Inflation targeting has been a giant cover story for a monumental power grab. The academics who grabbed the power had no idea what they were doing in the financial markets that they have now saturated with financial time bombs. When these FEDs (financial explosive devices) erupt in the months and years ahead, the central bankers will face a day of reckoning. And they will surely be found wanting. The immense social damage from the imploding bubbles dead ahead will be squarely on them.
Larry Summers is a pretentious Keynesian fool, but we refer to him as the Great Thinker’s Vicar on Earth for a reason. To wit, every time the latest experiment in Keynesian intervention fails - as 84 months of ZIRP and massive QE clearly have - he can be counted on to trot out a new angle on why still another interventionist experiment or state sponsored financial fraud is just the ticket. Right now he is leading the charge for the greatest stroke of foolishness yet conceived.
Fundamentally, Credit is unstable. It is self-reinforcing and prone to excess. Credit Bubbles foment destabilizing price distortions, economic maladjustment, wealth redistribution and financial and economic vulnerability. 'Activist' government intervention and manipulation have pushed protracted Bubbles to the point of precarious systemic fragility.
"Truth is like poetry. And most people f**king hate poetry." - From the Big Short movie (overheard at a Washington D.C. bar)
In response to questions that took issue with the Fed paying banks on excess reserves The Chair seemed not only defensive, but rather perplexed, as to why they were even questioning it to begin with. This line of questioning in my view opened up, and brought to light, the Pandora’s box of Keynesian insight and thought processes now emanating from the Fed. In fact, we're quite sure Ms. Yellen herself didn’t realize just how far she threw the lid open.
The USD/JPY carry trade has reversed considerably in 2016....
USDJPY has tested down to 115.00 this morning as the blowback from Kuroda's "Peter Pan" policy move into NIRP continues to ripple through the world's largest carry trade. Most troubling is last week's jawboning of "no limits" made the situation worse as desperation was clear, erasing all of USDJPY's gains since it unleashed QQE2 after The Fed ended QE3.
An enduring curse of this financial crisis is the inability of markets to disengage from the clutches of the correlation of one. We see it ad seriatim, often day to day: everything is wonderful, all hail the central bank (Friday); the world is crashing, these empty suits are running us over the cliff (Tuesday). Having gone on long enough, this phenomenon has turned traders into inveterate cynics who know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
"The intrinsic contradiction of policy response to the crisis – suspend the laws of the market in order to save it – is resolved only by understanding that suspension is temporary. Stimulus will have to be unwound. But, and here lies the problem, accommodation has been in place for a very long time and this has had a profound impact on investors behavior, market functioning and its dynamics."
Did the BOJ’s out-of-the-blue reversal on its monetary stance which was refuted just weeks prior by Mr. Kuroda himself take place because after listening to the arguments, suggestions, as well as concerns, from the participants at Davos he concluded much like what the movie “Margin Call” depicted: It was all about to unravel? And if so: is this him deciding to be “first” and considered it his only choice?
Between Japan and Europe, over 20% of the world’s GDP is being managed by a Central Bank with NIRP.
Well that did not last long. After initial exuberance over The BoJ's wishy-washy decision to adopt a 3-tiered rate policy including NIRP, markets have realized that without further asset purchases (which were maintained at the current pace), there is no ammo to lift stocks. An almost 200 point surge in Dow futures has been erased and Nikkei 225 has dropped 1000 points from its post BOJ highs... as 10Y JGB yields hit record lows at 11bps and 20Y JGB yields drop to 82bps - the lowest since 2003
While stocks grab the headlines, there is another far more important crisis for investors to focus on.
The global economy has had its artificial boom and CapEx frenzy already and years of deflationary liquidation and correction lie ahead. Money printing has failed. Any effort by the central banks to double down on another $20 trillion of bond purchases would blow the world’s financial casinos sky high. Contemporary central bankers function like a team of monetary wranglers, herding the retail cattle toward the asset gathers. At the end of the day, the asset gathers will profoundly regret what they are clamoring for.