Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

SPR and Oil Supplies Low, same with Distillates and Products

RJS, Focus on Fracking Summary: Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a 20 year low, US oil supplies at a 14 year low after record jump in exports; distillates supplies at a 14 year low, total oil + products inventories at an 8 year low; a total oil + products exports at a record high The Latest US Oil Supply and Disposition Data from the EIA […]

Mortgage rates continue to rise

Mortgage rates continue to rise; once the backlog in construction is cleared, this will likely kill housing No important economic news today (April 22), but an important negative trend in interest rates is continuing. Mortgage rates are now at 12 year highs. The weekly data from Freddy Mac’s weekly survey shows rates increased to 5.11% […]

Jobless claims: more 50+ year lows

Jobless claims: more 50+ year lows Initial jobless claims declined -2,000 to 184,000, another 50+ year low. The 4 week average rose from 4,500 to 177,250, compared with the all-time low of 170,500 set two weeks ago. Continuing claims declined -58,000 this week to 1,417,000, a new 50 year low (but still well above their […]

Housing starts show continued strength in March, while single family permits indicate softness ahead

Housing starts show continued strength in March, while single family permits indicate softness ahead The continued strength in total housing permits and starts shown in this morning’s report for March was surprising; but the series with the most signal and least noise, single family permits, betrayed weakness.  While typically permits, especially single family permits, lead […]

The worst interest rate upturn since 1994

The worst interest rate upturn since 1994 is likely to produce the worst housing downturn in over a decade No economic news of note today; but tomorrow we will see housing permits and starts for March, and on Wednesday existing home sales. So let’s take an important look at housing. The recent increase in mortgage […]

Paul Krugman on the Great Illusion of economic rationality and war — in 2008

Paul Krugman on the Great Illusion of economic rationality and war — in 2008 Paul Krugman wrote an article this past week about how free trade can enable authoritarians, and how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may be putting an end to globalization. I went looking for an excerpt that wasn’t behind a paywall, and look what I […]

The worst interest rate upturn since 1994 is likely to produce the worst housing downturn in over a decade

The worst interest rate upturn since 1994 is likely to produce the worst housing downturn in over a decade No economic news of note today; but tomorrow we will see housing permits and starts for March, and on Wednesday existing home sales. So let’s take an important look at housing. The recent increase in mortgage […]

Real aggregate payrolls and sales

Real aggregate payrolls and sales There seems to be some pushback against the narrative that real wages have declined, based on compositional effects (lower pay occupations vs. higher pay occupations). While some of that is true (for example, 5/6’s of all leisure and hospitality losses have been recovered, vs. 3.4% actual job *gains* since February […]

The production side of the economy remained solid in March

The production side of the economy remained solid in March Industrial production, the King of Coincident Indicators, increased in March by 0.9%. February was also revised higher by 0.4%, but January was revised lower by the same percentage, for a wash. Manufacturing production also increased 0.9%. Total production thus made another new record high, while […]