"I have certain rules that I live by... My first rule - I don't believe anything the government tells me." - George Carlin
Following yesterday's Yen surge in the aftermath of the disappointing BOJ announcement, the pain for USDJPY long continued, with the key carry pair tumbling as low as 106, the lowest level since October 2014 before stabilizing around 107, and is now headed for its biggest weekly gain since 2008, which in turn has pushed the US dollar to to its lowest close in almost a year as signs of slowing growth in the U.S. dimmed prospects for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase. As a result, global stocks fell and commodities extended gains in their best month since 2010.
Less than one week after the BOJ floated a trial balloon using Bloomberg, that it would reduce the rate it charged some banks which set off the biggest USDJPY rally since October 2014, we are back where we started following last night's "completely unexpected" (for everyone else: we wrote "What If The BOJ Disappoints Tonight: How To Trade It" hours before said "shock") shocking announcement out of the BOJ which did absolutely... nothing. "It’s a total shock,” Nader Naeimi, Sydney- based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors told Bloomberg. "From currencies to equities to everything -- you can see the reaction in the markets. I can’t believe this. It’s very disappointing."
If there was a sign that nothing else matters but central bank largess, this was it. The moment The Bank of Japan statement hit and proclaims "unchanged" a vacuum hit USDJPY and Japanese stocks. Reflecting that Japan's economy has "continued a moderate recovery trend" which is utter crap given the quintuple-dip recession, Kuroda and his cronies said they will "add easing if necessary" and apparently that is not now. Not so much as a higher ETF purchase or moar NIRP.. and the aftermath is carnage - NKY -1000 points and USDJPY crashed to a 108 handle!!
Federal Reserve officials are virtually certain to hold interest rates steady when their meeting ends today but they could try to send a message to markets and outside observers about what likely comes next. With no press conference scheduled after this week’s meeting and no new economic forecasts to be released, all the attention will be focused on their words and the market is more aware than ever that the Fed doesn’t act in a vacuum. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow notes, The Fed is hopeful (that their always-wrong forecasts come true this time) but they're also scared to death on the consequences.
For those who thought that the world's biggest company losing over $40 billion in market cap in an instant on disappointing Apple earnings, would have been sufficient to put a dent in US equity futures, we have some disappointing news: with just over 7 hours until the FOMC reveals its April statement, futures are practically unchanged, even though the Nasdaq appears set for an early bruising in the aftermath of what is becoming a disturbing quarter for tech companies. Instead of tech leading, however, the upside has once again come from the energy complex where moments ago WTI rose above $45 a barrel for the first time since November after yesterday's unexpected 1.07 million barrel API inventory drawdown.
Despite surging commodity prices in China - which must be real and represent demand growth and price increases, right? - Aussie core inflation slowed to the weakest on record as headline prices unexpectedly fell last quarter (CPI -0.2%). RBA Rate-cut odds tripled instantly sending AUD down over 1.2% (its biggest drop in 2 months). Perhaps, just perhaps, that collossal credit injection in Q1 via China did not make it into the AsiaPac economy after all and merely fueled a speculative frenzy in commodities that merely "looks" like a recovery?
At the top, with annual price increases over 9% and as high as 11.9% in the case of Portland, we also find Seattle Denver and - of course - San Francisco. On the other end are Washington, Chicago and oddly enough, New York. We wonder if Case Shiller used the UMich "random" telephone directory to calculate that NYC home prices rose at precisely the rate of core inflation in the past 12 months while ignoring the dramatic moves in the ultra luxury high end segment.
One of the largest educator pension funds in the U.K., the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is implementing significant changes to the plan benefits as it becomes increasingly under-funded, just like its peers in the United States. The changes are drastic, and are meant to keep the fund solvent in order to at least pay some benefits rather than none over time. Additionally, the plan, which represents 330,000 members, will transition from defined benefit to defined contribution leaving members at the mercy of the performance of the money managers handling their investments.
The April FOMC gathering headlines a crowded economic events calendar this week. The post-meeting statement, released Wednesday afternoon, should continue to strike a cautious tone. There will be no press conference and updated economic and financial forecasts will not be released. Few expect the FOMC to add the “balance of risks” sentence back into its communiqué at this point. Doing so would be quite bearish for risk assets as it would definitely open the door for a June rate hike.
"We expect $/JPY to move higher again in the near term and continue to forecast $/JPY at 130 a year from now.... by making the fiscal expansion permanent and funded through money creation (a politically correct phrase for a form of 'helicopter money'), expectations of future inflation should increase and real rates fall"
A story of sinking moral, economic hazard, ballooning debt debt, runaway inflation and scandals!
The gold/silver ratio recently took out 2009 highs and the gold/copper ratio is at its highest level since 2009. This is a negative signal that US inflation, using CPI, could be headed for another leg lower. Since 2008, the gold/silver ratio has had a -73% correlation to the year-over-year change in US CPI (with a 2-quarter forward lag for the gold/silver ratio) . So as the gold/silver ratio increases, the year-over-year change in the CPI tends to fall.
For those who believe that broad-based stimulus is coming to save the world from China (via RRR cuts or even pure QE) - as opposed to the hole-filling credit pump they just supported - think again. As we warned last year, this is 'western' thinking as the go to policy of the rest of the world's central banks has been - put on pants, print money, paper over cracks, proclaim victory. However, in China there is one big problem with this... stoking inflation... and most crucially the social unrest concerns when suddenly a nation of newly minted equity - and now bond - losers can no longer afford their pork - which is surging to record highs.
Tomorrow's ECB meeting "looks set to be sleepy" according to Saxo Bank's Mads Koefed as Draghi is largely cornered into confirmation he will do "whatever it takes" and some additional details on the corporate bond purchase plan. Most of the sell-side's research suggests the same, as Bloomberg notes, ECB will probably leave the door open for further cuts if needed; but any downside risk for the euro is seen limited, as Draghi stays on hold by reinforcing its dovish stance after the mix of easing measures announced in March with some defense of the efficiency of his policies after recent criticism by Germany.