Bank of America

The Biggest Component Of CPI - Rent - Is Now The Highest Since 2008: What Does This Mean For Broad Inflation?

Even as the Fed laments that inflation as measured by either the hedonically adjusted CPI, or the PCE deflator measure (which on any given month is whatever a seasonal adjustment excel model says it is), is persistently below its long-term target of 2%, one component of the broader CPI basket has quietly continued risen to new multi-year highs. That would be the so-called owners’ equivalent rent (OER), which is the biggest component of the CPI, and measures imputed costs of renting one’s own home: it is currently the highest it has been since 2008. But what does this mean for broad inflation? Read on to find out why it is precisely the soaring rent, courtesy of the Fed's latest housing bubble, that means inflation will remain subdued for years to come.

Chinese Manufacturing PMI Slumps To 8-Month Low, Services PMI To 3-Month High; Goldman Admits Growth Decelerating

UPDATE:*CHINA HSBC MANUFACTURING PMI AT 48.5 FOR FEB. (as expected and marginally above the Flash print)

Chinese manufacturing PMI fell to an 8-month low holding barely above the crucial 50 level yesterday forcing Goldman to admit that "this signals further deceleration" in Chinese growth. All sub-indices showed signs of cyclical slowdown from January to February with perhaps the two most-critical ones - production and new orders - showing considerably larger falls than the headline index itself as we await this evening's HSBC print to confirm an average 'contraction'. China's Services PMI just printed at 55, up from 53.4, to a 3-month high led by a surge in the "expectations" sub-index.

 

The Greatest Propaganda Coup Of Our Time?

There’s good propaganda and bad propaganda. Bad propaganda is generally crude, amateurish Judy Miller “mobile weapons lab-type” nonsense that figures that people are so stupid they’ll believe anything that appears in “the paper of record.” Good propaganda, on the other hand, uses factual, sometimes documented material in a coordinated campaign with the other major media to cobble-together a narrative that is credible, but false. The so called Fed’s transcripts, which were released last week, fall into the latter category... But while the conversations between the members are accurately recorded, they don’t tell the gist of the story or provide the context that’s needed to grasp the bigger picture. Instead, they’re used to portray the members of the Fed as affable, well-meaning bunglers who did the best they could in ‘very trying circumstances’. While this is effective propaganda, it’s basically a lie, mainly because it diverts attention from the Fed’s role in crashing the financial system, preventing the remedies that were needed from being implemented (nationalizing the giant Wall Street banks), and coercing Congress into approving gigantic, economy-killing bailouts which shifted trillions of dollars to insolvent financial institutions that should have been euthanized.  What I’m saying is that the Fed’s transcripts are, perhaps, the greatest propaganda coup of our time.

Ocwen, Dubbed "Next Generation Subprime Lender" By Moodys, Is Focus Of NY State Regulator

Ocwen Financial, dubbed by Moody's as poised to become the "next generation" of subprime lenders, has come under considerably pressure this morning amid news that NY State regulators are investigating the firm for "conflicts of interest"...

  • *NY DEPT FINL SERVICES FINDS POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
  • *NY CITES REVIEW OF OCWEN'S MORTGAGE SERVICING PRACTICES
  • *NY SEEKS INFO ON FINL INTEREST OF OCWEN EXECS IN AFFILIATED COS

It is the Mortgage Servicing Rights (MSRs) that has Moody's the most-concerned as the volumes required may force Ocwen (and others) to shift their business model to ever lower quality loans.

Frontrunning: February 26

  • California couple finds $10 million in buried treasure while walking dog (Reuters) ... not bitcoin?
  • Dimon Says Threats to JPMorgan Span Google to China Banks (BBG)
  • Stocks So Many Love to Hate Buoyed by Fed’s Jobs Priority (BBG)
  • White House Weighs Four Options for Revamping NSA Phone Surveillance (WSJ) ... to pick the fifth one
  • Credit Suisse Executives Weren’t Aware of U.S. Tax Dodges (BBG)
  • Militias Hunt Kiev Looters From Central Bank to Bling Palace (BBG)
  • Crisis Gauge Rises to Record High as Swaps Avoided (BBG)
  • Obama to Propose Highway-Repair Program (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Pledges to Protect Deposits as Kiev Rally Called (BBG)

Stock Futures Drift Into Record Territory As Chinese Fears Ease

For the second night in a row, China, and specifically its currency rate which saw the Yuan weaken once more, preoccupied investors - and certainly those who had bet on endless strenghtening of the Chinese currency - however this time it appeared more "priced in, and after trading as low as 2000, the SHCOMP managed to close modestly green, which however is more than can be said about the Nikkei which ended the session down 0.5%. Still, the USDJPY was firmly supported by the 102.00 "fundamental" fair value barrier and as a result equity futures, which had to reallign from tracking the AUDUSD to the old faithful Yen carry, have been propped up once more and are set to open at all time highs. If equities fail to breach the record barrier for the third time in a row and a selloff ensues after the open in deja vu trading, it will be time to watch out below if only purely for technical reasons.

JPMorgan To Fire Thousands

Following last year's realization that mortgage origination as a product line is effectively dead (which has forced such origination dependent banks as Wells Fargo to return to subprime lending in hopes of keeping the revenue stream alive, knowing full well how it all ends), and that only investors and "all cash" buyers are keeping the myth of the housing recovery alive on their shoulders, banks fired tens of thousands of workers in the mortgage business hoping to stem the bottom line bleeding from the collapse in revenues. It turns out that they didn't fire enough and/or that the housing market contraction was far worse than even the banks, in their most, pessimistic forecasts, had expected. Case in point: JPMorgan, which after firing 15,000 in its mortgage business, has just revealed it will fire thousands more.

HAA HAA: Will Another Creditanstalt Be Revealed Once The Hypo Alpe Aldria "Black Box" Is Opened?

It would indeed be supremely ironic if the "strong" foreign law bond indenture would be tested, and breached, not by Greek bonds, as so many expected in late 2011 and early 2012, but by one of the last contries in Europe which is still AAA-rated. We would find it less ironic if the next leg of the global financial crisis was once again unleashed by an Austrian bank: after all history does rhyme...

Frontrunning: February 20

  • Facebook CEO Raises Dealmaker Profile With $19 Billion Takeover (BBG)
  • WhatsApp’s Founder Goes From Food Stamps to Billionaire (BBG)
  • U.S. Feels Putin's Sharp Elbows in Ukraine (WSJ)
  • PBOC Drains Cash as Overnight Rate Slides to Lowest in 10 Months (BBG)
  • Fed Puts Rate Increase on the Radar (Hilsenrath)
  • Banks Flouting Bonus Rules in Denmark Set to Be Named by FSA (BBG)
  • Work Set to Resume on Upgrading Panama Canal (WSJ)
  • Euro-Area Recovery Loses Pace as Manufacturing Weakens (BBG) - uh, what recovery?
  • Ukraine Exposes EU Policy Disarray (WSJ)