Entries Tagged as 'Mortgages'

The Fed’s “Debt Monster” Is Calling the Shots

The Fed’s “Debt Monster”

Bill Bonner calls our attention to the danger:

You know our prediction: The Fed will never willingly lead interest rates to a neutral position.

It can’t. The FED  has created a debt monster. It must feed this Frankenstein with easy credit.

This time last year, the Fed began its “rate-tightening cycle.” That is, it began raising short-term interest rates.

It pledged to continue to do so in 2016. But then it diddled and dawdled, fiddled and fawdled… claiming to be on top of the situation… watching its “data” come in like a fisherman’s wife waiting for the return of the fleet… and not wanting to admit she was already a widow.

What it was really waiting for was a place to hide.

The Fed can raise short-term rates. But it will have to follow, not lead. It will have to hide in the shadow of rising consumer prices, staying “behind the curve” of inflation expectations.

That way, the expected real interest rate – the rate of return on your money above the rate of consumer price inflation – never really returns to neutral.

Already, the price of a barrel of crude oil – a key input into prices across the economy – is twice what it was 10 months ago. Leading business-cycle research firm the Economic Cycle Research Institute says the inflation cycle has turned positive.

And already, foreign nations are talking about retaliating against Team Trump by canceling orders and imposing new tariffs in their own versions of “better trade deals.”

This, too, is bound to raise prices.

Forget speculating on stocks, options, or other risky, low-probability moneymaking schemes. This wealth-building formula is the most reliable way to make seven figures in seven years or less in today’s uncertain economy…

Funny Money Antics

But if consumer price inflation were really a concern, the bond market would race ahead of the Fed, imposing its own regimen of rising yields.

The Fed’s increases would be too little and too late to have any real effect on the outcome.

Bondholders don’t care much about nominal rates. If consumer price inflation were to rise to the Fed’s 2% target, for example, bondholders might clamor for a 4% yield to give them a positive 2%.

That is a big increase over the 52-week low of 1.32% the yield on the 10-year Treasury note hit on July 4.

But you don’t get that kind of seismic shift without cracking some flower pots.

Much of the world’s $225 trillion in debt is calibrated to borrowers who will have a hard time surviving a 3% interest rate world, let alone a 4% one.

This is an economy that can stand a lot of grotesque and absurd “funny money” antics. It can survive a bizarre financial world; it can’t survive a normal one.

As inflation expectations increase, investors do not sit still and watch their retirements, their savings, and their fortunes get broken by inflation.

They don’t wait for the Fed’s policy-setting committee to meet. They don’t reflect calmly as the Fed’s wonks collect their “data” and create their “dot plots.”

Instead, they act out. The monster gets mad and starts throwing things.

First through the window are the bonds. They get chucked out before inflation manifests itself fully… and long before the Fed increases its key short-term rate.

Then, the “boom” turns quickly into stagflation… as higher borrowing costs pinch off growth even as consumer prices continue to rise.

But more likely, inflation is not really surging… Not yet.

And most likely, it will be the painfully apparent when the U.S. economy goes into recession next year.

Then, it will be stocks’ turn to get tossed out, while bonds sneak back in through the side door.

It will also be apparent that the Fed has taken another false step… that the recovery was a sham… and that it’s the debt monster calling the shots, not Janet Yellen.

Regards,

Bill Bonner

What does the new frontier of negative interest rates in the global arena mean for investors?

What does the new frontier of negative interest rates in the global arena mean for investors?

What does the new frontier of negative interest rates in the global arena mean for investors?

 

Cindy Yeap / The Edge Malaysia discusses “What does the new frontier of negative interest rates in the global arena mean for investors?”

“For RHB Research Institute executive chairman and chief economist Lim Chee Sing, NIRP “can only be seen as a temporary expedient to hold up financial markets”, albeit one that has little room to push for more economic growth in this relatively mature stage of the growth cycle.

“That means rising investment premiums and heightened market volatility will likely be the order of the day in the days ahead. Portfolio investors may have no choice but to build some degree of defensiveness into their portfolios to balance out the risks. This implies rising appetite for high-yield stocks,” Lim says.

“Even dividend stocks have caveats in the days ahead, largely due to their rich valuations vis-à-vis tougher conditions to grow at the same rate as before. For example, sin stocks might have to contend with higher taxes; the fees for telecommunications spectrum refarming have yet to be revealed; and consumer stocks have to contend with the possibility of a further tightening of consumer spending. Then, there is the higher labour cost.

“The focus should be on stocks with an improved business model, reasonable earnings visibility, strong cash flow, a dividend policy and, thus, sustainable dividend payments. Of course, one cannot ignore valuations but rich valuation stocks are still susceptible to a selldown should the global economy take a turn for the worse,” Lim adds.

“Gerald Ambrose, CEO of Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd, too, noted expensive valuations after a good run in recent years.

“We are keeping a close eye on notable high-yield companies, like the cellular phone companies, the brewers, tobacco companies and the REITs (real estate investment trusts). We’re currently about halfway though the 4Q2015 results season and to be honest, a lot of the better-managed companies have been able to find efficiencies to enable dividend payout to remain high. However, after outperforming for over a year, a lot of the high dividend yield companies are hardly cheap,” he says.”

BOTTOM LINE: Focus your strategy on yield and gold. Gold is an alternative when interest rates are negative adjusted for taxes and inflation.

A 100 Billion Dollar Fraud

Bill Bonner today compares the fraud of Volkswagen, a 100 Billion Dollar Fraud, to another fraud. As far as we know, nobody suffered as a result of Volkswagen, yet they will pay mightly. Fannie Mae on the other hand…let Bill Bonner tell it:

Yesterday also brought news of another corporate faux pas…

This time, by one of America’s government-sponsored mortgage giants, Fannie Mae.

The case also involved hiding something. But this time, the result was genuine suffering on behalf of millions of U.S. homeowners.

Fortune magazine reports:

On Monday afternoon, Thomas Lund [one of the highest ranking former officials of Fannie Mae] settled charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission back in 2011 that he helped deceive shareholders of Fannie Mae in the run-up to the financial crisis.

The suit claimed that Lund, who was the head of Fannie’s single-family division, helped hide more than $100 billion of subprime exposure from Fannie’s shareholders, allowing it to continue to back more and more risky loans.

Now, here we have a clearer case. Thanks in part to Mr. Lund’s chicanery, the bubble in mortgage finance caught investors unaware. This resulted in losses of at least $8 trillion in the U.S. stock market alone.

Mortgage debt had become a key component of Wall Street collateral. When housing prices fell, many of the big banks were faced with insolvency.

Arguably, in September 2008, this brought the entire financial industry – and the world economy – to the edge of collapse.

Losses in the housing market were colossal and came with great personal suffering. We don’t remember the number. But something like 10 million households found themselves “underwater,” with mortgage debt in excess of the value of their houses.

Millions of people lost their homes when lenders repossessed them.

Remember “jingle mail”?

Underwater homeowners had no choice: They just mailed their house keys back to the mortgage companies. Whole families were living in cheap motels and improvised lodgings.

You’d think Mr. Lund would want to duck. Surely, the SEC – when it ruled this week – would throw the book at him.

But wait. Mr. Lund was in finance, not manufacturing. He was not making cars. He was not making anything!

He was taking cheap money that didn’t belong to him (thanks to the Fed’s EZ money policies) and lending it to people who couldn’t pay it back.
Thomas Lund’s Parting Gift…
So, when Mr. Lund looked up at the judge on Monday… and said, “Judge, what will be my fine?”… the judge didn’t look at Mr. Lund and say, “Boy, you got 99.”

Instead, Fortune continues:

Lund’s penalty for his role: a mere $10,000. What’s more, the penalty won’t even be considered a fine. The SEC agreed to classify the payment officially as a “gift to the U.S. government,” not an actual punishment.

But the worst part is this: Lund won’t even pay the penalty. The agreement allows Fannie to make the payment for him, which it has agreed to do. And don’t forget: The government had to bail out Fannie and still controls it.

Of course, Lund was not a German industrialist. He was a true American crony.


Mover Mike Hit 2,000,000

After an incredible June, Mover Mike hit 2,000,000 page views. I have been blogging since 2004 and it is nice to see that more people are finding this blog. Sometimes, I have considered quitting, thinking why bother, no one reads me. However, conservative fiscally, Libertarian socially, this blog joins many others who don’t like the path the U.S. is on.

No longer can we discuss things rationally and heatedly.  Now it seems the play book says to ignore the message, savage the messenger. We are seeing that currently with Trump and we read that Hillary hasn’t answered the press questions in two weeks. AND…more and more people are considering leaving the country.

Mexico”sends” their unemployed to the U.S.. How long will 93,000,000 unemployed and under employed wait to move south? How long will the drought stricken  in the south west wait to move? What happens when the U.S. becomes like Greece and can’t feed the 43,000,000 on EBT?

Stay tuned, dear reader. I hope to cover it and provide some answers. Thanks for reading Mover Mike

Inflation: Higher And Higher We Go

Economics / Inflation
Jul 08, 2014 – 10:48 AM GMT
By: Darryl_R_Schoon

Economics
In the end game, truth is found only at the margins

In Time of the Vulture: How to Survive the Crisis and Prosper in the Process(2007, 2012 3rd edition), I wrote about inflation and its root cause:

In a credit-money system, over time the constant infusion of increasing amounts of credit will inevitably lead to higher and higher rates of inflation. Because common knowledge of this fact is not in the best interests of those benefiting from the system, it is hidden away. And in the US, hiding the real rate of inflation is done the old-fashioned way, by lying about it.

Prior to the 1990s, the cost of a basket of standard goods and services was compiled. This was called the consumer price index, the CPI, and any rate of increase was considered to be the actual rate of inflation. However, in the early 1990s, this began to change.

Perhaps the old method of tracking inflation seemed outdated or quaint, much like the Geneva Accords [which outlawed torture], to Alan Greenspan and Michael Boskin, the chief economist under President Bush Sr., and a newer way of calculating the CPI was needed.

What was needed was a way that would show a slower rate of increase rather than the actual rate, a way that would save the US government money by lowering social security payments and Medicare benefits tied to the CPI, a way that would convey to global investors that all was well in America, that inflation was under control.

The government keeps changing the rules

Changing the way inflation is calculated

Irrespective of what the newly reconstituted CPI says about inflation, its effects cannot be hidden. Remember Motel 6? A low cost motel chain started in Santa Barbara, California in 1962 whose advertised price was a part of its name, $6.00 per night for accommodations.

I recently checked the prices Motel 6 charges, forty-four years later. The current room rates of Motel 6 at three different locations in Santa Barbara are:

1962 2006

Motel 6 location #1 $6.00 $105.99 an increase of 1,767 %

Motel 6 location #2 $6.00 $82.99 an increase of 1,383 %

Motel 6 location #3 $6.00 $61.99 an increase of 1,033 %

Home prices are also higher as advertised in Morris County New Jersey.

1966 2006

Three bedroom home $15,900.00 $399,900.00 an increase of 2,515 %

Four bedroom home $19,000.00 $624,900.00 an increase of 3,289 %

Marijuana also shows a similar increase in price since the 1960s.

1966 2006

One lid of pot $10.00 $250.00 an increase of 2,500 %

The cost of attending college at the University of Minnesota also rose.

1968 2004

Cost per unit $8.25 $183.00 an increase of 2,218 %

THE DIFFERENCE IN PRICES

BETWEEN THEN AND NOW

IS DUE TO INFLATION

INFLATION IS THE INCREASING COST

OF GOODS AND SERVICES CAUSED

BY THE CONSTANTLY DECLINING

VALUE OF PAPER MONEY OVER TIME

THE MORE MONEY YOU PRINT

THE LESS IT’S WORTH

ECONOMICS – SHILL OR SCIENCE

When Real Interest Rates Fall, Gold Rises

Mike Burnick writing for Money and Markets has this informative piece:

Real Yields Sink

Historically, real interest rates (long term bond yields minus the inflation rate) have always had a very close, inverse correlation with the price of gold. In fact, it’s the single most predictive factor for gold prices.

When real rates fall, gold inevitably rises, and vice versa. As you can see in the chart below, real interest rates declined steadily after the financial crisis and Great Recession in 2008, and gold rose every step of the way.


Click for larger version

But as you can see above, real yields began rising again in 2012, which continued last year. This corresponds almost perfectly with a sharp decline in gold prices, but recently real rates stopped rising and are now rolling over again, as you can see at the far right.

While interest rates around the world are declining steadily this year, inflation is beginning to edge higher.

This is pushing real (inflation adjusted) interest rates down again … which is precisely when gold shines!

Forget the Consumer Price Index. We all know this flawed gauge of inflation is way behind the curve in measuring the true cost of living and it’s a backwards-looking indicator. Instead, focus on leading indicators of future inflation pressure: Higher commodity prices, rising wages, higher rental rates and soaring health-care and education costs … these are all pointing to higher inflation down the road.


All Hail, Rick Santelli


What’s A Streamline Refinance Loan?

Here is something we can thank President Obama for! Did you know you can be (1) out-of-work, (2) without income, (3) with a terrible credit rating and (4) having lost all of your home equity — and yet, you will still be approved for the FHA Streamline Refinance program.It’s true!

Now, the FHA’s official mortgage guidelines, say:

  • No Employment verification is required for an FHA Streamline Refinance
  • No Income verification is required for an FHA Streamline Refinance
  • No Credit score verification is required for an FHA Streamline Refinance
  • And,  there’s no need for a home appraisal

It is fast. It is called a streamline refinance loan. It uses the original loan paperwork, and appraisal and there are no out of pocket expenses. The only requirement is you must be current on your mortgage and it must be a VA or FHA loan.

According to Reuters, there are about 3 million homeowners that can benefit from the program even if your mortgage is underwater. If you find yourself in this unfortunate position, call on an expert to go through your FHA options.

Isn’t this what got us into mortgage trouble in the first place?

Meredith Whitney Delivers


Dem. Alan Grayson Explains Foreclosure Crisis


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