in the crosshairs of the ‘Reddit-Raiders’ – Silver.
Tensions spiked in the South China Sea and near Taiwan over this past weekend and have continued boiling since, after Chinese PLA aircraft made repeat in incursions into Taiwan’s claimed airspace. In response Taiwan’s Air Force scrambled jets in its own ‘show of strength’ deterrence message, and with the US aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt in the region, China’s Defense Ministry subsequently warned Taipei on Thursday that “independence means war”.
A new report in FT that broke overnight now reveals that the Sunday incident was even more alarming for the prospect of direct conflict than previously thought. FT cites unnamed intelligence sources to report that “Chinese military aircraft simulated missile attacks on a nearby US aircraft carrier during an incursion into Taiwan’s air defense zone three days after Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to intelligence from the US and its allies.”
(Simon Watkins) The geopolitically game-changing Goreh-Jask pipeline project saw a major advance last week with the commencement last week of offshore pipe-laying operations. The implementation of this operation markets the first stage of the offshore development of the Jask Oil Terminal and, according to the Pars Oil and Gas Company, this offshore section of the early-production phase of the project will be completed with the construction of two 36-inch offshore pipelines running for around 12 kilometres and a single buoy mooring with ancillary equipment. Overall, the company added, the early-production phase of the Jask Oil Terminal Development Project is 70 per cent complete, allowing the project to come online by late March.
Brokerages/Markets A CRIME IN PROGRESS FOR RETAIL INVESTORS
This is unacceptable.
We now need to know more about @RobinhoodApp’s decision to block retail investors from purchasing stock while hedge funds are freely able to trade the stock as they see fit.
As a member of the Financial Services Cmte, I’d support a hearing if necessary. https://t.co/4Qyrolgzyt
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 28, 2021
BOMBSHELL ALLEGATION: Man Claims To Be Robinhood Employee & Says The White House Pressured Halt of GameStop Trading
(Jeffrey A. Tucker) What a glorious thing the reopening is! After nearly a year of darkening times, the light has begun to dawn, at least in the U.S.
Given how incredibly political this pandemic has been from the beginning, many people smell a rat. Is it really the case that the reopening of the American economy, particularly in blue states, is so perfectly timed? Do the science and politics really line up so well?
After surged in October, US home prices (as measured by S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values) was expected to accelerate further as a low inventories of listings and solid demand, fueled by cheap borrowing costs, have given sellers more leeway to raise asking prices. And it did not disappoint as November (the latest data) showed the 20-City Composite Home Price Index soared 9.08% YoY… the fastest pace since May 2014.
(Joe Hoft) The 2020 election will go down as arguably the greatest fraud in world history. The tremendously popular incumbent candidate, President Trump, was easily winning the race on election night in a landslide and then suddenly multiple states took a break, quit counting, and by the end of the week the election was flipped to Joe Biden.
Multiple agencies are investigating the cause of death of an individual who died Thursday January 21st, hours after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office announced on Saturday.
(Jhanders) Soon to be confirmed, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made the case earlier this past week for many more trillions in stimulus and infrastructure spending. All, of course, will be financed out of thin air and rationalized given the viral shock to the economy and still current historically low-interest rate regime.
Of course, ours is not the only privately owned central bank in the world, creating currency out of thin air and adding to their balance sheet.
This year 2021, we can again expect the private Federal Reserve’s balance sheet to balloon as the US government rolls over and refinances a record $8.5 trillion in government IOUs.
Silver Gold Market Update
Simultaneously this week, as Janet Yellen was selling our spending many more trillions we have not saved, a record-sized one day inflow of over $1/2 billion showed up in the silver derivative markets.
Silver bulls are again laying down long bets assuming silver spot prices will rise given all the upcoming trillion in stimulus behind and ahead.
(Pam Key) Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser told “Just the News” on Friday that the Democratic-led Senate and House will vote in favor of statehood for the District of Columbia and send the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk, who has expressed support for D.C. statehood in the past.
Bowser said, “The nation’s capital, the federal enclave, continues to exist as the nation’s capital and everything outside of those new boundaries becomes the 51st state. Our congresswoman – we had our first successful vote on statehood in the House of Representatives last year. She reintroduced the bill. She has a record number of sponsors.”
She continued, “It is going to be reintroduced in the Senate in a couple of weeks, and we expect to have a favorable vote in the Senate as well, and then it goes to the president of the United States. We have made a big focus to President Biden to support D.C. statehood and make it part of his 100-day agenda.”
She added, “Just like you, we pay the same federal taxes as every citizen of the fifty states of the U.S. expect we do not have two senators. We literally have no one to speak for us in the Senate. We have to have full representation.”
(John Tanmy) It’s been said off and on over the decades that California is a bellwether of sorts. What happens there is a preview of what’s going to happen elsewhere in the U.S.
In the late 1970s the passage of Proposition 13 foretold a national tax revolt. Californians used a referendum to limit the tax power of grasping politicians in the Golden State, and the push back eventually went national.
A different, more local revolt began last weekend in Carlsbad, CA, a town just north of San Diego. Its restaurant and bar owners decided they’re weren’t going to take it anymore. They’re no longer going to allow witless politicians to destroy what they’ve worked so long to build. They’re going to open their businesses to eager customers.
The articles of impeachment concern Biden’s alleged actions involving a “quid pro quo” deal in Ukraine and alleged abuse of power “by allowing his son, Hunter Biden, to siphon off cash from America’s greatest enemies Russia and China,” Greene’s office announced in a statement just a day after Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president. Continue here, Epoch Times
Video: Biden’s Earpiece Says ‘Salute The Marines’, So He Says “Salute The Marines” Out Loud, Doesn’t Salute Them
Realtor.com’s top 10 housing markets for 2021 have substantial momentum from 2020 which they will carry into 2021. Continue onto their analysis here.
One of the greatest and most important political speeches in American history.
As the suspected death toll attributed to COVID-19 vaccines rises around the world, with dozens already reported in the US and Norway, California health officials have asked health-care providers in the state to immediately stop administering a batch of Moderna COVID-19 jabs after an “unusually high number” of adverse reactions were linked to it, according to RT.
(The Conservative Tree House) The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee finalizes a report [pdf available here] with evidence of Joe and Hunter Biden conducting financial deals with foreign governments. The report outlines how the Biden family sold access to government policy for personal financial benefit.
[Embed pdf Below] Considering the scale of evidence showing massive conflicts of interest, it is quite astounding that Joe Biden is currently ‘president-elect’…
(Kitco News) – Bitcoin is one of the most unequally distributed assets in the world, with just under half a percent of all bitcoin investors owning more than 80% of all bitcoins, and should they liquidate, the market could see a substantial sell-off, said Ryan Giannotto, director of Research at GraniteShares ETFs.
“It’s a major challenge for the asset class: it’s intended to be a financially democratizing force, yet it is so profoundly distributed in an unequal fashion. It’s really unlike anything we’ve ever seen. This is one of the perils of bitcoin investing that go unreported, undiscussed,” Giannotto said. “It is a seriously cornered asset class.”
Five hundredths of a percent of bitcoin investors control over 40% of all bitcoin, and just under half a percent of all bitcoin investors control over 5/6ths, or 83%, of bitcoin, he noted.
Most of these larger stakeholders, or “whales” as they are referred to as in the crypto community, are early adopters of bitcoin.
If these early adopters of bitcoin were to sell their holdings altogether, that would exceed the daily trading volume, effectively “wiping out” the asset, Giannotto said.
(Michael Finney) The amount of unemployment funds stolen from California taxpayers in 2020 may total more than $8 billion — four times higher than estimated just one month ago. The numbers are staggering; the solutions elusive. As our sister station KGO-TV found out, even states credited with cracking down on fraud have had issues. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve shared countless stories of struggling Californians desperate to get their unemployment benefits.
Washington, D.C.: Barriers going up — Troops are on the streets
Michael Yon is recognized as the most experienced American combat correspondent alive today.
(Michael Yon) I’ve been spending long days and nights with Rudy Giuliani and team. Historical times. As you know, I am not on the President’s team and never have been. I spent the vast majority of my time for last twenty years overseas, not prowling around D.C. I spent very little time in America for nearly any part of Bush, Obama, or Trump time in White House. Most of this time has been in some sort of war or conflict.
Those who follow my work for many years know that I am careful with my words, and that I am amazingly accurate on my stated predictions in conflicts. I have never seen any country that I am more sure is heading into revolution, and civil war. All compass needles point this direction.
One of the dishes at the banquet of consequences that will surprise a great many revelers is the systemic failure of the Federal Reserve’s one-size-fits-all “solution” to every spot of bother: print another trillion dollars and give it to rapacious financiers and corporations.
Liquidity must remain high, mortgage rates must remain suppressed and forbearance must be extended or poof, there goes the housing market. Continue reading
Jumping Ju Ju Bones, Congress Agrees to $2.3 TRILLION Spending Package, 900 BILLION COVID Bailout Plus $1.4 Trillion Omnibus Spending
Sweet baby Jesus – it’s flipping dejá vu all over again !!
Property investors are about to discover just how much the global fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has spread from deserted and cast-off buildings to their bottom lines.
(Tanay Warerkar) Yesterday, we reported that with in parallel with Andrew Cuomo’s decision to once again shut down indoor dining in New York starting Monday, more than half of the city’s restaurants are in danger of closing. Yet as Eater New York reports, many in the New York hospitality industry were dismayed by Cuomo’s decision as it followed close on the heels of new state data which showed that restaurants and bars in the state accounted for just 1.4% of cases over the last three months. While most were prepared for the ban to be announced this week, many felt the decision seemed to contradict the data.
“I don’t see any way of avoiding a great deal of pain in the commercial real estate market in 2021. It is almost inevitable. My friends at the Federal Reserve and FDIC are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with what’s going on in the commercial real estate world.”
Cam Fine, Former President of Independent Community Bankers of America
A dark covid winter is descending on the working-poor of America as millions of adults face eviction or foreclosure in the next few months. Bloomberg, citing a survey that was conducted on Nov. 9 by the U.S. Census Bureau, shows 5.8 million adults face eviction or foreclosure come Jan. 1. That accounts for 32.5% of the 17.8 million adults currently behind rent or mortgage payments.
California has an unexpected and welcome revenue windfall, but it creates a dilemma on what to do with it.
(Dan Walters) As Gov. Gavin Newsom makes the final decisions on writing a 2021-22 budget, he’s receiving some good revenue news from his bean counters.
During the first four months of the 2020-21 budget cycle, which began on July 1, state general fund revenues were more than $11 billion higher than the apocalyptic estimates on which the budget was based. Moreover, the windfall could easily double to $26 billion in the first months of 2021, according to the Legislature’s budget analyst, Gabe Petek.
Mortgage Delinquencies Fall To 7.65% While Mortgage Foreclosures Decline To 0.59% (Covid /= Disaster For Mortgage Markets)
LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. investment bank JPMorgan expects the S&P500 index to surge to 3,900 points if U.S. President Donald Trump is re-elected next week, calling such an outcome the most favorable for stock markets.
A rise to 3,900 would mark a 12.6% jump from Friday’s closing level.
The odds of a “blue wave” have narrowed slightly since mid-October. Former vice president Joe Biden has a substantial lead in national opinion polls, although the contest is closer in battleground states likely to decide the race.
Within sectors, JPM sees beaten down energy and financial stocks to likely be key beneficiaries of a Trump victory, while a Biden win could trigger a rotation from U.S. growth stocks to non U.S. growth stocks, given the risk of higher taxes.
“We find that energy, financials and healthcare sectors could likely see the most outsized moves as they have been explicitly referenced by each candidate on the campaign trail,” the bank added.
Terminal (Money) Velocity? The Missing Existing Home Sales Inventory And Collapsing Money Velocity
(Anthony B. Sanders) Have you ever wondered why the inventory of existing home sales have crashed since the housing bubble of the early/mid 2000s?
If I overlay the median price of existing home sales with low inventory and low money velocity, we get surging prices.
Poor Kristy Swanson.
When we recently described the upcoming “Unprecedented monetary overhaul” which will come in the form of the Fed sending out digital dollars directly to “each American”, we explained that “absent a massive burst of inflation in the coming years which inflates away the hundreds of trillions in federal debt, the debt tsunami that is coming would mean the end to the American way of life as we know it. And to do that, the Fed is now finalizing the last steps of a process that revolutionizes the entire fiat monetary system, launching digital dollars which effectively remove commercial banks as financial intermediaries, as they will allow the Fed itself to make direct deposits into Americans’ “digital wallets”, in the process enabling truly universal basic income, while also making Congress and the entire Legislative branch redundant, as a handful of technocrats quietly take over the United States.”
European equities slumped to near one-month lows on Thursday, as soaring COVID-19 cases across the continent weighed on sentiment. In recent months, virus cases have spiked across Europe, with Spain becoming the first country on the continent to surpass the one million infection mark. At the same time, Italy has just set a record increase in daily cases.
The surge in European coronavirus cases has shifted sentiment lower for businesses, with downside risks emerging for the continent’s economy in the fourth quarter.
Bloomberg, citing a new McKinsey & Co. survey conducted in August, describes a particularly gloomy outlook for Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses, warns that at least half of them could enter into bankruptcy proceedings in the next year if revenues continue to stagnate.
Existing home sales soared 9.4% MoM in September, almost double the +5.0% expectation.
This is the highest level of sales since May 2006…
Now that’s a ‘V’…
Median home prices soared 14.8% from last year to $311,800 amid a tumble in inventory to just 2.7 months supply.
Days before the State of Wisconsin denied Foxconn’s request for state tax credits – in the form of direct payments from the state to Foxconn’s bank account – related to the “factory” built by the world’s largest contract tech manufacturer in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. The project was announced shortly after President Trump’s upset election victory, but quickly ran aground as reporters complained that the facility being built by Foxconn bore little resemblance to the enormous Gen 10.5 LCD factory the company had promised.
(ZeroHedge) In what remains the most under covered financial topic of the year, if not century, we remind readers that starting about a year ago, central banks around the world launched an unprecedented if stealthy attempt to overhaul the entire monetary architecture of fiat money by implementing digital dollars, a transformation to a cashless society which in recent months has also received the tacit support of Congress, which is actively drafting bills to send “digital dollars” to the unbanked. For those just catching up, read the following recent articles:
The effects of allowing chaos to prevail in liberal run cities across America might not be obvious to liberals now, but when their cities empty out completely, it’s going to become crystal clear.
Such is the case in San Francisco, where the city’s new normal of shoplifting and chaos has driven another Walgreens pharmacy out of the city.
The move to close the Walgreens at Van Ness and Eddy came after “months of seeing its shelves repeatedly cleaned out by brazen shoplifters”, according to the SF Chronicle. The location served “many older people” who lived in the area.
One customer told the paper: “All of us knew it was coming. Whenever we go in there, they always have problems with shoplifters.”
The same customer photographed someone in the store, days prior, “clearing a couple shelves and placing the goods into a backpack”. Because when there’s no police and politicians are afraid to enforce the law – why not?
The penalty for shoplifting is a “nonviolent misdemeanor” that carries a maximum sentence of 6 months. But in most cases, for simple shoplifting, the criminal is simply released with conditions.
The customer, who lives a block away, said: “I feel sorry for the clerks, they are regularly being verbally assaulted. The clerks say there is nothing they can do. They say Walgreens’ policy is to not get involved. They don’t want anyone getting injured or getting sued, so the guys just keep coming in and taking whatever they want.”
Well, you have to laugh really. Amid the greatest economic contraction in US history, rising social unrest, ongoing extreme unemployment, and demands for further trillions in handouts from the government (or the world will come to an end), there is one group that is ‘loving it’!
According to the National Association of Home Builders, home builder sentiment has surged to a new record high at 85 in October…
The October reading was stronger than the expected 83, and marked the sixth straight month builder sentiment has exceeded the consensus estimate.
By region, builder sentiment in the West and Northeast rose to the highest levels on record, while confidence eased in the South and Midwest.
The NAHB’s gauge of current single-family home sales rose by 2 points to a record 90 in October, while a measure of the outlook for purchases climbed 3 points to an all-time high of 88. The group’s index of prospective buyer traffic held at 74.
“The concept of ‘home’ has taken on renewed importance for work, study and other purposes in the Covid era,” Chuck Fowke, chairman of NAHB, said in a statement.
“However, it is becoming increasingly challenging to build affordable homes as shortages of lots, labor, lumber and other key building materials are lengthening construction times.”
Home buyer sentiment has rebounded but remains drastically below previous peak levels…
Does make one wonder…maybe we should have pandemics (and riots) more often?
(by Graham Allison) China has now displaced the U.S. to become the largest economy in the world. Measured by the more refined yardstick that both the IMF and CIA now judge to be the single best metric for comparing national economies, the IMF Report shows that China’s economy is one-sixth larger than America’s ($24.2 trillion versus the U.S.’s $20.8 trillion). Why can’t we admit reality? What does this mean?
While the rapid deterioration in diplomatic relations between the US and China has been put on hiatus until after the election, at which point Beijing hopes that a Biden administration would promptly restore amicable relations between Beijing and DC, trade relations within the Pacific Rim region are getting worse by the day, with nobody getting more impacted by China’s desire to flex its muscles than Australia: escalating bilateral tensions have resulted in China’s “unofficially” asking cotton and ore traders to stop buying products from Australia.
After slowing its rebound dramatically in August, analysts expected another small lift in September, but Industrial Production disappointed gravely, falling 0.6% MoM (against expectations of +0.5%)…
The big driver of the plunge in industrial production was utilities (plunging 5.6%) as demand for air conditioning fell by more than usual in September. Mining production increased 1.7 percent in September; even so, it was 14.8 percent below a year earlier….
US manufacturing also dropped in September, sliding 0.3% MoM (against expectations for a 0.6% rise)…
This leaves US Industrial Production unchanged since May 2006…
The “V” recovery is over!
On Thursday, China for the first time sold dollar-denominated bonds directly to US buyers and with the Chinese 10Y offering a record 2.5% pickup in yield compared to 10Y Treasuries, it’s hardly a surprise that demand was off the charts.
The $6 billion bond offering which took place in Hong Kong, drew record demand, in part due to the attractive yield offered by Chinese paper and in part due to China’s impressive recovery from the coronavirus, with an orderbook more than $27 billion, or roughly $10 billion more than an offering of the same size last November, according to the FT, which added about 15% of the offering went to American investors.
The $6BN USD-denominated bond offering was as follows:
- $1.25BN in 3-year dollar bonds at 0.425%
- $2.25BN 5-year dollar bonds at 0.604%
- $2BN 10-year dollar bonds at 1.226%
- $500MM 30-year dollar bonds at 2.310%
The yield on the 10-year bond was about 0.5% above the equivalent US Treasury, and helped the bond sales receive “a strong reception from US onshore real money investors”, said Samuel Fischer, head of China onshore debt capital markets at Deutsche Bank, which helped arrange the deal. Other arrangers of the bond sale included Standard Chartered, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.
What was unique about today’s offering is that unlike previous issuance, “the debt was sold under a mechanism that gave institutional investors in the US the chance to buy in.”
Somewhat surprising is that frictions between Beijing and Washington had no impact “at all” on demand from US buyers, which included an American pension fund, one banker told the FT. In fact, the strategic timing of the bond sale which was arranged by the Chinese government just weeks before Americans head to the polls for the presidential election was meant to show “how tightly the financial systems of the two countries are linked, despite a trade war and tensions over technology and geopolitics.”
“This is the investor community showing confidence in [China’s] recovery,” said another banker on the sale, who added that “US investor participation in Chinese paper is not reduced by any means.”
Analyst responses were broadly enthusiastic about the offering:
Hayden Briscoe, head of fixed income for Asia Pacific at UBS Asset Management, said the bonds would help “set the benchmark” for Chinese corporates such as petrochemical groups Sinopec and Sinochem, which also borrow in dollars. “A lot of their expenses are in US dollars, and they borrow in the dollar market to match funds to that.”
He added that the bonds benefited from strong demand partly due to their scarcity value. “There’s so few of them and they suit sovereign wealth fund type buyers — they tend to just disappear.”
If you are making less than $3,000 a month, you have plenty of company, because about half of the country is in the exact same boat. The Social Security Administration just released new wage statistics for 2019, and they are pretty startling. To me, the most alarming thing in the entire report is the fact that the median yearly wage was just $34,248.45 last year. In other words, half of all American workers made less than $34,248.45 in 2019, and half of all American workers made more than $34,248.45. That isn’t a whole lot of money. In fact, when you divide $34,248.45 by 12 you get just $2,854.05.
In a world where over $16 trillion in debt now trades with negative yields…
… the US remains one of the outliers where nominal yields are still positive (if not for too long). Still, with rates in the US remaining caught in a tight range, and as bank funding conditions increasingly normalize, it means that yields on mortgages continue to shrink, and sure enough according to the latest Freddie Mac data, the average yield for a 30-year, fixed loan dropped to 2.81%, down from 2.87% last week, which was not only the lowest in almost 50 years of data-keeping, but also the 10th record low this year. The previous all time low – 2.86% – held for about a month.
The availability of record cheap loans – which is unlikely to change with the Fed signaling it will hold its benchmark rate near zero through at least 2023 – has fueled a home buying spree which while bolstering the pandemic economy, has resulted in yet another bubble (for more details see Visualizing The U.S. Housing Frenzy In 34 Charts)
Meanwhile, the surging demand for the scarce supply of properties on the market is pushing up prices, putting home ownership out of reach for many Americans, and leading to even greater wealth inequality which, as a reminder, is how we got here in the first place. Adding insult to injury, lenders have tightened credit standards to near record levels, presenting another potential obstacle for would-be buyers.
“It’s important to remember that not all people are able to take advantage of low rates, given the effects of the pandemic,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in the statement.
First JPMorgan admitted that over 500 of its generously paid employees had “illegally pocketed” covid-relief funds and then summarily fired most of them – and now it’s chronic lawbreaking recidivist Wells Fargo’s turn.
The bank, whose stock tumbled today after reporting dismal results and then was hit with even more selling after cutting its net interest income outlook, has fired more than 100 employees for illegally getting covid relief funds which were meant to help small businesses, Bloomberg reported citing a person familiar.
Warren Buffett’s favorite bank uncovered dozens of employees who defrauded the Small Business Administration “by making false representations in applying for coronavirus relief funds for themselves,” according to an internal memo reviewed by Bloomberg. Similar to JPMorgan, the abuse was tied to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and was outside the employees’ roles at the bank, according to the memo.
“We have terminated the employment of those individuals and will cooperate fully with law enforcement,” David Galloreese, Wells Fargo’s head of human resources, said in the memo. Wells Fargo’s actions follow JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s finding that more than 500 employees tapped the EIDL program which hands out as much as $10,000 in emergency advances that don’t have to be repaid, and dozens did so improperly.
The bank “will continue to look into these matters,” Galloreese added, saying the employees’ abuse didn’t involve customers… for once. “If we identify additional wrongdoing by employees, we will take appropriate action.”
As Bloomberg notes banks were urged by the SBA to look out for suspicious deposits from the EIDL program to their customers and even their own staff, after an analysis identified that at least $1.3 billion was sent out from the SBA for suspicious payments. While the program offers loans to businesses, much of the concern has focused on its advances of as much as $10,000 that don’t have to be repaid.
Wells Fargo is best known for its role in a massive account fraud scandal in which the bank created millions of fraudulent savings and checking accounts on behalf of Wells Fargo clients without their consent over a 14-year period. The fallout led to the bank paying $3 billion to settle criminal charges and former CEO John Stumpf losing his job after a historic Congressional grilling, while also agreeing pay a personal $17.5 million fine. In 2018, Wells Fargo agreed to an unprecedented consent order from the Fed which capped the size of its balance sheet and limited how many loans the bank can issue, one of the factors behind the dismal performance of its stock in recent years, which even prompted Warren Buffett to finally dump some of his Wells Fargo holdings.
With few buyers willing to take a risk, credit bids become far more common in bankruptcy sales, says RB’s The Bottom Line.
(Jonathan Maze) Last week, California Pizza Kitchen canceled its auction after no worthy bidders came forward to buy the casual-dining chain. The result: The company will likely end up in the hands of its lenders.
That came the same week that Ruby Tuesday started its bankruptcy process with a plan that hands the keys to the chain to its lenders.
Indeed, several companies that have filed for bankruptcy since the pandemic have ended up sold in credit bids. CraftWorks, the owner of Logan’s Roadhouse and Old Chicago that declared bankruptcy before the pandemic, was sold through a credit bid in May. Aurify Brands acquired both Le Pain Quotidien and Mayson Kaiser by first acquiring the debt for the two brands and then using that to take over the company.
To get an idea of why this is happening now, we asked Petition, a journalist who covers corporate bankruptcies and restructuring, to get an idea of what’s going on.
“With too many restaurants per capita pre-pandemic and uncertainty about COVID-19 heading into winter, strategic buyers are scurrying to their foxholes to avoid the shakeout,” they said. “Existing lenders have no choice but to play out their option, hoping that less competition, strong digital adoption and execution, a slimmer balance sheet, a reduced footprint and focused management will bridge them to an industry comeback.”
To be sure, the companies above occupy some of the most challenging sectors or sub-sectors during the pandemic.
Both Le Pain Quotidien and Maison Kayser, for instance, are bakery-cafe concepts in urban areas. Those types of concepts face an uncertain future thanks to empty offices as consumers work from home, along with a potential flight of residents toward the suburbs.
Ruby Tuesday has been struggling and shrinking for more than a decade. It has closed nearly half of its units since 2017 and is less than a third of the size it was back in 2008. Bar and grill casual dining itself faces significant questions—TGI Fridays, once the leading casual-dining chain, is also shrinking.
California Pizza Kitchen is another casual-dining chain. But it was built around pizza. Consumers have shifted much of their pizza consumption to delivery, leaving full-service pizza concepts behind.
Buyers simply aren’t ready to take the plunge on those types of concepts. The business for dine-in sales is weak. It is also expected to remain weak for some time. That leaves the companies with little choice but to hand the keys to the lenders and walk away.
Any buyer of such chains will want that company reduced to only the most profitable locations. And they’re going to want that company for a considerably smaller price than the face value of the secured debt.
A lot of investors live to buy concepts through credit bids. They buy the secured debt on the secondary market, often for considerably discounted prices—lenders, believing they’ll be unlikely to get their money back and eager to get an unworkable loan off the books, will sometimes sell the debt at a discount.
Investors step in and buy the debt cheap. That can give them the inside track when a company ends up in bankruptcy. If a buyer willing to pay the face value of the debt emerges during an auction, the investor can make money based on the discount they paid for that debt. If not, they get the chain and can run it until the situation improves.
But such sales can often prolong the life of a chain that wouldn’t survive on its own, extending the life of “zombie” chains that aren’t growing and aren’t innovating and simply exist. The pandemic, of course, is creating zombies in all sorts of industries. Restaurant chains included.
Best ‘K’ shaped economic recovery ever…
ZeroHedge observed many times throughout the pandemic that the coronavirus-related lock downs, especially as impacting restaurants, bars, theaters and other night venues, have made living in already expensive big cities like New York much less attractive.
It appears this trend of people ‘escaping’ the big cities as the prime lure of being there has largely evaporated — also after a summer of chaotic race and police shooting related protests and mayhem — is poised to hit San Francisco, despite it previously witnessing steady population growth over the past three decades. New tax numbers freshly out suggest a major exodus is already in progress.
But for the first time in recent history, and as the city’s large tech employers like Google, Facebook and Uber have kept their employees at home working remotely, city data shows that “Sales tax data shows San Francisco’s population likely declined during the coronavirus pandemic,” according the city’s chief economist Ted Egan.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports a whopping shortfall in revenue, detailing that “From April to June, the city’s sales tax revenue dropped to $30.8 million, down 43% from the prior year.”
While this is the kind of thing other cities have naturally also experienced over the course of pandemic closures of venues, many have been able to close the gap given simultaneous growth in taxable online sales as households turned to Amazon, Wal Mart and other home delivery services.
Not so with San Francisco, however, the report underscores:
San Francisco’s taxable online sales were up only 1% in that three-month period compared to the same period a year ago, while other California cities saw gains over 10% as people ordered more home deliveries. The modest increase likely shows that residents left the city entirely and weren’t at home to receive packages, Egan said.
“We’re the worst in the state,” he said. “That’s a sign to me that people aren’t here.”
No doubt compounding the trend is the past years of perhaps the most left-wing city policies in the country, a reflection of what conservatives derisively write off as “San Francisco values” and what even NPR has lately dubbed “San Francisco Squalor”.
After all, who really wants to pay a million dollars for some posh condominium in the city, only to walk out into needle and feces strewn streets?
Restaurant and bar sales were down 65% as indoor dining was prohibited, while food and drug store sales were down 8%. (Food staples at grocery stores aren’t taxed but prepared meals and other items are.)
Considering too that major tech companies like Microsoft are using the pandemic to make dramatic changes like allowing most employees to work from home on a permanent basis, it doesn’t look like those making a recent ‘escape’ from San Francisco will be moving back anytime soon.
With COVID-19 tanking tourism, Las Vegas saw the biggest jump in apartment tenants who have stopped paying rent.
In September, 10.6% of Vegas tenants missed a rent payment, up from 4.1% a year earlier, the largest increase in the U.S., according to data on the top 50 metropolitan areas from RealPage Inc. New Orleans, also heavily dependent on tourism, had the highest overall share of people not paying, at 12.9%, up from 8.6%.
Tenants are most likely to stop paying in areas with the hardest-hit economies, including expensive cities from Los Angeles and Seattle to New York, where unemployment benefit payments aren’t enough to cover high rents and living expenses.
“There’s more stress in hospitality-focused and expensive markets,” said Greg Willett, chief economist at RealPage. “The wild card in everything is what happens in the economy and what happens in the economy is dependent on what happens with the pandemic.”
Across the U.S., rent payments have remained relatively stable, with 7.8% failing to pay in September, up 1.5 percentage points from a year ago, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council.
The data covers tenants who still occupy their units and doesn’t include single-family rentals. It’s from professionally managed buildings and more representative of large landlords. Smaller ones tend to own older buildings with poorer tenants more vulnerable to job loss.
(Bryan Horwath) The median sale price of existing homes in the Las Vegas area grew to record high $337,250 in September, according to a monthly report from Las Vegas Realtors.
That’s an increase of 9% from September of last year, and a bump of about $2,000 from August.
The median price for September sets a new all-time for the region, though a shortage of inventory has led to an unbalanced market despite near all-time low mortgage rates.
The continued rise of home prices has come despite a global pandemic that has decimated the region’s tourism-based economy.
“Local home prices keep setting records, which is remarkable when you think about the challenges we’re facing,” said Tom Blanchard, president of Las Vegas Realtors and a longtime area agent. “The pause during the beginning of the pandemic seems to have pushed the traditional summer sales season into the fall.”
For town homes and condominiums, the median sale price for a unit in September was $195,500, which represented a 14% increase from September 2019.
With Gov. Steve Sisolak’s order that allowed open houses to resume earlier this month, Blanchard said he envisions the potential for market activity in the coming weeks and months.
“We’ll see if we can sustain this momentum heading into next year,” Blanchard said. “We’re also dealing with a housing shortage, with no signs of that changing anytime soon.”
The number of homes available for sale remains “well below” the six-month supply that’s generally considered to represent a balanced market. At the end of last month, just under 4,800 homes — not including condos or town homes — were listed for sale without an offer, down 35% from September 2019.
Cantillion Effect Explained:
(Christopher Whalen) Watching the talking heads pondering the next move in US interest rates, we are often amazed at the domestic perspective that dominates these discussions. Just as the Federal Open Market Committee never speaks about foreign anything when discussing interest rate policy, so too most observers largely ignore the offshore markets. Yen, dollar and euro LIBOR spreads are shown below.
Zoltan Pozsar, the influential money-market strategist at Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), warns that the short-end of the US money markets are likely to be awash in cash over the end-of-year liquidity hump. Unlike the unpleasantness in 2018, for example, we may see instead a surfeit of lending as banks scramble for yield in a wasteland bereft of duration. Would that it were so.
The Pozsar view does not exactly fit well with the rising rate, end of the world scenario popular in some corners of the financial media ghetto. The 10-year note is certainly rising and with it the 30-year mortgage rate. Indeed, Pozsar reminds CS clients that yen/$ swaps are now yielding well-above Treasury yields for seven years. Hmm.
We believe short-term rates will remain low in the US, even as offshore demand for dollars soars. If the 10-year Treasury backs up much further, then we’d look for the FOMC to act on some calls by governors to buy longer duration securities. That is, a very direct and large scale increase in QE and particularly on the long end of the curve.
We expect that Chairman Powell knows that underneath the comfortable blanket of low interest rates lie some truly appalling credit problems ahead for the global economy, the US banking sector and also for private debt and equity investors. We expect the low interest rate environment to drive volumes in corporate debt and residential mortgages, even as other sectors like ABS languish and commercial real estate gets well and truly crushed.
“The pandemic is putting unprecedented stress on CMBS markets that even the Fed is having difficulty offsetting,” writes Ralph Delguidice at Pavilion Global Markets.
“Limited reserves are being exhausted even as rent collection and occupancy levels remain serious issues… Bondholders expecting cash are getting keys instead, and in our view, ratings downgrades and significant losses are now only a formality.”
We noted several months ago that the resolution of the credit collapse in commercial mortgage backed securities or CMBS will be very different from when a bank owns the mortgage. As we discussed with one banker this week over breakfast in Midtown Manhattan, holding the mortgage and even some equity in a prime property allows for time to recover value.
With CMBS, the “AAA” tranche is first in line, thus the seniors have no incentive to make nice with the subordinate investors. The deals will liquidate, the property will be sold and the junior bond investors will take 100% losses. But as Delguidice and others note with increasing frequency, this time around the “AAA” investors are getting hit too. More to come.
Meanwhile, over in the relative calm of the agency collateral markets, large, yield hungry money center banks led by Wells Fargo & Co are deploying liquidity to buy billions of dollars in delinquent government loans out of MBS pools.
The bank buys the asset and gives the investor par, with a smidgen of interest. Market now has more cash, but less cash than it had before buying the mortgage bond in the first place. Why? Because it likely took a loss on the transaction. Buy at 109. Prepayment at par six months later. You get the idea.
In fact, if you look at the Treasury yield curve, rates are basically lying flat along the bottom of the chart out to 48 months. Why? Because this nice fellow named Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, along with many other buyers, are gobbling up the available supply of risk free assets inside of five years.
Spreads on everything from junk bonds to agency mortgage passthroughs are contracting, suggesting that the private bid for paper remains strong. When you look at the fact that implied valuations for new production MBS and mortgage servicing rights (MSR) have been rising since July, this even though prepayment rates are astronomical, certainly implies that there is a great deal of cash sitting on the sidelines.
Remember that the price of an MSR is not just about cash flows and prepayments, but it’s also about default rates and the relationship with the consumer. We described in our last missive for The IRA Premium Service (“The Bear Case for Mortgage Lenders”), that a rising rate environment could generate catastrophic losses for residential lenders, particularly in the government loan market. We write:
“For both investors and risk professionals operating in the secondary mortgage market, the next several years contain both great opportunities and considerable risks. We look for the top lenders and servicers to survive the coming winter of default resolution that must inevitably follow a period of low interest rates by the FOMC. The result of the inevitable consolidation will be fewer, larger IMBs.”
Don’t get distracted by the rising rate song from the Street. We don’t look for short or medium term interest rates to rise in the near term or frankly for years. Agency 1.5% coupons “did not find a place in the latest Fed’s purchase schedule. It is possible (they) are included in the next update,” writes Nomura this week. This seems a pretty direct prediction of lower yields. But as one veteran mortgage operator cautions The IRA: “Not just yet.”
We don’t think that the Fed is going to take its foot off the short end of the curve anytime soon, in part because the system simply cannot withstand a sustained period of rising rates. In fact, we note that our friends at SitusAMC are adding 1.5% MBS coupons to forward rate models this month. But that does not necessarily mean that mortgage rates will fall any time soon.
We hear that the Fed of New York has bought a few 1.5s in recent days, but supply is sorely lacking. You see, the mortgage industry is not quite ready to print many new 1.5% MBS coupons and will not do so anytime soon. As the chart above suggests, mortgage rates are in fact rising. Why? Is not the FOMC in charge of the U.S mortgage market?
No, the market rules. Today you can make more money selling a new 1-4 family residential mortgage into a 2.5% coupon from Fannie, Freddie or Ginnie Mae at 105. You book a five point gain on sale and are therefore a hero. And a year from now, after the liquidity does in fact migrate down to 1.5s c/o the beneficence of the FOMC, you can again be a hero.
Specifically, you call up that same borrower and refinance the mortgage into a brand new 1.5% Fannie, Freddie or Ginnie Mae at 105. You take another five point gain on sale. Right? And who paid for this blessed optionality? The Bank of Japan, Peoples Bank of China, and PIMCO, among many other fortunate global investors.
These multinational holders of US mortgage bonds may not like negative returns on risk free American assets, but that’s life in the big city. And thankfully for Chairman Powell, it’s not his problem. Many years ago, a friend in the mortgage market said of loan repurchase demands from Fannie Mae: “What do you want from me?”
(Calculated Risk) Note: Both Black Knight and the MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) are putting out weekly estimates of mortgages in forbearance.
This data is as of October 6th.
From Forbearances See: Largest Single Week Decline Yet
After a slight uptick last week, active forbearance volumes plummeted over the past seven days, falling by 649K from the week prior. An 18% reduction in the number of active forbearances, this represents the largest single-week decline since the beginning of the pandemic and its related fallout in the U.S. housing market.
New data from Black Knight’s McDash Flash Forbearance Tracker shows that as the first wave of forbearances from April are hitting the end of their initial six-month term, the national forbearance rate has decreased to 5.6%. This figure is down from 6.8% last week, with active forbearances falling below 3 million for the first time since mid-April.
This decline noticeably outpaced the 435K weekly reduction we saw when the first wave of cases hit the three-month point back in July.
As of October 6, 2.97 million homeowners remain in COVID-19-related forbearance plans, representing $614 billion in unpaid principal.
… Though the market continues to adjust to historic and unprecedented conditions, these are clear signs of long-term improvement. We hope to see a continuation of the promising trend of forbearance reduction in the coming weeks, as an additional 800K forbearance plans are slated to reach the end of their initial six-month term in the next 30 days.
Central banks are weighing their own digital currencies – this is what they could look like
(Ryan Browne) LONDON — After Facebook shocked policymakers with its plan to launch a digital currency last year, central banks have been forging ahead with discussions on how they could create their own virtual money.
Now, they’ve come up with a rough framework for how such a system could work. On Friday, the Bank for International Settlements and seven central banks including the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and the Bank of England published a report laying out some key requirements for central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs.
Among the recommendations the central banks made were that CBDCs compliment — but not replace — cash and other forms of legal tender, and that they support rather than harm monetary and financial stability. They said digital currencies should also be secure, as cheap as possible — if not free — to use and “have an appropriate role for the private sector.”
The report on CBDCs comes as various central banks around the world consider their own respective digital currencies. Blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptoc urrencies such as bitcoin, has been touted as a potential solution. However, crypto currencies have drawn a lot of scrutiny from central bankers, with many concerned they open the door to illicit activities like money laundering.
In China, a country where digital wallets like Alipay and WeChat Pay have seen widespread adoption, the central bank is already partnering with a handful of private sector companies to trial an electronic currency it’s been working on for years. Meanwhile, Sweden’s central bank is working with consulting firm Accenture to pilot its proposed “e-krona” currency.
“A design that delivers these features can promote more resilient, efficient, inclusive and innovative payments,” said Benoit Coeure, the former European Central Bank official who now leads BIS’ innovation efforts.
“Although there will be no ‘one size fits all’ CBDC due to national priorities and circumstances, our report provides a springboard for further development of workable CBDCs.”
It’s worth emphasizing that these central banks aren’t taking a stance yet on whether they and other institutions should issue digital currencies; they’re still looking into whether such virtual currencies are feasible. Advocates for digital currencies say they could enhance financial inclusion by on boarding people without access to a bank account. But there are concerns this could leave out commercial banks.
Central bank work around digital currencies appeared to gather steam last year after Facebook introduced its own version — libra — which is backed by a coalition of companies including Uber and Spotify. The troubled project was met with an intense regulatory backlash as well the departure of high-profile backers like Mastercard and Visa. The group overseeing the initiative, called the Libra Association, has since scaled back its approach, opting for multiple currency-pegged cryptocurrencies instead of the previously proposed single digital coin backed by multiple currencies.
Something odd happened to the US economy in the past two months as many in the media, the political establishment and even various Fed hacks (recall on August 3 Neel Kashkari Saying Only Way To “Save Economy” Is To Lock It Down “Really Hard” For 6 Weeks), were feverishly counting the daily new US covid cases and warning that only a new shutdown could spare the US from imminent disaster: it has almost fully reopened and according to real-time indicators, it is now recovering at a far faster pace than most had expected (as the Fed’s latest economic projections confirmed).
And nowhere is this more visible than in the US restaurant space where with various exceptions – most notably across Manhattan where policy seems to change on a daily if not hourly basis – spending appears to be almost back to pre-covid levels.
In an analysis conducted by BofA analysts looking at daily restaurant trends through September 26th, the Bank of America aggregated credit and debit data showed national restaurant spending improving another 1.7% to down 8% (for the seven days ended September 26th) from a down 9% (from the week prior). While the BofA analysts note that performance on weekends continues to lag weekdays by about 1%-2%, the trend is clear: we are almost back to normalcy.
Prince Harry could face a ‘monumental’ tax bill unless he takes a break from his £11 million Californian mansion next month, according to experts.
The Prince moved to Los Angeles with his wife Meghan and their baby son Archie in early May after leaving a rented mansion in Vancouver, Canada, in March.
The couple were first reported to be staying at a sprawling Beverly Hills mansion owned by TV producer Tyler Perry on May 7 – meaning that, as of today, Harry has been in the US for at least 151 days. If he reaches 183 days he is legally liable to pay taxes there.Continue reading
According to real estate analytics company Zumper, the exodus, out of San Francisco has been so great, that the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment collapsed more than 20% in September from a year ago to $2,830. Month over month, September rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city fell by 7%.
The good news keeps rolling on!
Hispanic homeowership rate have soared to the highest level EVER.
At the same time, the black homeownership rate has soared to the highest level since The Great Recession.
The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday that lenders who make Paycheck Protection Program loans that are later forgiven under the CARES Act should not file information returns or furnish payee statements to report the forgiveness.
In Announcement 2020-12, the IRS said that when all or a portion of the stated principal amount of a covered loan is forgiven because the recipient satisfies the forgiveness requirements under section 1106 of the CARES Act, an entity isn’t required to, “for federal income tax purposes only,” and should not, file a Form 1099-C information return with the IRS or provide a payee statement to the recipient as a result of the forgiveness.
The IRS noted that filing such information returns with the IRS could result in the issuance of under reporter notices on the IRS’s Letter CP2000 to eligible recipients, and furnishing payee statements to those recipients could therefore cause confusion. The IRS issued the announcement with the goal of preventing such confusion.
The announcement may lead to some confusion anyway, however, as the transparency around the PPP loans has been the subject of some wrangling in Congress. Earlier this year, Democrats pressured the Small Business Administration to release more information about the recipients of the loans. Some information eventually came out in the form of spreadsheets, but the data proved to be inaccurate in many cases. Earlier this month, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division charged 57 defendants with PPP-related fraud and has identified nearly 500 people suspected of COVID-related loan fraud.
While the rebound in existing home sales is expected to slow (from the massive beat: +24.7% MoM surge in July), analysts still expected SAAR to extend its gains to the highest since 2006… and it did.
As expected, Existing Home Sales rose 2.4% MoM in August to 6.00mm SAAR – the highest since Dec 2006
Over the past 6 months ZeroHedge has repeatedly discussed the plight of commercial real estate which unlike most other financial assets, failed to benefit from a Fed bailout or backstop (but that may soon change). It culminated in June when we wrote that the “Unprecedented Surge In New CMBS Delinquencies Heralds Commercial Real Estate Disaster.” The ongoing crisis in structured debt backed by commercial real estate in general and hotel properties in particular, prompted Wall Street to launch the “Big Short 3.0“ trade: betting against hotel-backed loans, which had the broadest representation in the CMBX 9 index, whose fulcrum BBB- series has continued to slide even as the broader market rebounded.
As we noted last month, the US housing market is reflecting the extremes of the economy right now – between those who can’t make ends meet due to the pandemic, and those who are either still employed, are sitting on a pile of equity, or both.
One one end of the spectrum you’ve got affluent borrowers locking in record-low rates, while mortgage originations reached a record $1.1 trillion in the second quarter as rates on 30-year mortgages dipped below 3% for the first time in history in July, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, refis may just be getting started.
There are still nearly 18 million homeowners with good credit and at least 20% equity who stand to cut at least 0.75% off their current rate by refinancing, according to Ben Graboske, president of Black Knight data and analytics.
“We would expect near-record-low interest rates to continue to buoy the market,” he said in a statement Tuesday. –Bloomberg
What’s impressive is that the quarterly spike in new mortgage originations occurred while under nationwide public health measures that restricted home showings, appraisals, and in-person document signings, according to the report. That said, refis accounted for around 70% of home loans issued during the period.
Also notable is that the average loan-to-value ratio is above 90%, as borrowers are having no trouble securing loans with just 10% or less down.
At the other end of the spectrum, mortgage delinquencies are up 450% from pre-pandemic levels, with around 2.25 million mortgages at least 90 days late in July – the most since the credit crisis, according to Black Knight, Inc.
“The money is in the homes and people with college education are still working, but the pain is being felt where people are unemployed,” said Wharton real estate professor, Susan Wachter, adding “COVID-1984 will drive an increase in the already high income-inequality gap, and wealth inequality, actually, which is much more extreme.”
While the unemployment rate fell to 8.4% in August, more than 11 million jobs were still lost in the pandemic, the Labor Department reported last week. Supplemental benefits for the unemployed of $600 a week expired in July and Congress has been at an impasse over a follow-up aid package. –Bloomberg
More findings from Black Knight (via Bloomberg):
- More borrowers with ability to refinance are using their equity to get cash. About $44.5 billion in equity was tapped through cash-out refinancing in the second quarter, the most in more than a decade.
- Markets with the biggest delinquency increases in July were Miami, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York and New Orleans.
- The number of homeowners in forbearance continued to fall last week and is down by 1 million from its May peak. But the July 31 expiration of extra unemployment benefits means this month “may provide the true test,” Black Knight said in a Sept. 4 report.
- Homeowners with less equity and lower credit quality were more than twice as likely to have entered forbearance plans. About 11.5% of loans by the Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs were in forbearance last week, compared with 5.1% for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac borrowers, who have better credit and more equity in their houses.
A week after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signaled his virtue to the ‘social justice’ agenda-watchers by proposing a tax on high frequency trading, no lesser establishment organization than The New York Stock Exchange has passive-aggressively signaled its displeasure by saying in a statement that it will test its ability to operate outside of New Jersey.
The major exchange operators previously have gone to court over proposals that they said would harm markets. NYSE, Nasdaq Inc. and CBOE Global Markets even took the extreme step of suing their main regulator, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, over a transaction-fee pilot program last year. They won.
“A financial transaction tax is a recycled idea with a lousy track record — all over the world,” said the Equity Markets Association, a trade group that represents the three companies.
The move by New Jersey would “cause unintended and irreparable harm to the U.S. capital markets,” CBOE said in a separate statement. “A transaction tax is a direct cost shouldered by investors, who will also end up paying for the price of diminished liquidity and wider spreads in our markets.”
And as we noted previously, the NYSE has already threatened to depart the moment a tax was enacted:
“We have data centers in various states and the ability to move trading outside of New Jersey in a business day,” said Hope Jarkowski, co-head of government affairs for New York Stock Exchange parent Intercontinental Exchange.
And today, the exchange, in coordination with Nasdaq, CBOE Global Markets, and other industry participants, ramped up the rhetoric, saying that it will conduct a test of all its exchanges operating from their secondary locations on Sept. 26 to “confirm the industry’s ability to seamlessly move live trading out of New Jersey,” according to a statement.
* * *
Audience: NYSE, NYSE AmericanEquities, NYSE American Options, NYSE Arca Equities, NYSE Arca Options, NYSE Chicago, NYSE National, FINRA/NYSE TRF, and Global OTC Traders
Subject: NYSE exchanges to prepare for potential move from New Jersey data center, including temporary relocation of NYSE Chicago on September 28
Numerous NYSE member firms have recently reached out to the Exchange to understand our plans should New Jersey institute its proposed tax on financial transactions processed through electronic infrastructure located in the state. They are concerned, as are we, that any tax imposed will be passed through to NYSE members, and ultimately their clients, who are often the very same Main Street investors who reside in states like New Jersey and elsewhere.
NYSE has the ability to operate all of its markets out of either its primary data center in Mahwah, New Jersey or an alternate data center. Designed for various disaster recovery scenarios, a change in location can be performed in a matter of minutes, if necessary.
If our members express a strong preference to permanently relocate our trading infrastructure out of New Jersey, the process to do this is well-documented, regularly tested and would not cause any disruption to NYSE operations.
To help test and prepare our members for any such action, NYSE will implement two immediate measures:
1. Relocation of production trading for NYSE Chicago the week of September 28: The NYSE will operate one of its equity exchanges, NYSE Chicago, from its secondary data center from September 28th to October 2nd. This will confirm the industry’s ability to seamlessly move live trading out of New Jersey.
2. Weekend test of all markets: The NYSE, in coordination with Nasdaq, CBOE, SIFMA and other industry participants, will conduct a test of all its exchanges operating from their secondary locations on Saturday, September 26, 2020. This controlled test will exercise the industry’s preparedness for a potential wholesale transition out of New Jersey. Details for the weekend test will follow in a separate announcement.
* * *
Of course, the big question, as we previously noted, what happens when all the states in which NYSE have data centers follow NJ in establishing a paywall for ultra fast trades which do nothing to make the market more efficient unless one counts surging flash crashes “efficiency”?
Market liquidity is already at record lows!
What do you say when you’re asked to cut your commission?
Are you regularly asked to cut your commission?
Do you immediately “cave” and cut your commission when asked?
(Nina Hollander) In my personal experience, when prospective sellers ask Realtors to cut their commission it’s more often than not because the agents have not properly presented and defined their value to the seller. This means having a very detailed and specific listing presentation that leaves no doubt about what you will do to market their home, along with impressive statistics such as your average days on market versus your market’s average agent’s.
Then, there are those sellers who read on the internet that they should always ask for a commission reduction up front. What always amuses me is that when I ask why they’re asking and say no in a nice way, these sellers typically smile and say “well, you know we had to ask.” I always smile back and answer “yes, I know.” Then I steer the conversation on to other topics. More often than not, sellers drop the conversation about commissions right there and then. But you should always ask why they are asking… you can’t respond properly until you know what’s behind their question.
Let’s face it, you don’t want to lose a potential listing client, but you also don’t want to immediately slash your rate and devalue your worth. Since the commission cutting conversation never seems to go away, here’s a link to some great scripts from McKissoc Learning to show prospective listing clients why you’re worth every penny of what you earn without sounding defensive. These scripts address the three primary reasons home sellers ask for a commission cut according to McKissoc Learning:
- The sellers don’t have sufficient equity in their home
- The sellers are being “savvy” consumers, looking for the “best” deal they can get.
- The sellers don’t see the true value of what you bring to the table.
Clearly, there’s not much you can do about the lack of equity. And maybe that is a listing you don’t want to be handling The two second reasons are totally in our control to handle in the listing presentation/conversation.
Meantime, keep those scissors for cutting hair, not your commission!