Tag Archives: interest rate

Yields Acting Like Economy Is Heading Into Recession

Treasury Yields and Rate Hike Odds Sink: Investigating the Yield Curve

The futures market is starting to question the June rate hike thesis. For its part, the bond market is behaving as if the Fed is hiking the economy into a recession. Here are some pictures.

June Rate Hike Odds

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No Hike in June Odds

  • Month ago – 51%
  • Week Ago – 12.3%
  • Yesterday – 21.5%
  • Today – 35.4%

10-Year Treasury Note Yield

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The yield on the 10-year treasury note doubled from the low of 1.32% during the week of July 2, 2016, to the high 2.64% during the week of December 10, 2016.

Since March 11, 2017, the yield on the 10-year treasury note declined 40 basis points to 2.24%.

30-Year Long Bond

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/30-year-2017-05-17.png?w=625

The yield on the 30-year treasury bond rose from the low of 2.09% during the week of July 2, 2016, to the high of 3.21% during the week of March 11, 2017.

Since March 11, 2017, the yield on the 30-year treasury bond declined 29 basis points to 2.92%

1-Year Treasury Note Yield

https://mishgea.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/1-year-2017-05-17.png?w=625

The yield on the 1-year treasury more than doubled from the low of 0.43% during the week of July 2, 2016, to the high 1.14% during the week of May 6, 2017.

Since March 11, 2017, the yield curve has flattened considerably.

Action in the treasury yields is just what one would expect if the economy was headed into recession.

By Mike “Mish” Shedlock | MishTalk

Fed Raised Rates Once During Obama Years, Yet Promises Constant Rate Hikes During Trump Era?

https://s16-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.silverdoctors.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F01%2Fyellen.jpg&sp=e2ca73182de1bc57dca1a42fda9bcadbNow that Donald Trump has won the election, the Federal Reserve has decided now would be a great time to start raising interest rates and slowing down the economy.  Over the past several decades, the U.S. economy has always slowed down whenever interest rates have been raised significantly, and on Wednesday the Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to raise rates by a quarter point.  Stocks immediately started falling, and by the end of the session it was their worst day since October 11th.

The funny thing is that the Federal Reserve could have been raising rates all throughout 2016, but they held off because they didn’t want to hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the election.

And during Barack Obama’s eight years, there has only been one rate increase the entire time up until this point.

But now that Donald Trump is headed for the White House, the Federal Reserve has decided that now would be a wonderful time to raise interest rates.  In addition to the rate hike on Wednesday, the Fed also announced that it is anticipating that rates will be raised three more times each year through the end of 2019

Fed policymakers are also forecasting three rate increases in 2017, up from two in September, and maintained their projection of three hikes each in 2018 and 2019, according to median estimates. They predict the fed funds rate will be 1.4% at the end of 2017, 2.1% at the end of 2018 and 2.9% at the end of 2019, up from forecasts of 1.1%, Federa1.9% and 2.6%, respectively, in September. Its long-run rate is expected to be 3%, up slightly from 2.9% previously. The Fed reiterated rate increases will be “gradual.”

So Barack Obama got to enjoy the benefit of having interest rates slammed to the floor throughout his presidency, and now Donald Trump is going to have to fight against the economic drag that constant interest rate hikes will cause.

How is that fair?

As rates rise, ordinary Americans are going to find that mortgage payments are going to go up, car payments are going to go up and credit card bills are going to become much more painful.  The following comes from CNN

Higher interest rates affect millions of Americans, especially if you have a credit card or savings account, or want to buy a home or a car. American savers have earned next to nothing at the bank for years. Now they could be a step closer to earning a little more interest on savings account deposits, even though one rate hike won’t change things overnight.

Rates on car loans and mortgages are also likely to be affected. Those are much more closely tied to the interest on a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond, which has risen rapidly since the election. With a Fed hike coming at a time when interest on the 10-year note is also rising, that won’t help borrowers.

The higher interest rates go, the more painful it will be for the economy.

If you recall, rising rates helped precipitate the financial crisis of 2008.  When interest rates rose it slammed people with adjustable rate mortgages, and suddenly Americans could not afford to buy homes at the same pace they were before.  We have already been watching the early stages of another housing crash start to erupt all over the nation, and rising rates will certainly not help matters.

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But why does the Federal Reserve set our interest rates anyway?

We are supposed to be a free market capitalist economy.  So why not let the free market set interest rates?

Many Americans are expecting an economic miracle out of Trump, but the truth is that the Federal Reserve has far more power over the economy than anyone else does.  Trump can try to reduce taxes and tinker with regulations, but the Fed could end up destroying his entire economic program by constantly raising interest rates.

Of course we don’t actually need economic central planners.  The greatest era for economic growth in all of U.S. history came when there was no central bank, and in my article entitled “Why Donald Trump Must Shut Down The Federal Reserve And Start Issuing Debt-Free Money” I explained that Donald Trump must completely overhaul how our system works if he wants any chance of making the U.S. economy great again.

One way that Trump can start exerting influence over the Fed is by nominating the right people to the Federal Open Market Committee.  According to CNN, it looks like Trump will have the opportunity to appoint four people to that committee within his first 18 months…

Two spots on the Fed’s committee are currently open for Trump to nominate. Looking ahead, Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term ends in January 2018, while Vice Chair Stanley Fischer is up for re-nomination in June 2018.

Within the first 18 months of his presidency, Trump could reappoint four of the 12 people on the Fed’s powerful committee — an unusual amount of influence for any president.

By endlessly manipulating the economy, the Fed has played a major role in creating economic booms and busts.  Since the Fed was created in 1913, there have been 18 distinct recessions or depressions, and now the Fed is setting the stage for another one.

And anyone that tries to claim that the Fed is not political is only fooling themselves.  Everyone knew that they were not going to raise rates during the months leading up to the election, and it was quite clear that this was going to benefit Hillary Clinton.

But now that Donald Trump has won the election, the Fed all of a sudden has decided that the time is perfect to begin a program of consistently raising rates.

If I was Donald Trump, I would be looking to shut down the Federal Reserve as quickly as I could.  The essential functions that the Fed performs could be performed by the Treasury Department, and we would be much better off if the free market determined interest rates instead of some bureaucrats.

Unfortunately, most Americans have come to accept that it is “normal” to have a bunch of unelected, unaccountable central planners running our economic system, and so it is unlikely that we will see any major changes before our economy plunges into yet another Fed-created crisis.

By Michael Snyder | The Economic Collapse

HSBC Forecasting 1.50% US 10-year Bond Yield In 2016

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Steven Major

HSBC’s Steven Major is out with a bold new forecast.

In a client note on Thursday titled “Yanking down the yields,” the interest-rates strategist projected that bond yields would be much lower than the markets expected because central banks including the Federal Reserve were reluctant to raise interest rates.

Major sees the benchmark US 10-year yield, now at 2.05%, averaging 2.10% in the fourth quarter, but then tumbling to 1.5% by the third quarter of 2016. He also lowered projections for European bond yields.

According to Bloomberg, the median strategist’s forecast is for the 10-year yield to rally to 2.9% by Q3 2016 and 3.0% by Q4 2016. Of 65 published forecasts, Major’s 1.5% call is the only one below 1.65%.

He wrote:

Much of the shift lower in our yield forecasts derives from the view that the ECB [European Central Bank] will continue to buy bonds in its QE [Quantitative Easing] program. The forecast for a ‘bowing-in’ of curves reflects our opinion that a long period of unconventional policy will create an unconventional outcome. Central banks did not forecast the persistently weak growth or recent decline in inflation. So data dependency does not easily justify lifting rates from the zero-bound — it might suggest the opposite.

In September, the Federal Reserve passed on what would have been its first interest-rate hike in nine years, as concerns about the labor market and global weakness weighed on voting members’ minds. Also last month, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said the ECB would expand its stimulus program if needed.

For years, pros across Wall Street have argued that interest rates have nowhere to go but up. Major was one of the few forecasters to correctly predict that in 2014 bond yields would fall and end the year lower. Others had predicted that yields would rise as the Fed wound down its massive bond-buying program known as quantitative easing.

10 year treasury 10 8 15St. Louis Fed, Business Insider

“The conventional view has been that a normalization of monetary policy would be led by the Federal Reserve, involve a rise in short rates and a flatter curve,” Major wrote. “This has already been proven completely wrong.”

Once again, Major is going against the grain to say yields will fall even further, though the Fed has maintained that it could raise short-term interest rates this year.

Major is in the small minority, with others including Komal Sri-Kumar, president of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, who wrote on Business Insider earlier this week that the 10-year yield would slide below 2% to 1.5%.

Also, DoubleLine Capital’s Jeff Gundlach forecast in June that bond yields would end 2015 near where they started the year. Gundlach also noted in his presentation that yields had risen in previous periods in which the Fed raised rates.

The 10-year yield was at 2.17% at the beginning of January. On Thursday, it was near 2.05%.

Typically, higher interest rates make existing bonds less attractive to buyers, since they can get new notes at loftier yields. And as demand for these bonds falls, their prices also fall, and yields rise.

This chart shows Major’s forecasts versus the consensus:

Screen Shot 2015 10 08 at 7.51.39 AM

Read more here on Business Insider by Akin Oyedele

The Hybrid ARM Is Back – And It’s A Smart, Customizable Mortgage Option

Source: Forbes

Fast forward to last May, as much noise was swirling around the Fed’s tapering strategy: 30-year fixed rates ascended a full percentage point in less than 30 days, based only on the conversations of the small screen financial talking heads, and all before the Fed announced anything!  Not long afterwards, borrowers started to ask me about hybrids.   3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1, what is the spread between the 30-year fixed, what are the caps, what is the index, how do they work?

Let’s review the mechanics:

Hybrid ARMs as the name implies, have a fixed rate component on the front end of the mortgage term (3 years, 5, 7 or 10) and an adjustable rate component on the back end of the mortgage term, when the interest rate can change/adjust annually.  For example; a 5/1 ARM in today’s market could have an interest rate that is fixed for the first 5 years at 3.00% compared to a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.50%. For a $200,000 mortgage, that would save $170/month.  After 5 years/60 months, the interest will adjust annually based on an index (1 year LIBOR or 1 year Treasury/CMT), plus a margin of somewhere between 2.25% and 2.75%.

Of course there are caps on the interest rate adjustments.  Typically the initial adjustment cap is 2% above the start rate, unless the initial term is 5 years or longer, then the initial caps can be as high as 5%. The periodic or yearly caps are typically 2% above (or below) the existing rate and the lifetime cap is 5% or 6% above the initial fixed rate, depending on the term.

Since birth, hybrid ARMs have maintained  space on the entrée side of the menu, for a time even expanding to include interest only variations, which have become scarce now that QM is sheriff.  While fixed rates have enjoyed a prolonged period of historical lows, the demand for hybrid ARMs has fallen dramatically.

Enter the current generation of mortgage consumers with a seemingly much lower tolerance for rising interest rate pain than their counterparts of 20 years ago, and demand for hybrid ARMs is seeing traction.  Technology has given buyers access to more information than ever before, comparing options for individual circumstances results in savvy mortgage consumer financing choices.

So just why are hybrid ARMs a good fit if 30-year fixed rates are still close to historical lows?  Fact is that although most people opt for 30 year mortgages, very few actually stay in the property or the mortgage for that long.  People move, families grow, personal economics rise and fall and for lots of other reasons, the lifespan of a mortgage tends to be far less than the 30 years it is amortizing.

The buyer with a five year planning horizon choosing the $200,000 5/1 ARM over the 30-year fixed mentioned earlier, would save $10,200 and enjoy the security of a fixed rate for those five years.  If plans change as they so often do (when life shows up), the adjustment caps can protect those savings while plans are adjusted and new mortgage financing strategies are considered.  This is the nature of today’s generation of mortgage consumer; they are sophisticated, they have access to more information for more informed consideration and they want what best fits their personal financial universe.

At some point in the future, mortgage interest rates will begin the inevitable climb to higher norms and Hybrid ARMs will have a louder voice in the mortgage financing conversation.  As with virtually everything else, organic evolution has led to 3/3 ARMs and 5/5 ARMs and other variations that together offer consumers a menu of custom made mortgage financing options for just about every circumstance.  Learning the mechanics of how these loans work and matching planning horizons with adjustment periods can be a useful tool in an overall financial planning portfolio.