Krugman: "There's zero evidence that the kind of extreme inequality that we have is good for economic growth. In fact, there's a lot of evidence that it is actually bad for economic growth. Nobody wants us to become Cuba." Ah yes, inequality, the same inequality that the Fed - Krugman's favorite monetary stimulus machine - has been creating at an unprecedented pace since it launched QE. Just recall: "The "Massive Gift" That Keeps On Giving: How QE Boosted Inequality To Levels Surpassing The Great Depression." So while Krugman is right in lamenting the record surge in class divide between the 1% haves and the 99% have nots, you certainly won't find him touching with a ten foot pole the root cause of America's current surge in inequality. And, tangentially, another thing you won't find him touching, is yesterday's revelation by Gawker that the Nobel laureate is the proud recipient of $25,000 per month from CUNY to... study inequality.
They’re not even trying to blame the weather this time.
March CPI Higher Than Expected, Driven By 16.4% Annual Spike In Utilities, Increase In Shelter IndexSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/15/2014 08:47 -0400
Following the hotter than expected PPI data, it was the turn of CPI to come in stronger than consensus had hoped for, and sure enough, moments ago the BLS reported that March consumer inflation printed higher than the expected 0.1%, coming at 0.2% for both headline and the core (excluding food and energy) components, driven mostly higher by a surge in Utility costs which soared by 7.5% M/M, and a whopping 16.4% Y/Y. Curiously, the energy services spike of 2.6% of which utilities is a part, was offset by a drop in energy commodities, mostly fuel oil, whose cost dropped 2.9% in March and by gasoline down 1.7%, and down 4.7% Y/Y. The BLS also noted the rapid increase in the shelter price index: "Almost two-thirds of this increase was accounted for by the shelter index, which rose 0.3 percent. The indexes for rent and owners’ equivalent rent both rose 0.3 percent, while the index for lodging away from home rose 1.5 percent." Is the housing bubble - both purchase and rent - and which has already burst across much of the nation, finally being noticed by the Fed?
The Fed sacrificed the foundation of middle class wealth - stable housing values - to boost bank profits. Middle class wealth was Fed to the sharks. As the current housing bubble deflates, the investor-buyers who fueled the rally are exiting en masse: what's the value of an asset when the bid vanishes, i.e. there's nobody left who's willing to pay today's prices? The Fed has failed to restore middle class wealth with its latest housing bubble, and the costs of the bubble's collapse will fall not on the Fed but on those who believed the recovery was more than Fed manipulation.
Hot Air Hisses Out Of Housing Bubble 2.0: Even Two Middle-Class Incomes Aren’t Enough Anymore To Buy A Median HomeSubmitted by testosteronepit on 04/07/2014 12:35 -0400
“There was a moment when it made sense,” said Blackstone Group, largest home buyer in the US. But not anymore.
Has the United States ever experienced a time when a foreign nation has attempted to buy up so much of our land all at once? As Michael Snyder details below, it appears the Chinese are on a real estate buying spree all over America as they are now the dominat 'buyers' of investment green cards. This is occurring as private equity buyers and hedge funds exit the buy-to-rent business en masse and are, as Mike Krieger explains, are desperate to pitch American property to anyone willing to keep Housing Bubble 2.0 inflated... it seems Zillow is more than happy to enable that, "Zillow agreed to make its U.S. property listings available to Chinese consumers through a partnership with a Beijing-based website."
As the world's investors wait anxiously for the next piece of bad news from Japan, China, Europe, or US as a signal to buy, buy, buy on the back of a renewed "stimulus" of freshly printed money that has comforted them for 5 years, it seems the Fed is turning its attention elsewhere:
- BULLARD SAYS MONITORING FOR ASSET BUBBLES `IMPORTANT CONCERN'
- BULLARD SAYS ASSET PRICE BUBBLES MAY BECOME `BIG CONCERN'
For now though, of course, the Fed's Bubble-o-meter has no batteries. Pointing out the irony that the Fed creates the bubbles... and then when it becomes a "big concern" it promises to do something about it if it every sees one. Finally, we are delighted that the schizhophrenia of the central planners continues to be exhibited for all to see: first Yellen tells everyone to buy stocks on Tuesday with an uber-dovish retracement of her "6 month" flub, and now Bullard is saying to watch out for bubbles. What can one say but... economists.
As the following table also by RealtyTrace confirms, the US still has an abundance of "own-to-rent" cities, where one can generate a return as high as 30% in one year, if one is willing to drive through the downtown area at 65 mph. Places like bankrupt Detroit, where the median sales price is $45K, and somehow the average market rent is $1.1K, meaning one can recoup their investment in just over 3 years! (how Detroit's residents can afford $1K on rent is another of those great mysteries of life). In other words, the housing bubble will still be raging in these 20 cities, at least until such time as the yield drops sufficiently due to soaring prices that the Blackstones of the world are forced to dump other people's money in such undervalued places as Ulan Bator and Almaty.
"The US reached a peak in prosperity and influence in the world in the 1950s or 1960s," Marc Faber explains to an Australian audience at the recent World War D conference; but since the 70s the superpower has been locked into a cycle of bubbles, busts and growing debt. "There are some people who claim to be economists who will tell you debts do not matter," but the real story is different, he warns. "When you drop dollar bills into the economy... it won't lift all prices and assets equally at the same time," Faber explains, "in the 60s and 70s, extra money flowing through the economy inflated wages; in the early 2000s, money printing inflated commodities;" but, the Gloom, Boom, & Doom Report editor points out, this price and asset growth is never equal, warning that "we live in a new word... where the old world order is largely bypassed."
Over the past month, we have explained in detail not only how the Chinese credit collapse and massive carry unwind will look like in theory, but shown various instances how, in practice, the world's greatest debt bubble is starting to burst. One thing we have not commented on was how actual trade pathways - far more critical to offshore counterparts than merely credit tremors within the mainland - would be impacted once the nascent liquidity crisis spread. Today, we find the answer courtesy of the WSJ which reports that for the first time in the current Chinese liquidity crunch, Chinese importers, for now just those of soybeans and rubber but soon most other products, "are backing out of deals, adding to a wide range of evidence showing rising financial stress in the world's second-biggest economy."
In our previous article we explained why buying a house is often a very silly financial decision, especially for people who are young, or those that have a low net worth. In this article we're going to explain why we think people are so infatuated with the idea of buying and owning a house, even though, if you look a the facts, it goes against many of the investment principles they believe in and hold dear.
Let the fun begin.
Curious what the real, and not pre-spun for public consumption, sentiment on the ground is in a China (where the housing bubble has already popped and the severe contraction in credit is forcing the ultra wealthy to luxury real estate in places like Hong Kong) from the perspective of the common man? The photo below, which shows hundreds of people rushing today to withdraw money from branches of two small Chinese banks after rumors spread about solvency at one of them, are sufficiently informative about just how jittery ordinary Chinese have become in recent days, and reflect the growing anxiety among investors as regulators signal greater tolerance for credit defaults.