In the US the year-on-year trend for productivity has turned negative . Most central bankers dismiss this fact as a short-term aberration. But the Japanese economy provides an example of what interest rates at or near zero can do to a large, developed economy. The answer is not much: not much real growth; not much inflation - and, together, not enough nominal GDP growth to repay historic debt should yields on sovereign debt ever return to normal.
Economist Paul Krugman is whining for more fiscal stimulus, his favorite pastime by far. Krugman’s target this time is Japan... "The average 5th grader understands it’s absurd to pay money for something guaranteed to be useless, but the average Keynesian economist doesn’t."
There’s a new feature to the Anything-Goes-and-Nothing-Matters economy: Nothing-Adds-Up... The fecklessness and stupidity of the elites has been epic, sacrificing everything to maintain the illusion of normality.
One day after all three US indexes hit record highs for the first time since December 31, 1999, US equity index futures, European stocks and Asian equities are little changed after the Nikkei jumped on the back of a Yen weakness, while China reported disappointing economic data and the PBOC suggested that the flood of new debt is slowing which pushed Chinese stocks higher by 1.6% on hopes of more stimulus.
For all the focus on terrorism, one of the most striking features of the last decade is that the risk of war between the world’s major countries has returned. For the first time since the fall of the Berlin wall, military thinkers in the United States, Europe and Asia are putting serious thought into what such a conflict might look like. For a world with no shortage of nuclear weapons, that’s alarming.
The biggest (unspoken of) bubble in the world, just got bubblier. Following the lowest 10Y China government bond auction yield since records began in 2004, a surge of foreign inflows (seeking yield) combined with domestic flight-to-safety from the increasingly default-ridden corporate bond sector has sent China's government bond yields to 2009 lows.
It's what you do with what you've got... "Yes, national prosperity has some correlation to the resources available to the State, but importantly, it's determined by how those resources are put to productive -- and fair -- use."
Far from a sign of good things for the economy as whole, recently declining oil prices now tend to indicate a weakening economy that was already in a weak state. It turns out that the oil price and the economy are now in a very tight relationship, and we are going to be seeing them together a lot for a long time to come.
While US media continues to hammer Trump for what 'uncited sources' are saying, European media notes that the commander of U.S. European Command said allied nations must pay their fair share of defense costs to deter Russia in comments that support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's tough talk on NATO.
Last week, when details of Japan's "massive" JPY28 trillion stimulus plan emerged, we pointed out the "minor" snag that assured the plan would be a disappointment: only about JPY7 trillion of this amount would be in the form of new spending. Overnight, Japan finally revealed the full plan, and as expected it was met with significant disappointment by the market, which sent the Yen soaring to new multi-week highs and saw Japanese bond yields surging .