Fannie Mae: Mortgage Serious Delinquency rate declined slightly in October

Fannie Mae reported today that the Single-Family Serious Delinquency rate declined slightly in October to 1.58% from 1.59% in September. The serious delinquency rate is down from 1.92% in October 2014, and this is the lowest level since August 2008.

The Fannie Mae serious delinquency rate peaked in February 2010 at 5.59%.

Note: These are mortgage loans that are "three monthly payments or more past due or in foreclosure".

Note: Freddie Mac has not reported for October yet.

Fannie Freddie Seriously Delinquent RateClick on graph for larger image

The Fannie Mae serious delinquency rate has only fallen 0.34 percentage points over the last year - the pace of improvement has slowed - and at that pace the serious delinquency rate will not be below 1% until 2017.

The "normal" serious delinquency rate is under 1%, so maybe Fannie Mae serious delinquencies will be close to normal some time in 2017.  This elevated delinquency rate is mostly related to older loans - the lenders are still working through the backlog.

‚The Euro Debate and the Abuse of Language‘

Colm McCarthy writing at The Irish Economy blog:

The Euro Debate and the Abuse of Language: Defenders of the Eurozone’s initial design, subsequent management and purported reform invariably refer to the system as a ‘monetary union’. So do academic commentators including the authors of the recent Vox piece on the origins of the crisis. Whether intended or unconscious, this is an abuse of language.
Monetary unions do not experience selective bank closures, the re-introduction of exchange controls or the numerous other manifestations of financial fragmentation that have occurred before and after the Eurozone ‘reforms’. Germany is a monetary union. In 1974 the Herstatt Bank collapsed in Cologne and several banks based in Dusseldorf went down in the recent crisis. Both cities are in Nordrhein Westfalen, but there was no closure of bank branches in the state nor were exchange controls introduced by the state authorities on either occasion. Interest rates in Nordrhein Westfalen did not detach from rates elsewhere in Germany nor did bank deposits flee the state.
When the Continental Illinois Bank went under in 1984, at the time the largest-ever US bank failure, the state of Illinois was not expected to handle the fall-out. ... The USA is also a monetary union and there is federal responsibility for bank supervision, bank resolution and the protection of bank creditors.
The Eurozone in contrast was established in 1999 as no more than a common currency area, with a ‘central bank’ responsible only for monetary policy in the aggregate, in pursuit of an inflation target. To describe it as a ‘monetary union’ is to deny that there is any distinction between a common currency area and a monetary union. If the Eurozone really was a monetary union in 2008 the history of the crisis would have been very different.
Language matters. ... The danger is that relentless description of the Eurozone as a monetary union deflects attention from the awkward truth that it is not, and from the political unwillingness to make it so.

NXP Semi: Stay Prepared

NXP Semi has rebounded following positive regulatory news surrounding the Freescale Semi merger.          Investors should patiently await further dips as the inventory correction and volatile merger integration will no doubt lead to more hiccups in the quarterly financials. The stock remains a prime purchase on future dips due to the synergies from the merger and the benefits to the EPS

Chicago PMI Contracts Again, 6th Time in 10 Months; Service Economy Poised for a Big Slowdown?

Volatility in the Chicago PMI likely has economists scratching their heads. Following last month's surge comes this month's contraction. It's been off and on for 10 months. No swing in either direction has lasted more than two months.

Yet, the overall trend has been weakening for a year and economists missed this month's forecast by a mile. The Econoday Consensus estimate was for a reading of +54.0 in a range of 52.8  to 56.5. The actual reading was 48.7.
Volatility is what to expect from the Chicago PMI which, at 48.7, is back in contraction in November after surging into solid expansion at 56.2 in October. Up and down and up and down is the pattern with prior readings at 48.7 in September (the same as November) and 54.4 in August.

New orders are down sharply and are back in contraction while backlog orders are in a 10th month of contraction. Production soared nearly 20 points in October but reversed most of the gain in November. Despite November's weakness, employment is up slightly. Prices paid is in contraction for a fourth straight month.

Though this report points to November weakness for the whole of the Chicago economy, the volatility of the report should limit its impact on the month's outlook.
ISM Chicago vs. Manufacturing ISM

Something clearly changed in February, and it wasn't the weather.

Service Economy Poised for a Big Slowdown?

The Chicago PMI survey includes both manufacturing and non-manufacturing components so it is not directly comparable to pure manufacturing surveys. That makes matters worse actually, given economists generally consider the service economy to be in good shape.

Bloomberg proposes the volatility of the report should limit its impact on the month's outlook.
I suggest volatility is a sign of a trend change as well as underlying weakness. And the backlog of orders, one place where there has been consistent contraction for 10 months, does not bode well for future hiring needs.

All things considered, the Chicago PMI is a warning that the service economy may be on its last legs.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

‚Is Balanced Growth Really the Answer?‘

Jared Bernstein:

Is balanced growth really the answer?: A recent must-read article by journalist Alec MacGillis documents a phenomenon that he suggests must “give Democrats the willies:” the increasing political opposition to safety net programs, even among those who’ve been helped by them. ...
MacGillis argues that this outcome is in part driven by resentments of those who believe they’ve pulled themselves up by their bootstraps (even if the government helped them pull) against those they view as milking public support without trying to improve their lot. Such sentiments are amped up by prominent conservatives like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan...
It’s an argument as old as poverty itself (see, e.g., English Poor Laws of 1601). I recall similar polemics during the welfare reform debate of the 1990s...
MacGillis believes that shared growth would go a long way toward altering these political dynamics in favor of a necessary role for policy in the list of areas just noted:
“The best way to reduce resentment … would be to bring about true economic growth in the areas where the use of government benefits is on the rise … if fewer people need the safety net to get by, the stigma will fade, and low-income citizens will be more likely to re-engage in their communities — not least by turning out to vote.”
By “true economic growth,” he means growth that reaches far beyond Wall Street, and even Main Street, to the hollows of Appalachia; growth that would fill the growing black hole in heart of coal country, where opportunity is fading and downward mobility is upon the land. ...

I'm not sure I agree. Growth of this type would be good, but is the problem production or distribution? If the problem is distribution, for example unequal bargaining power leading to low, stagnant wages that do not respond to increased productivity -- instead those gains flow upward -- then more growth will simply lead to even more inequality. So I don't think growth alone will necessarily be enough, we also need to change the institutions and economic incentives that determine how income is divided up within firms.

This is a way of avoiding calls for "redistribution," which implies taking something one person has earned and giving it to someone who has not. But as I've said many times, if the distribution of income is determined by something other than productivity, as it appears to be -- if income that was not earned through higher productivity flows to those at the top of firms due to unequal bargaining power or other forces -- then returning that income to those who did earn it is not taking something unjustly (taking the normative position that people should earn their contribution to national output), instead it is restoring justice. The trick is to get people to understand that.

Anyway, I think it's necessary to think about distribution, not just growth, if we want to solve the inequality problem.

There is this, I suppose:

...there’s some evidence that more growth reaching more people would lead to greater support for progressive policies. Political science provides cross-country evidence that voter turnout falls as inequality rises (though the correlation for the U.S. is weak) and today’s non-voters support notably more progressive agendas than voters. And it does seem that especially given the rising share of non-whites, unmarried women and millennials — the so-called Rising American Electorate — favorable outcomes for Democrats are increasingly dependent on robust turnout. ...

Which reinforces the need to think about changes beyond just growth (I'm sure Jared gets this, just want to reinforce the point).

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