Bank of Japan
Recent activity in asset markets suggests dangerous bubbles are building everywhere. It's time to bunker down and we look at ways to best protect your capital.
Once upon a time, a few deluded individuals held hope that quantiative easing may actually do something to improve the plight of the common person instead of simply transferring wealth from the poor to the rich at an ever faster pace. Five years of failed monetary policy later, which has done nothing to stimulate the economy and everything to stimulate unprecedented non-risk taking that makes even the epic asset bubble of 2007 pale by comparison, this naive assumption has been thoroughly destroyed. However, for all those who don't splurge on yachts, mega mansions, and private jets, the pain is just starting. The latest evidence of this comes from Japan where according to a survey by the Bank of Japan released today, the share of Japanese households with no financial assets rose to a record as falling incomes forced people to dig into their savings. According to Bloomberg, as a result of Abe's disastrous "reflation at all costs" policies, the proportion of Japanese households without financial assets reached 31 percent up from 26 percent a year earlier and the highest since the poll began in 1963.
When the U.S. economy dipped into an inflationary recession in 1969, the Keynesian paradigm could not explain that phenomenon. Given the fact that both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations (not to mention Congress) have followed the Keynesian playbook, the sorry results should be enough to discredit Keynesianism, this time for good. Either a theory explains and predicts phenomena or it does not, and it should be clear that Keynesian theory has failed, but, alas, it seems that the Keynesian paradigm is more influential than ever. Here is a paradigm that claims there cannot be an inflationary recession, yet all of the recessions that have wracked the U.S. economy in recent decades have been inflationary. Alas, the academic “market test” really does not embrace the actual success or failure of a theory.
This morning US futures are an unfamiliar shade of green, as the market is poised for its first red open in recent memory (then again the traditional EURJPY pre-open ramp is still to come). One of the reasons blamed for the lack of generic monetary euphoria is that China looked likely to buck the trend for more monetary policy support. New Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech published in full late on Monday that adding extra stimulus would be more difficult since printing new money would cause inflation. "His comments are different from what people were expecting. This is a shift from what he said earlier this year about bottom-line growth," said Hong Hao, chief strategist at Bank of Communications International. Asian shares struggled as a result slipping about 0.2 percent, though Japan's Nikkei stock average bounced off its lows and managed a 0.2 percent gain. However, in a world in which the monetary tsunami torch has to be passed every few months, this will hardly be seen as supportive of the "bad news is good news" paradigm we have seen for the past 5 years.
"Just When Consensus Thinks Europe Is Exiting The Crisis" Or Why You Can't Handle The Truth About EuropeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/04/2013 18:55 -0400
... but for those who can, and wish to see beyond the propaganda of the Eurozone's unelected leaders, here is Natixis with a candid, honest summary of Europe's sad, "unsustainable" predicament.
The German election is over and the confrontation over the US debt ceiling has ended, so event risk should be minimal, right? Not so fast, UBS' Mike Schumacher warns - plenty of pitfalls could trip markets. Forward-looking measures of 'risk' are beginning to show some signs of less-than-exuberance reflected in all-time-highs across all US equity indices and if previous episodes of 'low-vol' are any guide, the current complacency is long in the tooth... no matter how 'top-heavy' stocks become; bloated by the flow of heads-bulls-win-tails-bears-lose ambivalence...
The philosophical roots of Janet Yellen's economics voodoo, it seems, are in many ways even more appalling than the Bernanke paradigm (which in turn is based on Bernanke's erroneous interpretation of what caused the Great Depression, which he obtained in essence from Milton Friedman). The following excerpt perfectly encapsulates her philosophy (which is thoroughly Keynesian and downright scary): Fed Vice Chairman Yellen laid out what she called the 'Yale macroeconomics paradigm' in a speech to a reunion of the economics department in April 1999. "Will capitalist economies operate at full employment in the absence of routine intervention? Certainly not," said Yellen, then chairman of President Bill Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. "Do policy makers have the knowledge and ability to improve macroeconomic outcomes rather than make matters worse? Yes," although there is "uncertainty with which to contend." She couldn't be more wrong if she tried. We cannot even call someone like that an 'economist', because the above is in our opinion an example of utter economic illiteracy.
The bailed-out owner of the Fukushima nuke, famous for its lackadaisical handling of the fiasco and its stinginess with the truth, reported earnings. It was a doozie.
This morning, as part of the US Treasury's report on global currencies, Secretary Lew made the following remark:
- *LEW SAYS JAPAN 'APPEARS TO BE TURNING AN ECONOMIC CORNER'
Which got us thinking... when have we heard the US Treasury say exactly the same thing... (for exactly the same "policy-based" reason)... The answer is 10 years ago!
In addition to the bevy of ugly European unemployment and inflation news just reported, the overnight session had a dollop of more ugly macro data for the algos to kneejerkingly react to and ramp stocks to fresh time highs on. First it was China, where the PBOC did another reverse repo, however this time at a fixed 4.3% rate, 0.2% higher than the Monday iteration and well above the 3%-handle from early October, indicating that China is truly intent on tightening its monetary conditions. Then Japan confirmed that despite the soaring imported food and energy inflation, wages just refuse to rise, and have declined now for nearly 1.5 years. Then, adding core insult to peripheral injury, Germany reported retail sales that missed expectations of a +0.4% print wildly, declining -0.4% from a prior downward revised 0.5% to -0.2%. And so on: more below. However, as usual what does matter is how the market digests the FOMC news, and for now the sense is that the risk of a December taper has risen based on the FOMC statement language, whether warranted or not, which as a result is pushing futures modestly lower following an epic move higher in the month of October on nothing but pure balance sheet and multiple expansion. The big data week in the US rolls on with the highlights being the Chicago PMI and initial jobless claims, which are expected to print their first accurate, non-impaired reading since August.
The Bank of Japan's governor Kuroda proudly told the world "long-term yields are bound to rise at some point, but we can curb it when it happens," and on a grand scale - that is what they have done (for now). But market participants are growing increasingly concerned. As we have warned numerous times, the suppression of 'normal' volatility in teh short-term can only lead to larger uncontrollable moves in the future. As The FT reports, some worry, too, that the BoJ has pushed up JGB prices to the point where interest rates no longer bear any relation to the government’s creditworthiness - "effectively we have removed the light from the lighthouse." Some say the transition has been unsettling as many analysts talk more openly of the risks inherent in what the BoJ is trying to pull off. For one thing, liquidity has evaporated... "volatility looks low now, but if some investors start selling, the impact on the market could be much bigger than expected. That is a big risk."
Just as it is easy being a weatherman in San Diego ("the weather will be... nice. Back to you"), so the same inductive analysis can be applied to another week of stocks in Bernanke's centrally planned market: "stocks will be... up." Sure enough, as we enter October's last week where the key events will be the conclusion of the S&P earnings season and the October FOMC announcement (not much prop bets on a surprise tapering announcement this time), overnight futures have experienced the latest off the gates, JPY momentum ignition driven melt up.
The Bank of Japan will, for the first time in history, "own" all of Japan's GDP on its balance sheet some time in 2018 when its "assets" as a percentage of GDP surpass 100%, and then proceed in linear fashion to add about 10% of GDP to its balance sheet with every passing year until everything inevitably comes crashing down.
The euro system has many peculiarities as we have shown extensively on our blog. To a large extent the system can be analyzed as a “tragedy of the commons” problem. As is well known in economics, when a shared resource can be exploited in full by individuals with no exclusive property right, the resource will be overexploited.
The euro is a shared resource. Every national central bank can exploit it to the fullest while the cost will be shared by every member state.
The incentive in such a system is obviously rigged to its disfavor and it will eventually break down.
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- Bank of Japan warns of severe global impact from U.S. fiscal standoff (Reuters)