Bank of Japan
Ahead of the most important macro economic event of the week, US nonfarm payrolls (Exp. +200,000, down from 215,000 despite a very poor ADP report two days ago), the markets have that sinking feeling as futures seem unable to shake off what has been a steady grind lower in the past week, while the Nasdaq has been down for nine of the past ten sessions, after yet another session of jawboning by central bankers who this time flipped to the hawkish side, hinting that the market is not prepared for a June rate hike. Additionally, sentiment is showing little sign of improvement due to concerns over global-growth prospects as markets seek to close the worst week since the turmoil at the start of the year.
Despite an unprecedented amount of monetary easing taking place at the Bank of Japan, the yen has - since the middle of 2015 - been on a consistently strengthening trend versus the USD. As paradoxical as it may seem in a period when the Fed talked about, and then did raise interest rates coincident to the BOJ firing off ever more arrows, the strengthening yen has been the reality. That reality may be about to take a breather, though, as too many investors have moved to the same side of the boat in betting on yen appreciation while the “smart money” is net short the yen.
Is there anyone on the planet who's actually stupid enough to believe these New Normal charts are healthy and sustainable? We doubt it. Rather, the apologists, toadies, apparatchiks and flacks are being well-paid to cheerlead, and the "leadership" (using the term lightly) of the discredited institutions are terrified of what will happen when people finally catch on. The New Normal is not sustainable.
While there was no unexpected overnight central bank announcement unlike yesterday's surprise by the RBA which unleashed volatility havoc in the FX market, which promptly spilled over into all asset classes, overnight stocks around the world saw another leg lower without a tangible catalyst, while EM currencies fell to a one-month low after two Fed presidents raised concern investors had become too complacent in their belief that U.S. interest rate raises will stay on hold. Or perhaps all that is happening is that after ignoring Trump, the market is starting to finally price in the possible reality of the Donald in the White House (although as Jeff Gundlach pointed out, Trump would be a far better president for the economy and the market than Hillary or Bernie).
Just another central bank intervention in what is now a daily occurrence?
“The zero interest [rate] policy is an attack on the assets of millions of Germans..."
Overnight Australia finally admitted it has succumbed to the global economic weakness plaguing the rest of the world when in a "surprise" move, Australia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a year to a record low and left the door open for further easing to counter a wave of disinflation that’s swept over the developed world. The move sent the local currency tumbling and local stocks climbing. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens and his board lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent Tuesday, a move predicted by just 12 of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The announcement has, not surprisingly unleashed havoc across FX markets and broadly pushed global mood into its latest "risk off" phase.
There are many who believe that the use of energy is critical to the growth of the economy. However, the thing that is not as apparent is that growth in energy consumption is dependent on the growth of debt. Both energy and debt have characteristics that are close to “magic,” with respect to the growth of the economy. Economic growth can only take place when growing debt (or a very close substitute, such as company stock) is available to enable the use of energy products. The situation we are facing today is one in which growing debt has been holding up oil prices and other commodity prices for a long time. We are now reaching limits on this process, as evidenced by growing wealth disparity, low commodity prices, and the frantic actions of governments leaders around the world regarding slow economic growth and the need for more stimulus.
Interestingly, the BoJ’s attempts to achieve its price inflation target continue to end in failure with unwavering regularity. While the central bank’s astonishing ineptness in this respect is a blessing for Japan’s citizens (at least for the moment, their cost of living doesn’t increase further), it harbors the danger that even crazier monetary experiments will eventually be tried.
If the world’s economies were really out of intensive care, why would ultra-radical monetary policies like helicopter money be increasingly debated at the highest level of governments? Also, how come 70% of Americans believe the US economy is on the wrong course? And why do almost half of US citizens admit they couldn’t come up with $400 to meet an unexpected need? Yes, I know why ask why? And it is what is, and a bunch of other clichés. But this isn’t normal, it isn’t healthy, and - at least in the opinion of this author—it isn’t going to end well.
"There is little doubt in our minds that $/JPY will keep falling in the near term, until Governor Kuroda is forced to respond with overwhelming force. We therefore hold to our structural view that $/JPY ultimately will go a lot higher. But in the short term, it will fall.... Until Governor Kuroda is willing to grab the bulls by the horns and confront market fears over the BoJ’s balance sheet, the path of least resistance for $/JPY is down"
There has been a bevy of negative news in the past 48 hours which perhaps explains why futures are fractionally in the green as of this moment.
"Not only do the five largest financial institutions in the US have a higher concentration of assets than they did before the financial crisis but it’s the largest concentration ever. So we’ve made the too-big-to-fail-problem worse because we have bigger, more systemically important financial institutions now than we did in 2007 – and nobody seems to know what to do about it... [EU banks] are acting irrationally. They’re not acting that way because they don’t believe it or they don’t understand it. So we’re still all trying to feel around in the dark as to what this means. And that means that the chance of an accident is very high."
James Rickards, economic and monetary expert, joined Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua on Tuesday to discuss the gold “chart of the decade”, his new book “The New Case for Gold,” why gold is money and why gold is going to $10,000/oz in the coming years.
Following yesterday's Yen surge in the aftermath of the disappointing BOJ announcement, the pain for USDJPY long continued, with the key carry pair tumbling as low as 106, the lowest level since October 2014 before stabilizing around 107, and is now headed for its biggest weekly gain since 2008, which in turn has pushed the US dollar to to its lowest close in almost a year as signs of slowing growth in the U.S. dimmed prospects for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase. As a result, global stocks fell and commodities extended gains in their best month since 2010.