It seems that everyone these days is exporting deflation to the US. American consumers will be delighted with everyone sending cheaper goods their way. However, what this may do to their income and employment prospects is a whole different matter.
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?
"... if interest rates go negative, the incentives reverse: people receiving payments will prefer checks (which can be held back from collection) to electronic transfers. Such a reversal could impose novel burdens on payment systems that have evolved in an environment of positive interest rates.... that if interest rates go negative, we may see an epochal outburst of socially unproductive—even if individually beneficial—financial innovation."
Calls by various mainstream economists to ban cash transactions seem to be getting ever louder, while central bankers have unleashed negative interest rates on economies accounting for 25% of global GDP, with $5.5 trillion in government bonds yielding less than zero. The two policies are rapidly converging. This is what the resulting cashless society would look like.
Many believed that the NOK was backed by oil, not requiring a gold reserve. However, oil is no longer a scarce resource but an abundant commodity. Switzerland, Germany, America and other first world nations have gold reserves. Norway should have one too.
Spoiler Alert: It's NOT a rate hike!
Two weeks ago we, in collaboration with several readers, requested an official response from the Fed through a Freedom Of Information Act submission. Surely if the Fed would go so far as to call us liars, it would have no problem either responding or providing the required information. This is what we got back.
While University of Michigan confidence slipped modestly from December's print, the tumble in expectations (hope) from the preliminary print is perhaps more important as stocks dropped and volatility struck. However, more problematic for an inflation-hoping Federal Reserve is the drop in 12-month inflation expectations. The last time inflation expectations were lower than this was September 2010.. when Bernanke hinted at QE2 at jackson Hole.
It is safe to say that nobody expected the BOJ stunner announced last night, when Kuroda announced that Japan would become the latest country to unleash negative interest rates, for one simple reason: Kuroda himself said Japan would not adopt negative rates just one week ago! However, a few BIS conference calls since then clearly changed the Japanese central banker's mind and as we wrote, and as those who are just waking up are shocked to learn, negative rates are now a reality in Japan. The immediate reaction was to send the USDJPY surging by nearly 200 pips, back to levels seen... well, about a month ago.
President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address 2 weeks ago, and devoted most of the time to defending his "legacy" of bigger and more intrusive government, with an emphasis on the other aspects of personal and social life he wished could come under the blanket of more political paternalism. What if the president offered, instead, an agenda for freedom rather than one of paternalism? What would the State of the Union address be like if he had such an epiphany for defending individual liberty rather than more unrestricted government license over our lives?
With The Fed definitely off the table, China promising nothing but daily liquidity drips, and Europe unable to do anything but jawbone, the world's bullish equity market investors are anxiously trawling for a central bank to save the world. Tonight's BoJ meeting could well be it - though judging by their past epic failures - it will be anything but successful as QE23 looms in Japan. “The need for a Kuroda bazooka is increasing,” said Yuji Shimanaka, an economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo. “This is decision time for Kuroda” as additional stimulus can stop the trend of yen gains and falling stocks.
"We learned one thing yesterday: the U.S. Federal Reserve is in the same position as the rest of us when it comes to forecasting the future path of economic growth. Nobody really “Knows” anything right now. Now, there’s enough doubt for everyone: markets, central banks, consumers, governments. Everyone. The best thing we can say about that: if markets accept that the Fed is no better informed than they are, maybe investors will devote more time to stock fundamentals and intrinsic value analysis."
- Unease over Fed rate path dents European stocks (Reuters)
- Global Stocks Pressured After Fed Statement (WSJ)
- Japan's Economy Minister Amari to Resign Over Graft Scandal (BBG)
- Authorities working to clear remaining protesters in Oregon occupation (Reuters)
- China Sharpens Efforts to Halt Money Outflow (WSJ)
- Eurozone January Economic Sentiment Falls Sharply, Hits 5-Mth Low (MNI)
Following the Fed's disappointing "dovish, but not dovish enough" statement which effectively admitted Yellen had committed policy error by hiking just as the US economy "was slowing down" which in turn lowered the odds of a March rate hike to just 18%, it was up to oil to pick up the correlation torch, and so it did, rising in an otherwise mixed session which has seen European stocks slide on continued weakness surrounding Italian banks, many of which have been halted limit down, while Asia was treading water following news of the resignation of Japan’s "Abenomics" minister Akira Amari to over a graft scandal, and yet another day of Chinese stock dropping.