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That Level Of Desperation

A report from WGBH. “Existing home sales fell nearly 9% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors, as millions of Americans lost their jobs to the coronavirus pandemic and millions more hunkered down to avoid getting sick. April’s numbers will be released next week — and are likely to be even worse. Oliver Hoare listed his Kirkland, Washington, home for just under $1 million. Hoare says the property had received thousands of hits online from prospective buyers, and then ‘three to four days after it listed, that’s when the shutdown really started to happen.'”

“He accepted an offer near the asking price, but the buyer pulled out the next day. ‘I would be spooked,’ Hoare says. ‘I work for a big travel company. Uber has laid off thousands of people. … Expedia has, Airbnb has.'”

“Vivek Sah, director of the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas says that could change suddenly when the mortgage forbearance program that Congress passed in March comes to an end. ‘It’s not going to be forever,’ he says. ‘So what happens in July, August? Nobody is talking about the upcoming distressed assets that will flood the market, which was the financial crisis.'”

“A few weeks after Robert Gifford and his wife put an offer on a $309,000 home in Tempe, Arizona, Gifford got furloughed from his advertising job. ‘It was very nerve-wracking,’ he says. ‘At times — even after we decided — we’d be like, ‘Are we sure about this?'”

“They moved forward with the sale nonetheless. He says they felt confident they’d budgeted well enough to live off one salary — for a while. ‘I felt like if we get back on track, we’re totally fine,’ says Gifford, who remembers the foreclosure crisis that crushed the Phoenix area just a decade ago. ‘But if this pandemic goes on for another year, it would be a lot more than just me who’d be losing their house.'”

From KQED in California. “Real estate experts around the Bay Area knew the region’s red-hot housing market was due for a cool down, but few expected the deep freeze brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Overnight, as shelter-in-place orders were issued, the Bay Area’s roaring housing machine ground to a halt. More than 10% of renters haven’t paid rent, and the number of homes for sale has fallen in every Bay Area market.”

“We spoke to 10 real estate experts, including economists, affordable- and market-rate housing developers, and rental property owners, to hear what they predict will be in store for the Bay Area’s housing market. Carol Galante, faculty director for the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley: ‘You’re going to see some softening of rents, particularly in the upper end of the market, because, they’re just going to want to start to lease those properties as soon as things do go back to some level of normalcy. In order to do that, they’re probably going to have to make adjustments in their rents to get people to move.'”

“Mike Ghielmetti, president of Signature Development Group, a residential and commercial property developer based in Oakland: ‘I think there has been a lot of supply — not near as much as needed to satisfy the housing demand — but there’s been, relatively speaking, a lot of supply in the Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Jose markets, which is a good thing for consumers. And there ought to be some really good deals in the next year or two.'”

“Gustavo Lopez, realtor: ‘It used to be that renters were moving fast to get a place, and they were also overbidding and sometimes they were coming over [saying], ‘I will pay six months in advance if I get this place.’ Now, it’s all the opposite, and the landlords are saying, ‘Hey, I’ll give you free utilities for six months or I discount $2,000 from these rentals for three months or four months.’ So, it’s that level of desperation.'”

“Sid Lakireddy, president of the California Rental Housing Association: ‘New development tends to taper off in a recession, and they won’t be so quick to start new housing projects. But it was that pressure release valve that was needed because the cost of construction had gotten so high, that it did not make sense for a lot of projects to be built anymore. You saw a lot of projects in San Francisco not being built right before this happened. So, yes, I think you’re going to see a cooling off in construction, unfortunately, as well.'”

This Post Has 87 Comments
  1. ‘‘I think there has been a lot of supply — not near as much as needed to satisfy the housing demand — but there’s been, relatively speaking, a lot of supply in the Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Jose markets’

    Now that’s just crazy talk Mike. We’ve been told California hasn’t built a dog house for decades.

    Eat yer crowz Thornberg.

    1. You have to be a masochist to build in Berkeley but they’ve actually been doing it. There have been quite a few condo and apartment buildings put up in West Berkeley in the last five years.

      1. Even growing up in the Bay Area we used to call Bekrley the “People’s Republic of Berkley” and refer to it as an anti-capitalist, communist city.

  2. ‘it was that pressure release valve that was needed because the cost of construction had gotten so high, that it did not make sense for a lot of projects to be built anymore. You saw a lot of projects in San Francisco not being built right before this happened’

    Well Sid, thousands of workers just got the can. Truth is downtown SF CRE has been sinking like a turd in a well for at least two years. Remember the Chronicle reporting that every single project was for sale – in 2018.

    They paid too much for the land. That’s where the bubble is.

    1. Happening in cities all over the state, and at the state level too.

      And because of pesky TABOR they can’t raise taxes to cover the shortfall, otherwise we’d be seeing “temporary” sales and property tax increases.

    2. Working in Southern Colorado again this week, the out of state license plates are everywhere. Memorial Day weekend should be a sh*tshow with all the busybody sheriffs enforcing their locals-only orders on all the visitors.

      1. Tomorrow night, the governor of Maryland is allowing Maryland to open up again at 50% capacity, I think with masks still. The two border counties, Montgomery and Prince George’s, will *not* be opening up again, because their case count hasn’t stabilized yet. Baltimore is considering staying shut too. I suspect that residents of those counties will be driving out of county to go party this weekend.

        In drug news, there’s another confirmatory study on HCQ working ok (but not a gold standard study yet). There is word that Ivermectin works as well. Vitamin D appears to have a preventative effect.

  3. “They moved forward with the sale nonetheless. He says they felt confident they’d budgeted well enough to live off one salary — for a while. ‘I felt like if we get back on track, we’re totally fine,’ says Gifford, who remembers the foreclosure crisis that crushed the Phoenix area just a decade ago. ‘But if this pandemic goes on for another year, it would be a lot more than just me who’d be losing their house.’”


      1. “Sah says buyer demand will certainly suffer until the fear of the pandemic passes, but the lending environment in this downturn is vastly different.

        “It’s much more robust,” he says.

        After the Great Recession, banks tightened their lending standards and it became more difficult for buyers with bad credit to qualify for a mortgage. As the pandemic deepens, those standards are getting even more restrictive.

        Sah also says home appraisers aren’t inflating home values like they once were.”

        Believe him Ben. He is the Director of the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies

      2. Lets see Tempe AZ beginning of summer 110DEEgrees anyone guess what their electric bill will be the next 6 months???? One salary???

      3. That’s some tight lending right there.

        The PTB know they’ve painted themselves into a corner, and the only way the whole sh!thouse doesn’t come crashing down is to extend and pretend the game. They have got to keep that subprime flowing, come hell or high water.

    1. “it would be a lot more than just me who’d be losing their house.’”

      Your house? You’re renting from the bank…… at twice the price of renting on the open market.

      Dumb DebtDonkeys…. Dumb dumb DebtDonkeys.

    2. “He says they felt confident they’d budgeted well enough to live off one salary — for a while.”

      Wonder how long he can kick back and cruise the tube sites while the bird gets up early to primp before going to work?

      1. The Fed has infinite money. You just have to know somebody that will give it to you.

        1. As we have been observing, the Fed’s top job is to keep the stock market’s plates spinning.

    1. In Japan a 10% pay cut is a mere flesh wound, but in California that’s a slashed tendon and severed artery!

      1. Lots of state employees are wondering about now how they will continue living paycheck-to-paycheck after a 10% cut.

        1. They’ll have to sell the vacation home to start. Dump the oversized SUV next. Then finally pull the kids out of travel sports.

          1. Then finally pull the kids out of travel sports.

            They’ll file BK first. That’s their college dream.

          2. They’ll file BK first. That’s their college dream.

            I know a lot of people who had their kids participate in those pricey club teams for years, only to end up with no scholarship. Some of them did get an “unpaid” spot on the college, as bench warmers.

            It used to be easier for girls to get a good scholarship, because of title IX. But now there is a tsunami of girls in team sports.

        2. Lots of state employees are wondering about now how they will continue living paycheck-to-paycheck after a 10% cut.

          They could take a second job, stocking shelves at Walmart or something.

    2. It also includes a 10% pay cut for all state workers, including the governor himself.

      Along with the hyperinflation in groceries and everything else, there’s even less money for overpriced shacks.

      1. the hyperinflation in groceries and everything else

        Must be an Amazon customer. That’s not hyperinflation.

        1. I can’t say that I’ve seen hyper inflation at the grocery store. That said, I probably wouldn’t notice a 2-3% change, but that isn’t hyperinflation.

      2. I suspect a good bit of that 2.6 trillion that just got wished into existence will end up there, one way or another.

    3. And here I thought we were a “Nation State” able to write those big checks to secure the billion dollar face-mask deals with the Chinese Communist Party! Now, we’re begging the feds for a bailout.

      “Nothing breaks my heart more than having to make budget cuts,” he said. “There’s a human being behind every single number.”

      He forgot about the human being having to pay for every tax increase!

      1. It’s all good and fun until they run out of other people’s money to spend. It happens over and over in California, but they never seem to learn.

  4. ‘Hey, I’ll give you free utilities for six months or I discount $2,000 from these rentals for three months or four months.’ So, it’s that level of desperation’

    How are those 5% cap rates looking now?

    1. These are concessions with lower the effective rent, but they aren’t official rent decreases. Therefore doesn’t the 5% cap rate looks the same … on paper?

    1. How many mansions does anyone need? Especially in the same metro area?

      Time to call it a day. Should I go home to the Santa Clara mansion, the Palo Alto mansion, the Cupertino mansion, the Berkeley mansion or am I feeling like a little Marin today?

      1. There are a LOT (like thousands) of palatial estates in the north bay (Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties) but you can’t see them from the road generally, they are behind gates and up as much as a few miles of private road. Worked in the generator business for awhile so I saw a lot of that and it was eye opening…knew there was a lot of money here but that shifted my perception. And in many cases these were not even primary residences…

        1. Agreed.

          I used to clean some fancy architecture “bay view” windows up in Sausalito and Tiburon. Most were from old money that never had to work, IMHO.

          1. At some point, they’ll feel it though, most likely as an empty belly.

          2. Most people can’t even conceptualize the wealth of the top .5%.

            I can. Our CEO owns dozens of mansions. A mansion in Palm Springs has its own private golf course. He owns the Hawaiian island Lanai.

            He owns several private jets, countless supercars, etc,.

      1. Agreed. I doubt too many people on this blog care about 0% rates.

        I have been inquiring about some new cars since we will be needing a new one in the next two years. They give me a price. I ask about zero percent financing (just out of curiosity). They say the price increases by $3,000 if I get 0% financing. I explain that it isn’t 0% financing if it costs more money. They act like I have broccoli growing out of my ears.

        I wait.

        Hoping to pick up something slightly used in the next 6 months.

        1. I’ve seen much better incentives in the past. 0% AND huge discounts.

          But my biggest peeve is what new cars are like: tiny engines with turbos, unreliable Continuously Variable Transmissions. And the gadgets. So many gadgets. Auto brake systems, lane control systems. Complex infotainment systems. These things are going to break and will cost a fortune to repair. I suppose that for those who don’t mind the never ending lease treadmill it’s not a problem, as they will always have a car under warranty.

          And then there is the price. Even the “budget brands” have vehicles in the 40-50K price range.

        2. They act like I have broccoli growing out of my ears.

          They became accustomed to people just paying whatever the price is and not questioning anything.

          I’m sure they were less than thrilled when you drove off in your old car, even if you had broccoli growing out your ears.

    1. San Diego unemployment rate again hits all-time high, new report shows
      by: City News Service, Jeff McAdam
      Posted: May 14, 2020 / 12:23 PM PDT / Updated: May 14, 2020 / 04:54 PM PDT

      SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County’s estimated unemployment rose to a record-high 28.7% this week according to a report released Thursday by the San Diego Association of Governments.

      This follows the previous week’s 26.8% unemployment rate, also a record-high for the region, surpassing both the recession of 2008 and the Great Depression.

      “We are now exceeding the numbers we had at the worst part in our history,” SANDAG Chief Economist Ray Major said.

      Major said part of the reason San Diego’s numbers are so high is because it relies heavily on the tourism industry. Additionally, California as a whole has some of the more stringent stay-at-home orders in the country.

      More than 34,000 San Diegans lost their jobs in the week reflected by the data, April 25 to May 2, before Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order to open some industries May 8.

      “That’s a huge number,” said Laura Ericson, an unemployed pastry chef. “One in four don’t have a job? When you put it that way, it’s tough. But it makes sense because I’m walking around without a job.”

      Although the number of unemployed is likely to increase with next week’s data, the numbers could start dropping in the next few weeks as restrictions are lifted and people get back to work.

      On March 7, the unemployment rate in the county was 3.4%.

      According to the SANDAG analysis, 490,000 people are out of work in the San Diego region, more than 430,000 of whom lost employment after March 7 — which public health officials have pinpointed as the date the health crisis began locally.

      The hardest-hit areas of the county remain central San Diego and ZIP codes near the border, like San Ysidro.

      Logan Heights leads the county in unemployment, with more than 42% of residents out of work. Golden Hill, City Heights, the College area and San Ysidro all have more than 34% unemployment and National City has more than 31% unemployed.

      A stretch of North County along state Route 78 is also experiencing higher-than-average rates of unemployment, with South Oceanside and Cal State University San Marcos at more than 32% unemployed, and portions of Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad and Oceanside at more than 30%.

      Major said he’s hopeful unemployment rates won’t climb past 35%, but says it could be upwards of a couple years before we get below double digits.

      The industries most severely impacted by COVID-19 and various stay-at-home and social-distancing orders associated with the pandemic include ones in which close contact is required, such as hotel, restaurant, personal care, transportation and entertainment jobs.

      1. Like dominoes, the above tier needs to collapse before the $1M 40+yo dated 2,400sf 4BR/2.5BA tier collapses.

      2. We had a home sell nearby, by someone in our community who is moving east for a job change. And the realtor who helped them find a buyer is also from the same (LDS) community.

        Having ready access to a network of people who are financially situated to trade real estate when the economy is collapsing is obviously a huge gamechanger for those currently trying to buy or sell.

  5. For oxide and others:
    “Dr. Jay Bhattacharaya from Stanford Medicine makes his third appearance on Uncommon Knowledge in eight weeks, this time to discuss a new COVID-19 survey of Major League Baseball employees he co-authored. …. Dr. Bhattacharya also discusses the very real health risks associated with a prolonged lockdown and answers some of the questions raised by his last survey of Santa Clara County. ”

  6. We haven’t yet run out of bearish vulture investors sitting on a big cash pile, waiting to snap up deals at fire sale prices when the moment is ripe.

    1. The Financial Times
      Coronavirus business update 30 days complimentary
      PNC Financial Services Group Inc
      PNC says fears for US economy prompted sale of BlackRock stake
      Disposal of $17bn holding gives US lender a ‘bulletproof’ balance sheet, says chief Bill Demchak
      Bill Demchak, PNC chief executive, signalled the bank would be open to acquisitions
      © Brian Cohen for the FT
      Laura Noonan and Robert Armstrong in New York
      6 hours ago

      PNC’s decision to sell its $17bn stake in BlackRock was prompted by the bank’s increasing fears over the US economy, chief executive Bill Demchak told the Financial Times.

      The head of America’s seventh-largest commercial bank said the sale would give him a “bulletproof” balance sheet to deal with an extreme crisis or a war chest to buy distressed assets in a more moderate recession.

      “As we entered this crisis, it became clear that everything we thought we knew was proven incorrect,” Mr Demchak said of the deliberations that led the PNC to decide to end its long relationship with the world’s biggest asset manager.

      “We’re in this economy where everybody bases their models predicting the future on the past and of course we’ve never been in a situation where [we] effectively have been forced to shut down on the economy with this much fiscal stimulus.”

      America’s banks set aside tens of billions of dollars in the first quarter to deal with potential loan losses. At PNC, first quarter loan loss provisions increased almost fivefold to $914m.

      “I can’t stress the importance of being able to play offence into that environment,” Mr Demchak said. “If you’re left in a situation where you’re defending, where you’re shrinking your balance sheet, where you’re worried about your capital, where you’re continually cajoling shareholders, or clients to stick with you, you’re not focused on growing.”

      PNC said on Monday that it would sell its 22 per cent stake in BlackRock after 25 years, a move that will increase PNC’s common equity tier one ratio from 9.4 per cent to 11.4 per cent. That is well above the minimum 4.5 per cent ratio the bank is required to hold.

      PNC’s preferred option is to use the extra capital to buy another bank at an attractive valuation, something Mr Demchak said was more likely in the future than in the recent past. Recent acquisitions have demanded high prices or been mergers of equals, such as when BB&T combined with SunTrust last year to create a bank just bigger than Mr Demchak’s.

      “Even if credit losses aren’t that severe [during the Covid-19 crisis], the earning potential of banks at a zero rate environment, with all the necessary cost that we had before we got into this, is going to be pretty tough,” he said. “Boards are going to have some realistic discussions [about potential sales].”

      A banker familiar with PNC’s strategy said the US arms of European banks such as HSBC and Santander could be attractive targets if their parents needed capital to prop up ailing domestic operations.

      Mr Demchak said he did not have a fixed target in mind. “I think there’s going to be opportunities, but it always surprises us in terms of what shows up. We need to watch and hang around the hoop to see how this plays out.”

    2. Warren Buffett rescued Corporate America in 2008. He’s got $130 billion in cash to do it again
      By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
      Updated 9:47 AM ET, Sat May 2, 2020
      Buffett on health care initiative: We’ll do our best

      New York (CNN Business) Tens of thousands of people typically flock to Omaha each year for the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. This year, fans of Warren Buffett will have no choice but to watch him online.

      Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) announced in mid-March that it would not hold its usual festivities at the CHI Health Center on May 2 because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
      Instead, Buffett will just take questions from shareholders and a few reporters in a virtual meeting that will be livestreamed exclusively on Yahoo Finance.

      “Large gatherings can pose a health threat to the participants and the greater community. We won’t ask this of our employees and we won’t expose Omaha to the possibility of becoming a ‘hot spot’ in the current pandemic,” Buffett said in a statement.

      1. 130 billion? That’s a meaty burst of flatulence in a cat 5 hurricane.

    3. ‘It’s smart to follow the smart money’ on Wall Street: Miller Tabak strategist
      Ines Ferré
      Markets Reporter
      Yahoo Finance
      May 14, 2020

      When Wall Street bigwigs say the market is overvalued — it’s time to “follow the smart money,” says Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak.

      On Wednesday billionaire investor David Tepper said this was the second most overvalued market he’d seen outside of the 1999 bubble. The day before, hedge fund manager Stan Druckenmiller sounded the alarm on stock valuations.

      In Wall Street, it’s smart to follow the smart money … when you have so many of them who’ve made their billions doing this, it makes me a little bit more cautious,” Maley told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

    4. Markets
      Wall Street Heavyweights Are Sounding Alarm About Stocks
      By Katherine Burton, Melissa Karsh, and Sophie Alexander
      May 13, 2020, 3:33 PM PDT
      Updated on May 14, 2020, 4:39 AM PDT
      Wall Street’s Top Investors Sound Alarm About Stocks

      The biggest names in finance are coming around to a view that seemed unlikely a few weeks ago: Stocks are vastly overvalued.

      Legendary investors Stan Druckenmiller and David Tepper were the latest to weigh in after a historic market rebound, saying the risk-reward of holding shares is the worst they’ve encountered in years. Druckenmiller on Tuesday called a V-shaped recovery — the idea the economy will quickly snap back as the coronavirus pandemic eases — a “fantasy.” Tepper said Wednesday that next to 1999, equities are overvalued the most he’s ever seen.

      It’s a notion catching on among Wall Street money managers. And it’s coming as investors start to suspect that the Federal Reserve’s support, as well as $3 trillion in Treasury stimulus, may not be enough to compensate for soaring unemployment, a wave of bankruptcies and no end in sight to the pandemic. Managers including Bill Miller, Paul Singer and Paul Tudor Jones have all voiced doubts about markets or the economy.

      Such bearishness starkly contrasts with the optimism that pushed the S&P 500 Index up 26% from its March low.

  7. Economic Report
    Fed’s balance sheet nears $7 trillion mark
    Published: May 14, 2020 at 5:20 p.m. ET
    By Sunny Oh
    Fed’s balance sheet expansion may be slowing
    Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell

    The numbers: The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet grew to a record $6.98 trillion in the week ended May 13, up from $6.72 trillion in the prior week, the central bank said Thursday.

    What happened: Much of the balance sheet’s expansion was due to an increase in its holdings of mortgage-backed bonds by $178 billion.

    Analysts noted most of these purchases had, in fact, taken place a few weeks ago and were showing up on the balance sheet in the most recent weekly period because that was when they were finally transferred into the Fed’s hands.

    1. Markets are trying to price in the news that massive supply cuts are in store.

      1. Very convenient how future supply cuts can be priced into the market for months, but a gross lack of demand and massive gluts only lead to short durations of crater. This current oil price is steeped in fantasy.

        1. As I’ve said in the past, gasoline prices are super sticky on the way down, but rise quickly on the way up.

          Still haven’t filled up the tank since March.

  8. Who’d’ve thunk that blasting markets with trillion$ in Unlimited Quarantinive Easing would result in historically overvalued stock prices relative to fundamentals?

    Mark Hulbert
    Opinion: This settles the stock-market valuation debate between David Tepper and Nelson Peltz
    Published: May 15, 2020 at 6:04 a.m. ET
    By Mark Hulbert
    Q-Ratio doesn’t depend on projecting either earnings or revenue

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Who’s right: David Tepper or Nelson Peltz?

    Tepper, the hedge fund titan who founded Appaloosa Management, said the stock market is the “second-most overvalued” he’s ever seen. In contrast, Nelson Peltz, the Trian Partners chief executive, told CNBC that there is “loads of value in the market,” that he’s optimistic on the outlook for a COVID-19 vaccine, and that he’s putting his capital to work.

    It would be easy to just flip a coin, of course. If uber-wealthy managers on Wall Street can so disagree, despite having access to huge research budgets and top analysts, what insight can we possibly shed on the market?

    This question takes on even more urgency right now, when companies literally have no idea what their earnings and revenue will be in coming quarters. As I pointed out a week ago, quoting Kathleen Houssels, global chief investment officer at AXA Rosenberg Investment Management, “traditional Quant Factors like Value, Growth, and Quality will become virtually meaningless as the impact of the coronavirus hits company financial statements.”

    There nevertheless is one valuation indicator with an excellent long-term record that does not rely on either earnings or revenue projections: the Q-Ratio, which is calculated by dividing market value by the replacement cost of assets. This ratio was introduced by the late James Tobin, the 1981 Nobel laureate.

    The chart at the top of this article, based on data from Andrew Smithers, the U.K.-based economic consultant, plots the Q-Ratio for the S&P 500 index (SPX, -0.39%) back to 1900. Higher levels mean the market is more overvalued, and that the Q-Ratio currently is well above the last century’s average. In fact, as of mid-May, it’s at the 97th percentile of the historical distribution — exceeded only by the stock-market top prior to the 1929 Crash and at the top of the Internet bubble in early 2000.

    1. Europe’s top three economies are now in recession. The real shock is still to come
      By Charles Riley, CNN Business
      Updated 7:21 AM ET, Fri May 15, 2020

      London (CNN Business)
      Germany’s economy shrank at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis in the first three months of the year, with GDP contracting by 2.2% compared to the previous quarter.
      The country’s statistics agency said that household consumption fell sharply. Investment in machinery and equipment plummeted, while both imports and exports “saw a strong decline” compared to the fourth quarter.

      The big picture: The contraction in the first quarter was the second largest since German reunification in 1990.
      Revised GDP data showed the country’s economy shrank slightly in the final three months of last year, meaning the largest economy in the eurozone is now officially in recession.

      Germany joins France and Italy in recession but still ended the first quarter in better shape than the eurozone’s 2nd and 3rd biggest economies. First quarter GDP declined by 5.8% in France, and by 4.7% in Italy.

      The difference? Germany did not introduce strict social distancing measures until the relatively late date of March 22.

      Still, the worst is yet to come. Jack Allen-Reynolds of Capital Economics said he expects German GDP to decline by 10% in the second quarter.
      “The lockdown is being eased in May and June, but only gradually, and Germany’s recovery will be constrained by the problems elsewhere in Europe,” he said.

    2. The Financial Times
      Peter Wells 2 hours ago
      US industrial production falls the most on record

      The contraction in US industrial activity deepened in April, falling by the most on record.

      Industrial production plunged 11.2 per cent last month from March’s 4.5 per cent drop (previously minus 5.4 per cent), according to data from the Federal Reserve on Friday.

      That is the biggest monthly drop in the history of the data series, stretching back to the start of 1919.

      April’s fall was only slightly better than the 11.5 per cent drop economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected.
      Peter Wells 3 hours ago
      US retail sales fall in April by a record 16.4%

      Retail sales in the US fell in April by the most on record as nationwide coronavirus lockdowns throttled spending by consumers at many bricks and mortar stores.

      The contraction deepened last month, when the effects of stay at home orders became more sweeping, with headline retail sales tumbling 16.4 per cent to $403.9bn, according to data from the commerce department on Friday.

      That was from an 8.3 per cent fall in March — revised from an 8.7 per cent drop, previously — that was already the biggest drop according to data going back to 1992, and compared with economists’ forecasts for a 12 per cent decline.

      Clothing and accessories stores suffered an 89.3 per cent drop in sales compared with April last year, but non-store retailers — those selling their wares online — saw a 21.6 per cent year-on-year rise, the commerce department said.

      Sales excluding autos and volatile petrol prices dropped 16.2 per cent last month, with March’s decline revised to 2.6 per cent from 3.1 per cent previously.

      Separately, the general business conditions index of the New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State manufacturing survey — a measure of industry in the state hit hardest by coronavirus — recovered by more than forecast to minus 48.5 last month from March’s record low minus 78.2. Economists expected a reading of minus 63.5. These levels exceed the previous low seen during the financial crisis of minus 34.3. The data series goes back to 2001.

  9. Cracks me up that these jerks were trying to scheme on taking Trump out by the 25 Amendment, which is medically unfit to serve.

    But, the Dems are willing to put up a Joe Biden who is 78 and senile and no doubt one of the more Corrupt Politicians around. Biden evokes the 25 Amendment right now.
    Do you want that sleazeball Joe Biden to be in charge of Foreign policy when the evidence shows his Son was getting kickbacks from Foreign Governments like China?
    Joe Biden represents mindless, corrupt, storytelling liar, arrogant, empty shell, anger problem, piece of sh_t I have ever seen. He isn’t very bright and never was. Just one more long term Politician that rode the Government gravy train He should be the poster boy on why we need term limits.

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