Morning Report: Global bond sell-off

Vital Statistics:


  Last Change
S&P futures 3899 -27.3
Oil (WTI) 59.66 -0.44
10 year government bond yield   1.29%
30 year fixed rate mortgage   2.93%

Stocks are lower this morning on no real news. Bonds and MBS are flat.


The increase in US bond yields yesterday was driven by a few strategists saying that inflation could return in the back half of 2021, and we should see a rapid rebound due to stimulus payments. There is a global story being told as well, with expectations of a recovery as people get vaccinated. We have seen the German Bund (which is the German 10 year bond) increase in yield from -55 basis points to -35 basis points. The Japanese 10 year is also around 10 basis points. In other words, the bond sell-off in the US is being driven by global forces as well as US ones. Regardless, we are seeing mortgage rates push up, with the average 30 year mortgage rate rising 5 basis points yesterday.


The Fed has stressed that it wants to maintain an average of 2% on inflation. This means that it is prepared to let inflation run above 2% for a while in order to bring up the average. The Fed will almost certainly maintain the current policy through this year and probably well into next year. The Fed Funds futures contracts did begin to start handicapping a rate increase in late 2023, but the overall policy stance should be set for the foreseeable future.


Mortgage Applications fell by 5.1% last week as purchases fell 6% and refis fell 5%. “Expectations of faster economic growth and inflation continue to push Treasury yields and mortgage rates higher. Since hitting a survey low in December, the 30-year fixed rate has slowly risen, and last week climbed to its highest level since November,” said Joel Kan, MBA Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting. “The uptick in rates has slightly dampened refinance activity, with MBA’s index falling for the second week in a row, and the overall share dipping below 70 percent for the first time since last October.”


The Producer Price Index (a measure of wholesale inflation) came in hotter than expectations. The index rose 1.3% MOM and 1.7% YOY. Ex- food and energy and trade services it rose 1.2% MOM and 2% YOY.


Retail sales were strong in January, with the headline number rising 5.3% overall. The control group which excludes autos, gas and building supplies rose 6.1%.


Industrial Production rose 0.9% in January, while manufacturing production rose 1%. Capacity Utilization rose to 75.6%.


Western Alliance Bank just agreed to buy Amerihome for $1 billion in cash. This price is about 1.4 times book value. Western Alliance recently bought Galton Funding as well, and has always been a big name in warehouse lending. The deal is expected to be 30% accretive to EPS and add 500 basis points to ROE.

17 Responses

  1. Biden is asking DOJ for authority to cancel student loan debt


    • Interesting that you mention that. I wrote this to PL [yes, I went there!] after Biden’s Town Hall. Actually it was in response to a Waldman Opinion which may be different from PL. I dunno.

      At JB’s Town Hall:

      One audience member said she needed at least $50,000 in student-loan forgiveness, only to have Biden tell her “I will not make that happen.”

      Thank you.

      Every case of repayment is different. For a significant number of those who borrowed it is not a hardship to repay.

      For those who have legitimate hardship claims there should be remedies that first offer public service jobs or national or military service until the debt is repaid, and second, offer moratoriums to the temporarily underemployed, and third, offer actual forgiveness for issues like medically impaired incapacity.

      Persons who were fleeced by for profit mills should have favorable treatment, especially if the mill has been the subject of definitive litigation. On the other hand, persons who paid for private tuition when public college was available to them should be at the end of the line. As a taxpayer I did not choose to send you to Georgetown when Maryland was available to you. Substitute “Rice” and “Houston” or “CalTech” and “CalPoly” or “Columbia” and “SUNY” if you will; the fact is whatever you paid for at a private college was available and as useful at a public one. If you couldn’t afford the sheer indulgent luxury of the prestige name without big loans don’t ask me to pay them.

      The notion that everybody gets to write off a loan that was offered based on the borrower’s promise to repay is disgusting. As a blanket proposal, a la the so called progressives, it is a payoff to the upper middle class, driving another stake into the body of the notion of equity for the poor.


      • Mark:

        As a taxpayer I did not choose to send you to Georgetown when Maryland was available to you.

        As a taxpayer, it doesn’t matter one iota to me where you went to school on my dime. I don’t understand why I should feel any better or different about forgiving a loan to someone who used it to go to Maryland and major in Women’s Studies than to go to Georgetown and major in Women’s Studies.


        • If you were not purposely missing the point, choosing to borrow more than you can handle is way more likey at G’town than at MD. That’s a bad choice I am not willing to pay for.

          Sure, there will be MD grads who want loan forgiveness. But not proportionally as many and for not as many bucks. The % of STEM grads at Maryland and similar Big State Us is high.


        • Mark:

          …choosing to borrow more than you can handle is way more likey at G’town than at MD.

          …Sure, there will be MD grads who want loan forgiveness. But not proportionally as many and for not as many bucks.

          Actually you are wrong on both counts.

          According to College Factual, a site that maintains stats on universities across the nation, 19% of University of Maryland students take out a federal student loan, with an average annual size of $8,247. And the 3 year default rate for University of Maryland students is 6.1%

          At Georgetown University, 25% of all students take out a federal student loan, with an average annual size of only $4,745. The 3 year default rate for Georgetown students is 1.2%.

          The thing you seem not to have considered is what I discovered and pointed out here years ago back when I was doing the college tours with my daughters (see here and here), namely that the sticker price at prestigious, high end private universities is just that, merely a sticker price. It isn’t what they actually charge. What they actually charge is highly variable and wholly dependent upon family income.

          You also seem not to have considered the fact that federal loans are capped regardless of where you go to school or what the cost is. So the fact that tuition happens to be higher at one school doesn’t mean you have access to a bigger federal loan just by attending that school. In fact, what gives you access to higher loan amounts is not the school you go to, but rather the family you come from. If you are an “independent” student (ie no parental support) or if your parents themselves don’t qualify for their own loans to help pay for tuition, you as a student can actually get a federal loan above the statutory cap. In other words, the less secure the loan is, the more money you can get! That’s a government program for you.

          If you look closely at the figures in the above links, you will see that the average loan size at Maryland is actually 132% of the federal cap, while at Georgetown it is only 65%. And this actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about the family demographics from which each school will generally draw the majority of its students.

          But, to reiterate my original point, to me none of that matters. I have no more interest in forgiving loans to Georgetown students than I do to University of Maryland students, even though (contrary to your assumptions) Maryland students are proportionately more likely to want loan forgiveness, and want it for more money. How about you, now?


        • Thanks. I certainlu did not know that.


        • Would you feel different if they were majoring in structural engineering? I think I would


        • KW:

          Would you feel different if they were majoring in structural engineering?

          I don’t think so. I made the Women’s Studies reference because that seemed a likely example of the kind of person who would default on their loan ( I assume a structural engineer is less likely to), but the principle remains the same regardless of major. Loan forgiveness is not fair to all of those responsible students who pay their loans back, especially those who struggle and sacrifice in order to do so. If we are going to differentiate between majors when it comes to the treatment of federal loans, it makes more sense to do it on the front end, and give better loan terms to structural engineers than to women’s studies majors, since the risk is probably lower.

          But ultimately I agree with jnc’s idea that it should simply be treated like any other obligation, ie dischargeable in bankruptcy.


      • this is nothing more than a handout to women, who owe something like 60% of all student loan debt.

        they’ll tart it up as social justice.


      • A better approach is to simply make it dischargable in bankruptcy again like most other debts. That’s how it was handled prior to 1977.


        • That is probably true. But what is A101?


        • That makes the most sense. Though the government will try and force the loan holders to eat the cramdown, completely oblivious to the fact that no one is going to make an unsecured open-ended loan where you forego payment for an unspecified time period up front, and your ultimate repayment can be a function of the borrower’s income.


        • A101 is a poster on Plum Line, who argues that what the USSR, China, Cuba, etc practiced was not real communism, but was really state capitalism.

          Basically, he argues the Marx Mulligan.


        • Any county come close? Kampuchea perchance?


        • I remember him. He asserts that every time it’s been tried it turns out to be state capitalism, but next time it will somehow turn out all right. Or something like that. One day human nature will be defeated!


    • I don’t understand how that would work.


      • oh, it works like this.

        We promise a load of horseshit and you vote for us. and point at those who object to our talking points and call them mean names. so you will hate them and vote for us.


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