Morning Report: Bonds down on trade progress with China

Vital Statistics:

 

Last Change
S&P futures 3017.5 5.25
Oil (WTI) 55.37 0.44
10 year government bond yield 1.83%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.90%

 

Stocks are higher this morning after further progress on trade talks with China. Bonds and MBS are down.

 

China walked back some proposed tariffs on US agricultural products after Trump agreed to delay some additional tariffs. Commodities in general are up on the news.

 

Retail Sales rose 0.4% MOM in August, according to Census. July was revised upward to an increase of 0.8% from an increase of 0.7%. This was the back-to-school shopping season, so it gives a good indication that this year’s holiday shopping season will be strong as well. Given that consumption accounts for 70% of GDP, we might see some upward revisions in Q3 and Q4 estimates.

 

Mortgage credit availability declined in August, according to the MBA. “Credit supply declined across the board in August, even as mortgage rates fell and application activity picked up, particularly for refinances,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “Last month’s decrease was the largest since December 2018, and also the first tightening we have seen for conventional loans all year. We anticipate some weakening of the job market in the year ahead as economic growth cools. It’s possible some lenders may be tightening credit in expectation of a slowdown.” Some contraction was expected for VA due to the new rules, but it is surprising to see it in the other buckets.

 

MCAI

 

The Trump Admin is working to end Fannie and Freddie’s net profits sweep in September. “We expect a deal prior to Sept. 30 in which Fannie and Freddie will stop paying a quarterly dividend to Treasury,” Cowen Managing Director Jaret Seiberg wrote in the note. “Instead, they will pay a commitment fee for the outstanding preferred capital line. This means they can retain the rest of their profits in order to rebuild capital.”

15 Responses

  1. China walked back some proposed tariffs on US agricultural products after Trump agreed to delay some additional tariffs. Commodities in general are up on the news.

    When this happens, I hear criticism (from the left) that this is awful: Trump blinked, he’s looking weak and chaotic to the highly disciplined and super-functional awesome ChiComs, and it’s a big problem and is wrecking things for generations and so on. Until before he pulls back on the tariffs and then these tariffs he is proposing are terrible and anti-business and will ruin everything, so he needs to walk them back or else China will destroy us or something.

    The ability for the media and the pundits to turn on a dime is amazing. And tends to lend credence to the idea that most of the news, when it comes to Trump, is all “Orange man bad”.

    To me, a naif and definitely not an international financier, this looks like Trump’s negotiation strategies the way he’s always done them and had a ghost-writer write about him doing: he says, I’m gonna do this unless you do that. Then he says, “well, I’ll give a little here”. And then they give a little. Or at least don’t do something they started promising to do. And it’s just back-and-forth negotiation. It’s unusual to have a president using tariffs in this way, but . . . I’m not sure it’s destroying the US economy or that it’s even making us look crazy in the eyes of the Chinese.

    And it’s not like it’s out of nowhere, which is how the coverage always seems to present it: “Trump folds!” “Trump backs down on tariffs!” And speculation that may even crazy Trump is beginning to realize how terrible his tariff ideas are. When I think he’s just doing what he does, and this was always on the drawing board, so to speak.

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  2. This was the back-to-school shopping season, so it gives a good indication that this year’s holiday shopping season will be strong as well.

    But yet again, no one will buy me an Apple watch. I never get what I want.

    That being said, Christmas shopping sales reportage is always a thing that irks me. Almost always, there is something bad in the popular media–sales are down! Stores will be closing! Weakest Christmas Season Ever* Pre-Sages Looming Recession!”

    *Then you diving further and the weak shopping is for a certain category of stores being put out of business by online shopping or something.

    I hate Christmas generally. I would skip it entirely if that were possible. But I find the Christmas buying season narrative, one in which the press is almost desperate to find evidence of doom for somebody and something, especially cloying. And they are so desperate to report how bad Christmas sales are this year they even did it during the Obama years.

    Any positive Christmas shopping news always seems to be well-after Christmas.

    Admittedly, this is all anecodtal.

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  3. Here’s my left-leaning solution to the “border crisis” (McWing might go along with it, too):

    1. Open the borders. Anyone who wants to come in legally gets to, without quotas or other qualifiers. They just have to register.
    2. They get a special tax status, where the get double-taxed on FICA (and, heck, maybe Medicare). But double-taxed, not fixed: if my taxes go down, their taxes go down.
    4. Law would include tax rate matching, so any separate effort to lower the tax rate applied to our immigrant friends would also lower everybody else’s tax rate.
    3. They can also vote in elections.

    My solution is fraught with problems and obstacles and unintended consequences, but at least my heart’s in the right place.

    🙂

    Like

    • My favorite comment, let’s drone gun owners.

      The most recent example of this are the wannabe he-men warriors threatening violence if gun control measures are passed. They are delusional if they think they will defeat the police and the army in their own Red Dawn remake. Anybody else seeing how the drone attacks on Saudi oil installations applies here? The army won’t even have to directly engage these wannabe rogue warriors. They will wind up dead or in prison.
      blugrlnrdst September 14 · 03:29:55 PM recommend

      Posse comitatus? Fuck it, gun owners are an existential threat!

      Like

      • Yes, and it comes with the assumption that the military and the police will gladly go along with any wannabe Stalin and turn their guns on the American people. Or that politicians would want any of that to happen on their watch.

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  4. Entertaining read:

    “When the Culture War Comes for the Kids

    Caught between a brutal meritocracy and a radical new progressivism, a parent tries to do right by his children while navigating New York City’s schools.

    George Packer
    October 2019 Issue ”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/10/when-the-culture-war-comes-for-the-kids/596668/

    Like

    • So glad I got out of NYC before having to deal with all of that…Reminded me of a boardroom fight between Sandy Weill and Jack Reed at Citibank and how admission to the 72nd Street Y for someones kid was part of the deal…

      Like

    • jnc:

      Entertaining read:

      Yes, it was.

      My first reaction is that if your middle-school-aged kid is “crying inconsolably” over the results of presidential election, you’ve politicized your kid to the point of it being emotional abuse.

      I’d also say that the author still doesn’t quite grasp the reality of the situation.

      The politics of identity starts out with the universal principles of equality, dignity, and freedom, but in practice it becomes an end in itself—often a dead end, a trap from which there’s no easy escape and maybe no desire for escape. Instead of equality, it sets up a new hierarchy that inverts the old, discredited one—a new moral caste system that ranks people by the oppression of their group identity.

      The politics of identity absolutely does not “start out” with universal principles of equality, dignity, and freedom. Creating a new hierarchy of power with new oppressors and oppressed is precisely the point.

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      • My first reaction is that if your middle-school-aged kid is “crying inconsolably” over the results of presidential election, you’ve politicized your kid to the point of it being emotional abuse.

        This. Both of my kids were aware of the 2016 elections–not because I made them, they just were. Neither particularly like Trump, which is not an illogical position. Neither particular liked Hillary. Neither cried inconsolably when Trump won, and neither of them think who the president is is going to make or break their lives.

        Because neither of them have ever been inculcated with the idea that the government is the most important thing in their lives or in general. Cuz it ain’t.

        Creating a new hierarchy of power with new oppressors and oppressed is precisely the point.

        Unavoidably and inexorably. But in all fairness, “starting out” with equality, dignity and freedom is very much the bullshit branding identity groups use while fighting to become the ruling class under which all other identity groups will serve as the peasantry.

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    • You choose to move to or stay in New York City, you deserve what you get. 🙂

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    • That may work in Oregon. But I don’t see that sort of stuff as a winning position in the long run. It’s like trying to outlaw text messages in order to preserve import letter carrier and telegram operator jobs. And I go through checkout lines all the time–it’s not like those people love their jobs.

      the enabling of underage alcohol purchases

      Where is that the case? In Oregon? Because it sure isn’t possible here. You can’t buy alcohol at the self-checkout without someone coming buy and checking your ID and entering your birthdate in.

      That being said, if you need a checkout person and there’s only one “live” lane open, that is irritating. But I don’t know that limiting stores to two kiosks is the answer.

      Like

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