What do an old German bank note, a current $100 bill, and an apple all have in common? The answer, according to ConvergEx's Nick Colas, is that these simple objects can tell us much about the current investment scene, ranging from Europe’s economic challenges to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s attempts to reduce unemployment. Colas takes an “object-ive” approach to analyzing the current investment landscape by describing 10 common items and how they shape our perceptions of reality. The other objects on our list: a hazmat suit, a house in Orlando, a barrel of oil, a Rolex watch, a butterfly, a heating radiator in Berlin, and a smartphone.
"The Fed is really holding the market up.... The Fed turned this market around here because it let it be known that the Fed funds rate isn't going to be raised in March. I am concerned about the high yield market, I think that's in a major bubble, but nobody knows when it's gonna burst." - Carl Icahn
J.A. does not = Jack Abe...
The Japanese Yen's real effective exchange rate (REER) has collapsed to the weakest since 1982, according to Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. Simply put, REER is a trade-weighted measure of Yen strength (or weakness) against, in this case, 59 trading partners; and as the nation posts an unprecedented 27th straight month of trade deficits, Bloomberg reports MUFJ indicates "a structural shift" has taken place. As MUFJ chief FX strategist warns, "If the trade deficit doesn’t noticeably narrow from here, the yen’s real effective rate could fall to levels never seen before," and, ominously, "from a supply and demand perspective, yen selling for foreign currency by Japanese importers will just continue endlessly." And Japan becomes Venezuela...
Having rotated their attention to the T-bill market in Japan (after demand for the Bank of Japan's cheap loans disappointed policymakers) in an effort to ensure enough freshly printed money was flushed into Japanese markets, the BoJ now has a major problem. For the first time since QQE began, Bloomberg reports the BoJ failed to buy all the bonds they desired. Whether this is investors unwilling to sell (preferring the safe haven than stocks or eu bonds) or that BoJ has soaked up too much of the market (that dealers now call "dead") is unclear. Japanese stocks - led by banks - are sliding as bond-demand sends 5Y yields (13bps) to 18-month lows.
Apparently under pressure from some members of Japan's parliament (who are likely being screamed at by the firms and people that bought and voted for them) as they question the possibility of JPY dropping to 170 per USD, BoJ Chief Haruhiko Kuroda proclaimed yesterday that "monetary policy can prevent hyperinflation," but don't worry because he "doesn't think Japan will experience hyperinflation." Well that's a relief because all his other predictions about how well Abenomics would work have been utter failures. Perhaps Kuroda should listen to ex-BoJ chief economist Hideo Hakayawa who stunningly suggested, The BOJ should start paring its unprecedented easing soon or risk hurting people, "it’s important to quit while you’re ahead."
The fiat dollar harms us in many ways, but rising prices is the least of them. There is no limit to prices, but credit abuse can only continue so long, before the dollar fails.
The head of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank on Tuesday said he would be open to another of round asset purchases if inflation trends were to fall significantly short of the U.S. central bank's target. Although he said it would take a big shift in the U.S. economic outlook for the Fed to restart its bond buying, John Williams said the possibility of a new downturn in Europe and other global economic woes pose a risk to the United States. "If we really get a sustained, disinflationary forecast ... then I think moving back to additional asset purchases in a situation like that should be something we should seriously consider," Williams said in an interview with Reuters.
“Hyperinflation and hyper-deflation are just two different forms of the same phenomenon: credit collapse. Arguing which of the two forms will dominate is futile: it blurs the focus of inquiry and frustrates efforts to avoid disaster.”
After two years of Abenomics, Japan officially admitted it has entered a triple-dip recession. While people with a modicum of common sense warned this would happen long ago, it actually came as a surprise to traditionally trained economists: after all, a country whose economy collapsed under piecemeal episodes of "Abenomics" over the past three decades was supposed to, if only for those trained in the Keynesian school, promptly recover (even though its fundamental problem is not economic but demographic) when that which had failed for so long was applied in one shock episode. It didn't work. So now that Abenomics has officially failed in Japan (but will remain in place until Abe is ouster, either voluntarily as the local population has had enough of Japan's record inflation imports) what comes next? It is about to be tried in Europe of course
In recent months, this prognostication has been gaining traction that a second, more severe crash - one that reflected the level of debt - is inevitable. There are two primary camps amongst economists with regard to the economic direction that a crash will generate: inflationists and deflationists. The argument goes back and forth, yet there seems to be the misconception that one must be either an inflationist or deflationist. This is not at all the case.
One of the main causes of the hyperinflation was the decision of the Zimbabwean government to give army veterans of its recent wars a big bonus. The promise was too much for the Zimbabwean economy to manage, so the government printed money... and lots of it. Why is this relevant? Well, look at America. The chickens eventually will come home to roost for the US, just as they did for the poor Zimbabweans. The political pressure to print money is the same everywhere as are the laws of economic science.
The Argentina MERVAL stock index is down 16.5% since yesterday's news of the resignation of the last voice of reason among Argentina's policy-makers. As we noted previously, "this is not a good sign" and indicates a worrying escalation in the chances of hyperinflation.. This is the MERVAL's worst 2-day drop in 6 years. What some money-printing gives, too much money-printing takes away...
We would like to be able to commiserate with Ukraine's US-muppet regime, we really would, but when Ukraine's PM Argeny Yatseniuk, or Yats as he is known to Victoria Nuland, almost cried in an interview with Reuters yesterday when he pleaded that "[Russia] wants us to freeze... This is the aim and this is another trump card in Russian hands.... So, except military offense, except military operation against Ukraine, they have another trump card, which is energy". we have just two things to say to him: i) he is absolutely correct, about Russia having the trump card that is - something obvious to everyone with half a brain from the start of the conflict, and ii) perhaps Ukraine should finally pay Gazprom not only for the gas they would like to use in the future, but also the gas they have already used and payment for which is overdue and which the IMF, i.e., the US taxpayer, gave Ukraine explicit money to pay for and instead was embezzled by the people in power.
Google "grocery prices last 12 months" and it's post after post beginning with "Consumer prices rise" or "Rising food prices bite." One person who is happy about this is the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, for instead of being like Europe, that is “clearly in the grip of a deflationary vortex,” America only teeters on the edge of a general price plunge. “And there but for the grace of Bernanke go we,” writes the voice of Grey Lady economics wisdom. However, Mr. Krugman shouldn’t declare defeat to the deflationists just yet. Bankers are learning to say ‘yes’ again, and that means velocity and price increases.