After Japan's Tankan disappointed greatly and various talking heads from Japan came out to deliver the credibility-destroying-phrase of the day: that "the economic recovery is progressing smoothly" despite all evidence to the contrary... USDJPY took a dive. And when USDJPY takes a dive, all its risk-on, carry-trade-imbibed friends take a dive. Dow futures cratered 230 points in minutes only to bounce back modestly when some enterprising sell-side analyst reminded the machines that "bad news is good news." But that didn't last and US equity futures are sliding rapidly in the overnight session...
We live in an era in which few can even conceive of a world without the welfare state. Who would care for the old? How would people provide for their medical needs? What would happen to the disadvantaged and needy that fell upon hard times? In fact, there were free market solutions and non-government answers to these questions long before the modern Big Government Welfare State. Unfortunately, after nearly a century of increasing political and cultural collectivism, the historical memory of the pre-welfare state era has all but been lost. The Welfare State makes us all poorer in character and independence. Confiscation of freedom through abridgements of individuals’ rights to their life, liberty and honestly acquired property, also brings with it a less humane and civil society.
OECD Economic Review Chair Warns, Central Bankers "Are Doing More Harm Than Good, Policy Must Be Reversed"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2015 - 21:30
"I fear that central bankers may have been inadvertently drawn into what they are currently doing... [QE] won't work and may have many undesired side effects that will build up over time. Many of the central bankers at Davos this year said explicitly that they were only buying time for governments to act but, seven years into the crisis, it already seems we have been waiting forever... the effectiveness of monetary policy in terms of stimulating aggregate demand goes down with time, because you're constantly bringing spending forward from the future... Logically, at this point, central bankers should say, "We are doing more harm than good. This policy must be reversed." But I don't see anybody actually doing it."
It's become a running theme, at least since last September, but the latest release of CPI numbers from around the world has brought our simple average World CPI proxy to its lowest level since the financial crisis. For the period ending in February, our World CPI proxy hit just 1.01% year-over-year. This is the lowest rate of change since November 2009. The year-over-year rate in our World CPI proxy has been falling for six months straight.
The story is the same every time: some nation, due to a confluence of lucky circumstances, becomes powerful—much more powerful than the rest—and, for a time, is dominant. But the lucky circumstances, which often amount to no more than a few advantageous quirks of geology, be it Welsh coal or West Texas oil, in due course come to an end. In the meantime, the erstwhile superpower becomes corrupted by its own power. As the endgame approaches, those still nominally in charge of the collapsing empire resort to all sorts of desperate measures—all except one: they will refuse to ever consider the fact that their imperial superpower is at an end, and that they should change their ways accordingly.
Bad news isn't even good news anymore in Japan. A sushi-boat-load of data this evening show once again that Abenomics is failing dismally. In no particular order... Large Manufacturing Index MISS (lowest in 9 months), Large Manufacturing Outlook BIG MISS, Large Services Outlook MISS, Small Manufacturing Index MISS, Small Manufacturing Outlook BIG MISS, and drum roll please... Tankan Large Industry Capex Outlook crashes to -1.2% (from +8.7%) - the lowest in 2 years (since Abewrongics was unleashed). The response... USDJPY and Nikkei are dumping...
And the answer is...
I’m sure when Talking Heads wrote "Burning Down The House" that they didn’t exactly have financial collapse and environmental degradation in mind. Although with a verse like “Hold tight wait till the party's over. Hold tight we're in for nasty weather. There has got to be a way. Burning down the house” it’s hard not to see that song as strangely prophetic.
As the death toll mounts from the various regional conflicts in the Middle East, one wonders if trading autocratic rule for some semblance of stability isn’t all that bad of a compromise. That said, US foreign policy seems to be everywhere and always inept especially as it relates to the Arab world and as CNN notes, propping up dictatorships at the expense of basic rights and freedoms sows the seeds for violent revolution.
The key feature of age is that it happens no matter what you think. What does this mean? It means the “old countries” – their assets and their institutions, at least the ones that depend on population, income and credit growth – are “fastened to a dying animal” and are not likely to survive in their present form. Today, these countries, including the US, are victims of demography. Older people get more money from the government. And they pay less in taxes. Old people also slow the rate of GDP, for obvious reasons: They are not adding to output; they are living on it.
Weidmann had warned us about this...a new index, created by Handelsblatt, measuring the inflation of asset prices in Germany confirms the suspicion many have held - while German CPI stagnates (printing modestly hotter than expected today, driven by continued rises in higher gasoline prices and food prices), asset prices are rising sharply amid an over-relaxed monetary policy.
As the following update of CNBC's perhaps most popular (if least watched, lagging even Mad Money) day breaking segment, SquawkBox, the show that features Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin just suffered its worst quarterly Nielsen rating in the show's history.