The Next Subprime Crisis Is Here: 12 Signs That The US Auto Industry's Day Of Reckoning Has Arrived
ZeroHedge.com Apr 4, 2017 10:22 PM
Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,
In 2008, subprime mortgages almost single-handedly took down the entire financial system, and now a new subprime crisis is here.
In recent years, the auto industry has been able to boost sales by aggressively pushing people into auto loans that they cannot afford. In particular, auto loans made to consumers with subprime credit have been accounting for an increasingly larger percentage of the market. Unfortunately, when you make loans to people that should not be getting them, eventually a lot of those loans are going to start to go bad, and that is precisely what is happening now. Meanwhile, automakers and dealers are starting to panic as sales have begun to fall and used car prices have started to crash. If you work in the auto industry, you might remember how horrible the last recession was, and this new downturn could eventually turn out to be even worse. The following are 12 signs that a day of reckoning has arrived for the U.S. auto industry…
#1 Seven out of the eight largest automakers in the United States fell short of their sales projections in March.
#2 Overall, U.S. auto sales so far in 2017 have been described as a “disaster” despite record spending on consumer incentives by automakers.
#3 Dealer inventories are now at the highest level that we have seen since the last financial crisis. Why this is so troubling is because there are a whole lot of unsold vehicles just sitting there doing nothing, and this is becoming a major financial problem for many dealers.
#4 It now takes an average of 74 days before a dealer is able to sell a new vehicle. This number is also the highest that it has been since the last financial crisis.
#5 Not only is Ford projecting that sales will fall this year, they are also projecting that sales will fall in 2018 as well.
#6 Used vehicle prices are already starting to decline dramatically…
The used-vehicle price index from the National Automobile Dealers Association posted a 3.8% decline in February compared to the prior month. NADA also said wholesale prices fell 1.6%.
#7 As I discussed yesterday, Morgan Stanley is projecting that used car prices “could crash by up to 50%” over the next four or five years.
#8 Right now, more than a million Americans are behind on their payments on their auto loans. This is something that has not happened since the last financial crisis.
#9 In 2017, U.S. consumers are more “underwater” on their auto loans than they have ever been before.
#10 Subprime auto loan losses have soared to their highest level since the last financial crisis, and the delinquency rate on those loans has risen to the highest level that we have seen since the last financial crisis. By now, I am sure that you are starting to notice a pattern in these data points.
#11 At this moment, approximately $200,000,000,000 has been loaned out by auto lenders to consumers with subprime credit.
#12 Just like with subprime mortgages in the run up to the last financial crisis, subprime auto loans have been bundled together and sold as “securities” to investors. And just like last time around, this has turned out to be a recipe for disaster…
Many auto loans, including those considered subprime, are securitized and sold to investors. But Morgan Stanley recently reported that the share of auto securities tied to “deep subprime” loans – those given to borrowers with a FICO credit score below 550 — has risen from 5.1 percent in 2010 to 32.5 percent today. It said defaults on those bonds have risen significantly in the past five years.
Almost a quarter of the more than $1.1 trillion in U.S. auto loan debt is owed by subprime borrowers, and delinquency rates have hit their highest point in seven years.
In the old days, you could always count on the U.S. auto industry to bounce back eventually because of the economic strength of average U.S. consumers. Unfortunately, the middle class in America is being systematically hollowed out by long-term economic trends that our leaders in Washington D.C. have consistently ignored.
We have become a nation of economic extremes. There are more millionaires in this country than ever before, but meanwhile poverty is exploding in communities all over the country.
If you live in a prosperous area, things may be going great where you live for the moment. But as Gallup has discovered, an all-time record high percentage of Americans are worrying “a great deal” about hunger and homelessness these days…
Over the past two years, an average of 67% of lower-income U.S. adults, up from 51% from 2010-2011, have worried “a great deal” about the problem of hunger and homelessness in the country. Concern has also increased among middle- and upper-income Americans, but they still worry far less than do lower-income Americans.
You may have plenty of money in your bank account, and so for you hunger and homelessness are not very big issues. But for those that are just scraping by from month to month, having enough food and a place to sleep at night are top priorities. Here is more from Gallup…
Americans at all income levels are expressing greater concern about hunger and homelessness, and it is the top worry among lower-income Americans, who are most likely to struggle to pay for adequate food and housing.
In addition to the woes of the auto industry, the retail industry is going through the worst wave of store closings in modern American history, pension funds are melting down all over the nation, and stocks are primed for a crash of epic proportions. Things are lining up just right for the kind of scenario that I laid out in The Beginning Of The End, but unfortunately most people are not listening to the warnings.
The same thing happened just before the great financial crisis of 2008. All of the warning signs were there well in advance, and many of the experts were warning about what was coming as early as 2005. But because it did not happen immediately, a lot of people greatly mocked the warnings.
But then the fall of 2008 arrived and all of the mockers suddenly went silent.
As you can see from the numbers that I shared above, a new crisis has already arrived.
The only question now is how bad it will ultimately turn out to be.
As always, let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.
This Economy Is Ruined For Many Americans
ZeroHedge.com Apr 2, 2017 9:00 PM
Authored by Wolf Richter via WolfStreet.com,
Those who lost out on the Fed’s “wealth effect.”
Here’s a mystery: Has this “wealth-effect” economy that the Fed so beautifully engineered since the Financial Crisis gotten a lot riskier, scarier, and uglier in some profound ways for lower-income Americans, those making $30,000 or less a year?
One of the questions that Gallup posed was this:
Next, I’m going to read a list of problems facing the country. For each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all? First, how much do you personally worry about –
Then came 13 issues, including “hunger and homelessness.”
Turns out, among Americans making $30,000 or less a year, 67% worry “a great deal” about hunger and homelessness! Food and shelter, two of the most basic human needs. That’s the highest percentage ever in Gallup’s data series on this question going back to 2001.
It’s up from 52% in 2001/2004; up from 56% in 2007/2008; and up from 51% in 2010/2011.
Median annual household income in February was $58,714, according to Sentier Research. On an inflation-adjusted basis, this was about flat with February 2016 and below February 2000. Median income means 50% make more and 50% make less. Other studies have shown that incomes have risen sharply at the upper end of the spectrum, but have fallen at the lower end, with the gap widening. Thus the median might have stagnated, but for many of those below the median, things haven’t turned out so well. And there are a lot of them!
With the prices of stocks, homes, art, classic cars, commercial real estate, and the like inflated to dizzying heights after eight years of radical monetary policies, why would these folks, making $30,000 or less – worry more than ever about such basic and dreadful conditions?
More on that in a moment. There are other elements in this mystery: Even among people making $30,000 to $75,000, a record 47% worry “a great deal” about hunger and homelessness, up from 40% in 2010-2011. And even among high-income Americans, the percentage, though small, has risen.
Rising worries about hunger and homelessness can have a number of causes, including media coverage of those topics, or coverage of rising income and wealth inequality in America. In its survey report, Gallup points out that occasionally, when something terrible happens, such as 9/11, it might be “dominating the national consciousness,” and hunger and homelessness recede as primary concerns.
We get that. But Gallup goes on:
Since 2001, worry has been highest among those residing in lower-income households, likely because those with limited financial resources are more at risk of going hungry or becoming homeless. A consistent majority of lower-income adults worried about the problem before 2012, but that has only increased in the past five years.
Lower-income Americans worry about basic problems, in this order:
On average, across the 13 issues, the percentage of lower-income adults who worry a great deal is seven percentage points higher than among middle-income Americans, and 17 points higher than among upper-income Americans.
But differences in concern about hunger and homelessness far exceed those norms. In fact, the 20-point difference in worry about hunger and homelessness between lower-income and middle-income Americans is higher than for any of the other issues. Similarly, the 30-point difference in worry about hunger and homelessness between lower-income and upper-income Americans ties for the highest, along with concern about crime and violence.
In the dazzling glitter and excitement of soaring asset prices that central banks around the world, and particularly the Fed, have tried so hard to engineer, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has those assets, that a lot of people can’t get “rich” just sitting on inflated assets, that they have to work long hours in measly jobs just to stay one paycheck ahead of hunger and homelessness.
These Americans are paying the price for the Fed’s efforts to “heal” the housing market. The Fed has implemented elaborate strategies since 2008, among them: cutting its policy rate to near zero, embarking on QE, and bailing out banks and their richest investors, including Warren Buffett and his financial and insurance empire. In 2011, the Fed began encouraging and enabling Wall Street’s biggest private equity firms and other investors to buy up hundreds of thousands of homes out of foreclosure to push up home prices.
This has led to soaring housing costs that have by far outpaced wage growth, if any. And it made it that much harder for these Americans to stay that one paycheck ahead of hunger and homelessness. There are a lot of them. They’re consumers too. And this could be why the economy, which has been ruined for them, has since then not been able to grow at a reasonable pace.