Bank of Japan
Dennis Gartman, author of the institutionally well followed ‘The Gartman Letter,’ has asked questions about gold’s peculiar price action last week and raised the question as to whether there was official central bank manipulation of gold prices.
China as the global Bubble’s focal point – the weak link yet, at the same time, the key marginal source of Bubble finance. China’s policy course appears to focus on two facets: to stabilize the yuan versus the dollar and to resuscitate Credit expansion. For better than two decades, similar policy courses were followed by myriad EM policymakers in hopes of sustaining financial and economic booms. Many cases ended in abject failure – often spectacularly. Why? Because when officials resort to such measures to sustain faltering Bubbles it generally works to only exacerbate systemic fragilities. For one, late-stage reflationary measures compound Credit system vulnerability while compounding structural impairment to the real economy. Secondly, central bank and banking system Credit-bolstering measures create liquidity that invariably feeds destabilizing “capital” and “hot money” outflows.
Americans are increasingly likely to respond positively to a placebo in a drug trial – more so than other nationalities. That’s the upshot of a recently published academic paper that looked at 84 clinical trials for pain medication done between 1990 and 2013. These findings, while bad for drug researchers, does shed some light on our favorite topic: behavioral finance. Trust and confidence makes placebos work, and those attributes also play a role in the societal effectiveness of central banks. That’s what makes the Fed’s eventual move to higher rates so difficult; even if zero interest rates are more placebo than actual medicine, markets believe they work to support asset prices.
Back in September we explained why, contrary to both conventional wisdom and the BOJ's endless protests to the contrary, neither the BOJ nor the ECB have any interest in boosting QE at this - or any other point - simply because with every incremental bond they buy, the time when the two central banks run out of monetizable debt comes closer. Since then the ECB has jawboned that it may boost QE (but it has not done so), and overnight as reported previously, the BOJ likewise did not expand QE despite many, including Goldman Sachs, expecting it would do just that.
'Mysterious' JPY-Selling, Stock-Buying Panic Ensues After Bank Of Japan Leaves Monetary Policy UnchangedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/29/2015 22:55 -0500
Having disappointed an expectant market by voting overwhelmingly (8-1) to leave monetary policy unchanged, the initial plunge in USDJPY and Japanese stocks has found a mysterious (and massive) JPY seller and Nikkei 225 buyer. USDJPY is now 100 pips and Nikkei 225 500 points above post-BOJ dip lows... because hawkish is the new bullish...
Haruhiko Kuroda owns 52% of all Japanese ETFs. And now he wants more. Facing a lack of willing JGB sellers, the BoJ now faces the possibility that ramping up its easing efforts will entail expanding the bank's already elephantine equity portfolio. "At a fundamental level, I don’t support the idea of central banks buying ETFs or equities. Unlike bonds, equities never redeem. That means they will have to be sold at some point, which creates market risk."
Two biggest move overnight came from everyone's favorite carry pair, the USDJPY, which may have finally read what we said yesterday, namely that with the Fed and ECB both doing its job, there is little need for the Bank of Japan to repeat its Halloween massacre for the second year in a row, and as a result will keep its QQE program unchanged. It promptly tumbled from its 121 tractor level, to just above 120.25, where BOJ bids were said to be found. With the FOMC October meeting starting today, the other overnight catalyst was not surprisingly the latest Hilsenrath scribe in which he removed any uncertainty about a Wednesday hike, "leaving mid-December as the central bank’s last chance to raise rates this year."
Having soared 175 pips in two days, on the back of ECB and PBOC actions, USDJPY is rolling over this morning as a senior adviser to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe tells Reuters that The Bank of Japan "can wait a while" before easing more. This follows another adviser's comments on Friday that "further easing wasn't necessary." With a trail of broken markets (bonds first and now stocks), and broken promises (only 25% of Japanese now believe Abenomics will boost the economy), Abe faces an uphill battle in winning the fight against the "deflationary mindset" that officials have been so adamant they have already won.
In our Chinese stock market wrap following Friday's unexpected rate cut, which saw the Shanghai Composite storm out of the gate, we said that "we would not be surprised to see China's stocks sliding back into the red very shortly as "sell the news" concerns return, and as the increasingly more addicted "markets" demand even more liquidity from central banks just to stay unchanged, let alone rise to new all time highs." Sure enough, with just minutes to go before the close, the SHCOMP wiped out all its daily gains and was set for a red close had it not been for the "national team" miraculous last minute intervention which was inevitable after Friday's PBOC rate cut, and which lifted the composite 0.5% into the green as the euphoria was rapidly evaporating.
Yesterday morning, when previewing the day's tumultuous events, we said that "Futures Are Firm On Hope Draghi Will Give Green Light To BTFD." And boy did Draghi give a green light, that and then some, when his press conference unleashed one of the biggest one-day US equity rallies in 2015. This morning it has been more of the same, with global market momentum on the heels of Draghi's confirmation that Europe's economy is again backsliding (it's a good thing, if only for stocks), leading to momentum for US equity futures, which together with soaring tech/cloud, earnings if no other, are on their way to take out recent all time highs.
Given what the Japanese have been subjected to in the past two and a half years of QQE, it is nearly criminal to suggest they need only more of it. None of it has worked as promised and stated, so what might have changed? Absolutely nothing except the arrangement of qualifiers and excuses that litter the same shared central bank speech delivered over and over of late. Kuroda says “robust”, Yellen proclaims “strong”, and both only confirm they live not of this world’s economy.
After yesterday's dramatic late day market rout catalyzed by the tumble in the biotech sector in general, and Valeant in particular, and foreseen in its entirety by Gartman who went bullish just hours before, this morning US equity futures and European stocks have recouped some losses on the recursive, and traditional, hope that Mario Draghi will say something to push risk higher when he speaks in 2 hours at the ECB's press conference in Malta. And yet, just like Yellen a month ago, Draghi faces the paradox of reflexivity that after years of being ignored, is the "new thing" in town: how does he intervene and demonstrate he is readier than ever to set up stimulus, without panicking investors over euro area’s health.
Global Capitalism is trapped in its own Prisoner’s Dilemma; fourty four years after the end of the Bretton Woods System global central banks have manipulated the cost of risk in a competition of devaluation leading to a dangerous build up in debt and leverage, lower risk premiums, income disparity, and greater probability of tail events on both sides of the return distribution. Truth is being suppressed by the tools of money. Market behavior has now fully adapted to the expectation of pre-emptive central bank action to crisis creating a dangerous self-reflexivity and moral hazard. Volatility markets are warped in this new reality routinely exhibiting schizophrenic behavior. The tremendous growth of the short volatility complex across all assets, combined with self-reflexive investment strategies, are creating a dangerous ‘shadow convexity’ that will fuel the next hyper-crash.
Moments ago IBM reported what can be defined simply as abysmal results.
China is just the latest Central Bank to lose control. Is the Fed next?