"Japan Is Not The End Game" (?) - The Definitive Japan Case Study
As we have been expecting, the literature coming out of the investment banks analyzing the "Japan case", and specifically how it pertains to the US and the rest of the world, is coming hot and heavy. Yet the attached report by Soc Gen Klaus Baader and team could well be the definitive analysis on the topic. While we do not necessarily agree with the paper's finding, which is simply that "Japan is not the endgame", the multivariate analysis conducted is second to none. And another key topic analyzed by the Soc Gen economists is whether EM growth can offset the deleveraging in the mature economies: a topic near and dear to Jim "BRIC|N-11 Decoupling" O'Neill. Here the conclusion is more palatable: "We see the Chinese economy following Japan, but more of Japan in the 1950s and 1960s. Chinese policy makers also see this repeat pattern, but are taking steps to avoid the preconditions of a bubble economy that afflicted Japan in the 1980s." The paper's conclusion is presented with just the right dose of optimism and pragmatism (it does after all come from a sell side team): "Managing capital inflows is the next challenge. FX adjustments, fiscal and monetary tightening, domestic prudential regulation, and capital controls are the tools available to manage these inflows. These have significant investment implications. Further, slippages could exacerbate global imbalances and slow growth and other needed reforms."
Yet the punchline and the take home is the following multi-vertical comparison between Japan, and the US, Euro area and the UK. Easily the best matrix of this nature we have seen (with the blatant exception of the demographics in the US being better than those in Japan... those could well be the cause of armed conflict as Albert Edwards pointed out previously).