Bank of Japan
UPDATE: Nikkei 225 +1100 points, USDJPY +3 handles to 111.00 post-FOMC,
In a surprise move given all the recent congratulatory bullshit from Abe and Kuroda on breaking the back of Japan's deflation and bring about recovery (forgetting to mention record high misery index, surging bankruptcies and a crushed consumer), the Bank of Japan (by a 5-4 vote) raised its bond-buying program from JPY 70 trillion to 80 trillion... and triple its ETF buying to JPY 3 trillion. This move, on the heels of more confirmation of broader foreign asset purchases in Japan's GPIF sent USDJPY instantly gapping 1 big figure higher to 110.30 and Nikkei futures instantly rose 400 points. S&P futures are also surging. Gold and silver are tanking and TSY bonds are selling off.
As Deutsche Bank observes, the Fed has been wanting to hike rates on a rolling 6-12 month horizon from each recent meeting but never imminently which always makes the actual decision subject to events some time ahead. They have seen a shock in the last few weeks and a downgrade to global growth prospects so will for now likely err on the side of being more dovish than in the last couple of meetings. They probably won't want to notably reverse the recent market repricing of the Fed Funds contract for now even if they disagree with it. However any future improvements in the global picture will likely lead them to step-up the rate rising rhetoric again and for us this will again lead to issues for financial markets addicted to liquidity. And so the loop will go on for some time yet and will likely trap the Fed into being more dovish than they would ideally want to be in 2015.
If yesterday's markets closed broadly unchanged following all the excitement from the latest "buy the rumor, sell the news" European stress test coupled with a quadruple whammy of macroeconomic misses across the globe, then today's overnight trading session has been far more muted with no major reports, and if the highlight was Kuroda's broken, and erroneous, record then the catalyst that pushed the Nikkei lower by 0.4% was a Bloomberg article this morning mentioning that lower oil prices could mean the BoJ is forced to "tone down or abandon its outlook for inflation." This comes before the Bank of Japan meeting on Friday where the focus will likely be on whether Kuroda says he is fully committed to keeping current monetary policy open ended and whether or not he outlines a target for the BoJ’s asset balance by the end of 2015; some such as Morgan Stanely even believe the BOJ may announce an expansion of its QE program even if most don't, considering the soaring import cost inflation that is ravaging the nation and is pushing Abe's rating dangerously low. Ironically it was the USDJPY levitation after the Japanese session, which launched just as Europe opened, moving the USDJPY from 107.80 to 108.10, that has managed to push equity futures up 0.5% on the usual: nothing.
The week ahead, as if it mattered.
Overview of the capital markets as if they were not managed by an evil cabal.
"I believe that the Last Great Bubble is bursting — faith in central banks to solve all problems."
Six years after QE started, and just about the time when we for the first time said that the primary consequence of QE would be unprecedented wealth and class inequality (in addition to fiat collapse, even if that particular bridge has not yet been crossed), even the central banks themselves - the very institutions that unleashed QE - are now admitting that the record wealth disparity in the world - surpassing that of the Great Depression and even pre-French revolution France - is caused by "monetary policy", i.e., QE.
Ever since Abenomics was announced in late 2012, we have explained very clearly that the whole "shock and awe" approach to stimulating the economy by sending inflation into borderline "hyper" mode was doomed to failure. Very serious sellsiders, economists and pundits disagreed and commended Abe on his second attempt at fixing the country by doing more of what has not only failed to work for 30 years, but made the problem worse and worse. Well, nearly two years later, or roughly the usual delay before the rest of the world catches up to this website's "conspiratorial" ramblings, the leader of the very serious economist crew, none other than Goldman Sachs, formally admits that Abenomics was a failure. So what happened with Abenomics, and why did Goldman, initially a fervent supporter and huge fan - and beneficiary because those trillions in fungible BOJ liquidity injections made their way first and foremost into Goldman year end bonuses - change its tune so dramatically? Here is the answer from Goldman Sachs.
Having rotated their attention to the T-bill market in Japan (after demand for the Bank of Japan's cheap loans disappointed policymakers) in an effort to ensure enough freshly printed money was flushed into Japanese markets, the BoJ now has a major problem. For the first time since QQE began, Bloomberg reports the BoJ failed to buy all the bonds they desired. Whether this is investors unwilling to sell (preferring the safe haven than stocks or eu bonds) or that BoJ has soaked up too much of the market (that dealers now call "dead") is unclear. Japanese stocks - led by banks - are sliding as bond-demand sends 5Y yields (13bps) to 18-month lows.
Apparently under pressure from some members of Japan's parliament (who are likely being screamed at by the firms and people that bought and voted for them) as they question the possibility of JPY dropping to 170 per USD, BoJ Chief Haruhiko Kuroda proclaimed yesterday that "monetary policy can prevent hyperinflation," but don't worry because he "doesn't think Japan will experience hyperinflation." Well that's a relief because all his other predictions about how well Abenomics would work have been utter failures. Perhaps Kuroda should listen to ex-BoJ chief economist Hideo Hakayawa who stunningly suggested, The BOJ should start paring its unprecedented easing soon or risk hurting people, "it’s important to quit while you’re ahead."
Yesterday afternoon's "recovery" has come and gone, because just like that, in a matter of minutes, stuff just broke once again courtsy of a USDJPY which has been a one way liquidation street since hitting 106.30 just before Europe open to 105.6 as of this writing: U.S. 10-YEAR TREASURY YIELD DROPS 15 BASIS POINTS TO 1.99%; S&P FUTURES PLUNGE 23PTS, OR 1.2%, AS EU STOCKS DROP 2.54%.
Only this time Europe is once again broken with periphery yields exploding, after Spain earlier failed to sell the maximum target of €3.5 billion in bonds, instead unloading only €3.2 billion, and leading to this: PORTUGAL 10-YR BONDS EXTEND DROP; YIELD CLIMBS 30 BPS TO 3.58%; IRISH 10-YEAR BONDS EXTEND DECLINE; YIELD RISES 20 BPS TO 1.90%; SPANISH 10-YEAR BONDS EXTEND DROP; YIELD JUMPS 29 BPS TO 2.40%.
And the punchline, as usual, is Greece, whose 10 Year is now wider by over 1% on the session(!), to just about 9%.
For the fourth consecutive night, futures attempted to storm higher, and were halted in their tracks when the USDJPY failed to rebound from the recalibrated 107 tractor beam, following a statement by the BOJ's former chief economist and executive director (until March 2013) who said that now is the time for the Bank of Japan to begin tapering. Needless to say, there could be no worse news to bailout and liquidity-addicted equities as the last thing a global rigged market can sustain now that QE is about to end in two weeks, is the BOJ also reducing its liquidity injections in the fungible world. This promptly took away spring in the ES' overnight bounce. Not helping matters is the continuing selloff in oil, which as we reported first yesterday, has hit the most oversold levels ever, is not helping and we can only imagine the margin calls the likes of Andy Hall and other commodity funds (ahem Bridgewater -3% in September due to "commodities") are suffering. But the nail in the coffin of the latest attempt by algos to bounce back was the news which hit two hours ago that a second Ebola case has been confirmed in Texas, and just as fears that the worst is over, had started to dissipate.
During every major breakdown in the last five years, the Fed announced a new monetary program. This time around, the Fed is committed to ending QE... So who will save stocks now?
If central banks have learned anything since 2008, it's that waiting around for the panic to deepen is not a winning strategy. Put yourself in their shoes. Isn't this what you would do, given the dearth of alternatives and the very real risks of implosion? Anyone in their position with the tools at hand would not have any other real option other than to buy stocks in whatever quantity is needed to reverse the selling and blow the shorts out of the water. If $1 trillion doesn't do the job, make it $3 trillion, or $5 trillion. At this point, it doesn't really matter, does it?
We have been discussing the widespread belief in "the narrative of central bank omnipotence" for a number of months (here and here most recently) as we noted "there are no more skeptics. To update Milton Friedman’s famous quote, we are all Bernankians now." So when Saxobank's CIO and Chief Economist Steen Jakobsen warns that "the mood has changed," and feedback from conference calls and speaking engagements tells him, there is a growing belief that the 'narrative of the central banks' is failing, we sit up and listen.