Bank of Japan

Steve H. Hanke's picture

Authored by Steve H. Hanke of the Johns Hopkins University. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Hanke.

Reportage in The Wall Street Journal on April 4th states that “A fund owned by China’s foreign-exchange regulator has been taking stakes in some of the country’s biggest banks, raising speculation that it may be a new member of the so-called ‘national team’ of investors the Chinese government unleashes to support its stock market.”

"There Is A Lot Of Fear In The Market" - Stocks, Futures Slide After Yen Soars

Two days after stocks slid in a coordinated risk-off session, and one day after a DOE estimate of US oil inventories sent US stocks surging while the failed Allergan-Pfizer deal unleashed torrential hopes of a biotech M&A spree leading to the single best day for the sector in 5 years, sentiment has again shifted, this time due to a violent surge in the Yen as the market keeps testing the resolve of the Japanese central bank to keep its currency weak, and so far finding it to be nonexistent.

USDJPY Crashes, Drags Equities With It As Gold Soars

Ever since the USDJPY breached the 110 support level three days ago for the first time in 17 months, the pressure on this all important FX carry cross has been rising, and then overnight, following the latest bout of recurring and increasingly ignored jawboning by various Japanese officials, the Yen soared, with the USDJPY plunging first below 109 and then moments ago dropping as low as 108.02 before rebounding modestly, dragging US equity futures lower with it.

The ECB’s Monetary Policy Is Now Creating a Rush Into Derivatives

Investors now acknowledge that fundamental analysis is merely an afterthought when compared to the far bigger influence of central bank buying. While this destroys free markets, fuels malinvestment bubbles and rewards cronyism, it doesn’t stop central planners — it merely emboldens them. The latest example of such hubris was on full display last month when the ECB’s Mario Draghi increased QE by a third. Here’s some of what’s happened since. So “investing” has morphed into simply front-running the decisions of unelected central planners. That’s all there is to it.

"Risk Off" - Global Stocks Slide As Yen Surges To 17 Month High; Bund Yields Plunge

The market's slumberous levitation of the past month, in which yesterday's -0.3% drop was the second largest in 4 weeks and in which the market had gone for 15 consecutive days without a 1% S&P 500 move (in March 2015 the sasme streak ended at day 16) may be about to end, after an overnight session, the polar opposite of yesterday's smooth sailing, which has seen a sudden return of global risk off mood.

One Trader's Important Lesson From The Japanese Bond Market

The lessons I learned in Japan leave me comfortable with this outlook. Years of staring at low JGB yields certainly immunized me from the sticker shock associated with low Treasury yields... In Japan, with a negative yield on 10-year JGBs, investors are paying the government to borrow out to a 10-year term and spend. If the public sector ignores these types of messages on a global scale and private demand globally remains deficient, those same investors will accept still lower yields on government bonds outside of Japan – our base case for the rest of 2016.

Frontrunning: March 31

  • Roller-coaster first quarter ends with shares, dollar under pressure (Reuters)
  • Oil prices slide as U.S. crude stocks hit record (Reuters)
  • GE Files to End Fed Oversight After Shrinking GE Capital (WSJ)
  • FDA Eases Rules for Abortion Pill, Making Access Simpler (BBG)
  • Kremlin denies report of Russia-U.S. deal on Assad's future (Reuters)
  • Thirst for Gasoline Fuels Oil Rally (WSJ)
  • Landlords in last-minute rush to beat stamp duty rises (BBG)

All Is Not Well In Leveraged Speculation-Land

Not many months ago bullish Wall Street strategists and pundits were celebrating the backdrop. It appeared to many that global central bankers had mastered the perpetual “money” machine. Markets could only go higher. Yet one would have to be delusional not to recognize the darkening clouds overtaking the world and U.S. Look no further than global terrorist attacks, geopolitical tension and the sour U.S. political discourse as confirmation that All is Not Well.

The World Has 6 Options To Avoid Japan's Fate, And According To HSBC, They Are All Very Depressing

"The escape options are a mixture of the ineffectual, the limited, the risky, the foolhardy or the excessively slow. As Japan’s recent experiments have demonstrated, upping the monetary dosage alone is not enough to cure the affliction. Indeed, to the extent that monetary stimulus only encourages a further wave of risk-taking within financial markets – often outside of the mainstream banking system - it may only perpetuate unstable deflationary stagnation."

Has The Biggest Of All Bubbles Popped: Central Bank Omnipotence?

Since the beginning of what is now considered “the zenith of unabashed central bank interventionism” few were willing to speculate, let alone admit, that without the Federal Reserve continuously pumping money in one form or another, while simultaneously keeping interest rates at the zero bound – the markets had no fundamental reason whatsoever to be at these current levels. Currently up seems to only happen in response after some jawboning or implied immediate implementation, where the theme is more mea culpa in nature. Rather, than fortitude or conviction of policy.

Another Volcker Moment? Guessing The Future Without Say's Law

If the dollar’s purchasing power falls much further, the market will expect higher interest rates, so this then becomes the likely outcome. The question will then arise as to whether or not the Fed will dare to raise interest rates sufficiently to stabilise the dollar's purchasing power. If the Fed delays, it could find itself facing a difficult choice. The level of interest rates required to stabilise the dollar’s purchasing power would not be consistent with maintaining the record levels of debt in both government and private sectors. Thirty-six years on it could be another Volcker moment.

The Biggest Short

Some reversals of financial trends prove so momentous they define the generation in which they occur. The stock market crash in 1929 kicked off the Great Depression, which ushered in the welfare and then the warfare state and redefined the relationship between government and citizens. Bonds and stocks began their bull market runs in the early 1980s. Now, those markets are fonts of optimism increasingly unhinged from reality. The US has come full circle. The New Deal and World War II marked a massive shift of resources and power to the federal government. Conversely, financial reversal will fuel a virulent backlash against the government and its central bank.