In this regular podcast series, MUFG subject matter experts within our business discuss the forces, indications, and policies that impact the U.S. economy and financial markets, and provide updates to their economic outlooks and forecasts for the weeks, months, and years ahead.
U.S. Markets, is risk-on whistling past the bond-yard?
This week George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, walks us through some of his latest special topics in the Macro2Markets Monthly Outlook report. As the title suggests, we first explore the risk-on mood on Wall Street and what is driving it. In George’s view, he believes it is a bit premature that some market participants are reading the weaker data and the market-based interest rate declines as a good thing. George wraps up by providing his views on the current developments in bank lending and general credit conditions overall. He also takes us through the big moves that are happening on the U.S. government deficit front and their implications.
2023's never ending conga line of black swan events
In today's episode, George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, and Glenn Schultz, MUFG Head of Prepayment Modeling and Strategy, discuss October's remittance data, relative value against the backdrop of slower seasonal prepayment, and the outlook for the current coupon basis against the headwinds of 2023's never ending conga line of black swan events.
Quick FOMC preview as the BoJ and Q.R.A. take the spotlight
This week George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, takes us around the world and back, discussing the latest changes from the Bank of Japan (BoJ), ahead of October month-end trading and the critical double-header events on November 1, when the Treasury releases its quarterly refunding announcement (Q.R.A.) for its Treasury supply needs. Then in the afternoon, the FOMC meets for its second to last meeting of calendar year 2023.
In George’s view, so long as term premia stays elevated and 10yr rates do not decline back towards the low 4s, these higher long-term rates are doing the tightening for the Fed, and thus the Fed hiking cycle is likely over (where the July hike may end up being the last hike of this cycle). In addition, what is frightening about October 31, other than the spooky Halloween scenes, is that this means there are only two months left in the year and liquidity probably gets worse for markets from here on out. Lastly, George wraps up by providing his views for Fed day, expecting another “hawkish skip”, the second in a row, and that chair Powell will refrain from saying they are done by keeping December in play.
State of Housing Edition
This week in a special edition podcast episode, George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, is joined by Glenn Schultz, MUFG Head of Prepayment Modeling and Strategy, to go over a recently published and comprehensive Desk Strategy Report called “The State of Housing” where they explore the impact of high mortgage rates and affordability issues that are impacting the U.S., as well as the potential lasting effect on housing and mortgage macro fundamentals ahead.
George walks through how these higher rates are unsustainable for a viable housing and mortgage financing market and unless incomes were to rise, and rise at a much faster rate, that something has to give (either house prices decline, and/or rates decline). Glenn threads in the implications to MBS issuance, CPRs, and how the market might be the most negative convexity it has been given the larger loan balances. George wraps things up by discussing how this might influence the Fed rate views and their MBS portfolio.
Rates up, risk down, macro influx (same as it ever was)…
George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, walks us through the latest price action where the normalization of rates out the curve has finally caught the attention of broader markets like stocks and credit. The so-called bear steepening of the curve (when long-term rates move higher in yields and in a quantum larger than short-term rate movements) is driving some serious financial conditions tightening. As George says, the bond market is tightening for the Fed. George still believes that the last Fed hike was in July and that all of these volatile market moves will result in them no longer hiking in 2023. That said, until long-term rates find stability (and better yet consolidate into a tradeable range) and until the U.S. dollar stops going up, these major swings may continue in his view. In the past, to see a quick reversal in U.S. Treasuries, there would need to be a much larger and deeper risk-off in stocks and credit. Overall George remains cautious and reminds us that it’s been “the same as it ever was”, higher rates do matter.
The role of AI in scaling ESG’s maturation
Today’s episode is an excerpt from a recent MUFG webinar hosted by Ehsan Khoman, Head of Research for Commodities, ESG and Emerging Markets (EMEA), and Dr. Tobi Petrocelli, MUFG Head of Sustainability & Transition Finance Strategy for the Americas. Tobi and Ehsan discuss the recent report about AI’s influence in scaling ESG’s maturation. Overall, MUFG holds conviction in the merits of the evolution of AI to solve an array of ESG trade-offs. On aggregate, this has the potential to transform the way we approach sustainability to foster a more equitable and just society.
September 2023 FOMC Preview and Market Implications
George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, returns to review the price action since the summer break and what to expect from the FOMC at the upcoming meeting. George views the current environment as the most challenging for bond bulls, as the longer the Fed stays on hold with all this additional Treasury supply hitting the market, the pull toward higher rates will remain a powerful force. Granted, George does not believe that the window that will be afforded to the Fed staying “higher for longer” will be one that is long enough to fully normalize the yield curve towards the current level of Fed funds (because we expect the policy lags to hit the economy hard in Q4 into 1Q24). That said, the Fed can still use forward guidance signals, such as keeping their rate forecast “dot-plot” higher as a counter-balance to a bond market that is always looking for the next reason to rally. In terms of the FOMC meeting, we expect a slightly hawkish outcome, where the dots will try to pave the way for the Fed to signal they want rates to stay higher. Lastly we expect no change in actual Fed rate policy, a hawkish skip (i.e. no hike at this meeting) is our base-case.
Response to the question "Who is Going to buy MBS?"
In this month’s episode, MUFG Head of Prepayment Modeling and Strategy, Glenn Schultz, discusses August's prepayment data and answers the question of whether the Spring/Summer selling season prepayment data indicate a structural shift in the agency MBS market back to the “old normal”. He also addresses the question “Who is going to buy Agency MBS?” and how issuance will influence the agency MBS basis going forward.
U.S. Fiscal Perspectives and Views thru Labor Day
George Goncalves, MUFG Head of U.S. Macro Strategy, reviews the recent Fitch downgrade of the U.S. credit to AA+ and compares it to the first downgrade by S&P roughly 12 years ago. He believes this time the backdrop is different given that the debt loads are even larger now and the Fed has rates much higher versus back then when rates were anchored by the near zero rate policy of that time period. Market reactions thus far are also different versus the first downgrade too. The other issue is that the Fitch downgrade occurred during a week when the Treasury was announcing the need to issue more debt and increase the auction sizes of Treasury securities. George has been highlighting that the sequence from the Fed to the BoJ tweaking YCC and then more UST debt, all of which have largely come to fruition as per George’s views, should result in rates in the middle of the yield curve (known as the belly and/or intermediate rates) would do most of the adjustment higher. So far that is what we have seen with 10s now well above the 4% level. Lastly, George looks forward and discusses why NFP, which is always important, but unless it breaks the string of weaker NFP reports of late, than the Fed is likely to skip in September.
The Lowdown on Turnover and Carry Conviction
In this month’s episode, MUFG Head of Prepayment Modeling and Strategy, Glenn Schultz, discusses July's prepayment data and gives the lowdown on the Spring/Summer selling season's turnover. He also reviews relative value across the specified pool stories highlighting those he believes offer MBS investors superior relative carry. Finally, Glenn reviews our basis forecast and makes the argument for our year-end target of 120 to 130 basis points for the 30-year agency current coupon.
For more information,
Head of Rates Sales, Americas
New York, NY
Head of U.S. Macro Strategy
New York, NY
Chief Japan Strategist
Head of Agency Mortgage Prepayment Modeling and Strategy
The podcast content above is being provided for educational and informational purposes only. The information and comments are not the views or opinions of MUFG Union Bank, its subsidiaries or affiliates. Please consult your attorney, accountant or tax or financial advisor with regard to your particular situation.