Bank of Japan
Q: How do you make a small fortune on Wall Street?
A: Start with a large fortune.
~ old investing adage
Investors are clearly in a bit of a no-man’s land of market narrative, with the dollar weakening and U.S. corporate earnings slipping. Market participants, like all pack animals, appreciate clear direction and leadership – and we don’t have much of either right now. When considering how they will react, we can compare the two competing frameworks for understanding market behavior: the "Random Walk hypothesis" and the "House money effect." The first states that markets move in random patterns, with prior activity having no bearing on future price action. The latter shows that individuals do actually consider prior gains and losses when making economic decisions. Let’s just hope investors hold to their belief that it’s the house’s money at work here, and that they don’t walk randomly out of the market.
"The Q1 US GDP data was a major disappointment to the market as business investment declined due to the intensifying US profits recession. Only the biggest inventory build in history stopped the economy subsiding into a recessionary quagmire. The US economy is struggling and the Fed will ultimately re-engage the QE spigot. Talk is growing that China will soon be doing the same as local authorities struggle to issue debt. But this week we want to focus on Japan, having just made my fist visit to that fine nation for over a decade! Japan, the third largest economy in the world, is also in trouble (see chart below) and will soon be increasing its off-the-scale QE programme to an out-of-this-world QE programme." - Albert Edwards
The biggest overnight story was neither out of China, where despite the ridiculous surge in new account openings and margin debt the SHCOMP dipped 08%, or out of Japan, where the Nikkei dropped 2.7%, the biggest drop in months, after the BOJ disappointed some by not monetizing more than 100% of net issuance and keeping QE unchanged, but Europe where for the second day in a row there was a furious selloff of Bunds at the open of trading, which briefly sent the yield on the 10Y to 0.38% (it was 0.6% two weeks ago), in turn sending the EURUSD soaring by almost 200 pips to a two month high of 1.1250, and weighing on US equity futures, before retracing some of the losses.
Japanese stocks and USDJPY are back below the lows of the US day-session following The Bank of Japan's decision not to stimulate further (despite all the collapsing economic evidence one might need to do such a thing). Investors were clearly hoping for moar (even if economists weren't). With GDP expectations collapsing, BoJ still voted 8-1 not to increase QQE keeping monetary base growth expectations flat. The result is a 500 point drop in The Nikkei from this morning's highs and around 1 handle drop in USDJPY... for now.
Thus, the mistaken conceit of monetarism is on full display, especially in Japan, as they boil down their efforts to substitute financial wealth for true wealth as if they could simply conjure industrious creation from nothing. And Japan is proving useful as the full and complete refutation of every facet of such a notion, even if the mainstream resists so far confessing it.
The worldwide commodity glut is not a surprise to Austrian school economists - It is a wonderful example of the adverse consequences of monetary repression to drive the interest rate below the natural rate.
It has been a story of two markets so far, with China's Shanghai Composite up another 3% in today's continuation of the most ridiculous, banana-stand driven move of the New Normal (and there have been many ridiculous moves in the past 6 years) on the previously reported hints that the PBOC is gearing up to start its own QE, while Europe and the Eurostoxx are lagging, if only for the time being until Citadel and Virtu engage in today's preapproved risk-on momentum ignition, on Greek jitters, the same jitters that last week were "fixed"and sent Greek stocks and bonds soaring. Needless to say, neither Greek bonds nor stocks aren't soaring following what has been the worst week for Greece in months.
A look at the next week's events that could impact the global capital markets.
"The global economy is awash as never before in commodities like oil, cotton and iron ore, but also with capital and labor—a glut that presents several challenges as policy makers struggle to stoke demand," WSJ notes, suggesting yet again that QE can cause deflation when those who have access to easy money overproduce but do not witness a comparable increase in demand from those to whom the direct benefits of ultra accommodative policies do not immediately accrue.
In the simplest of terms, Abenomics was a form of economic warfare. It marked a transition in global Central Banking policy from an era of coordination to an era in which it is each country/ Central Bank for itself.
Wall Street turns junk-rated US corporate loans into highly rated yen-denominated bonds. Desperate Japanese pension funds gobble them up. Blame the Bank of Japan.
As we have noted previously, The Bank of Japan (BoJ) is one of a handful of central banks that trade on global stock markets. The finance ministry holds a 55% stake of the Jasdaq-traded security, which as one analyst noted "seems like an odd investment." However, it appears BoJ shares serve a different purpose - to signal an imminent easing to the market. As Bloomberg reports, BoJ stock has surged almost 30% in the last few days on very heavy volume... the previous 4 times we saw spikes in price and volume, Japanese authorities eased significantly in the following days.
True, the world faces issues today… so it’s not odd for bond yields to be lower… but are those issues on par with a disease that wiped out 25%+ of Europe’s population… or the single largest military conflict in history?
There are in fact problems that are too big for Central Banks to manage.