Conventional thinking and reporting has it that Japan is conducting a larger version of the same monetary experiment they’ve been running for about 15 years. The implication here is that we can safely analyze what Japan is up to through the same monetary lens, as always, but with a slightly wider aperture. In truth, what Japan is running is as much a massive social experiment as it is a monetary experiment. It has such enormous implications to everyone, but especially the Japanese people, that we should all be paying very close attention. The early results, with a manic pulse in the Nikkei coincident with arrhythmic gyrations in the Japanese government bond market, suggest that something has been shaken loose in Japan.
It is all too easy to look admiringly at levitating nominal stock prices, stick your head in the sand, and believe that Abe and Kuroda have it all under control (by "it" we mean everything that has happened and that Zero Hedge predicted would happen two years ago). But for those unwilling to take the BoJ's word for it that "the economy has stopped deteriorating," we ask one simple question. After looking at the following four charts of Abe's 2-2-2-2 Plan, "is it sustainable?" You decide...
"The stress is beginning to show," Kyle Bass warns during a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg TV. "The beginning of the end," is here for Japanese government bonds as he notes that while quantitiavely it is clear they are insolvent, "the qualitative perception of participants is changing." But away from Japan specifically, there is a lot more on the Texan's mind. "Things go from perfectly stable to completely unstable," very quickly; even more so after 20 years of exponential debt build-up and Keynesian cover-ups; and it is this that he warns complacent investors that it is "really important to think about the capital at risk in your strategy." For this reason he prefers to hold gold rather than Treasuries, as, "when you think about the largest central banks in the world, they have all moved to unlimited printing ideology. Monetary policy happens to be the only game in town. I am perplexed as to why gold is as low as it is. I don't have a great answer for you other than you should maintain a position." His discussion varies from housing's recovery to structured credit liquidity "money is being misallocated by the printing press" and the future of the GSEs, concluding with the rather ominous, "at some point in time, I would much rather would own gold than paper. I just don't know when that time is."
"Livid" Top Chinese Economists Call BOJ Decision "Monetary Blackmail", Demand "Currency War" RetaliationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/07/2013 14:25 -0400
The Chinese Central Bank has so far stoically endured the monthly injection of $85 billion in boiling hot money for the past seven months, lovingly delivered by the inhabitants of the Marriner Eccles building, even if it meant a proportionate hawkish response which has pushed the Shanghai Composite red for the year, and having to deal with a property market that is on the verge of another inflationary blow off top. But while the PBOC will grudgingly take this kind of monetary abuse from Bernanke, now that it has to deal with another de novo created $70+ billion in monthly central bank liquidity (poetically called Carry-O-QE by Deutsche's Jim Reid), this time coming from that loathed neighbor and one time invader across the East China Sea, China won't take it any more. As the SCMP reports, "Many of China's top economists are livid at what they view as an effective currency devaluation by Japan and are calling on the People's Bank of China to retaliate by weakening the yuan to defend itself in what they see as a new currency war."
There's never been coordinated global money printing of the scale of today and it's likely to end badly. Here's how you can protect your investment portoflios from what's to come.
There's never been coordinated global money printing of the scale of today. It will end badly and investors need to prepare accordingly.
The big driver of market declines Friday was led by the Non-Farm Payrolls report. The jobs data was a dreadful miss which leads to the major “disconnect” we’ve been seeing between stock prices and overall economic data which we posted just last week. This is the nagging and confounding reality of the QE and ZIRP grand experiment for many investors.
Thoughts on the BOJ, ECB and US jobs.
As the fast-money flabber-mouths stare admiringly at the rise in nominal prices of Japanese (and the rest of the world ex-China) stock prices amid soaring sales of wheelbarrows following Kuroda's 'shock-and-awe' last night, it is Kyle Bass who brings these surrealists back to earth with some cold-hard-facting. Out of the gate Bass explains the massive significance of what the Japanese are embarking on, "they are essentially doubling the monetary base by the end of 2104." It is a "Giant Experiment," he warns, but when you are backed into a corner and your debts are north of 20 times your government tax revenue, "you're already insolvent." Simply put, Bass says they have to do something and they have to something big because they are "about to implode under the weight of their debt." For a sense of the scale of the BoJ's 'experimentation', Bass sums it up perfectly (and concerningly), "the BoJ is monetizing at a rate around 75% of the Fed on an economy that is one-third the size of the US!"
With all three major non-Fed central banks on the tape today, all economic data will be merely "noise" as the market digests what the central-planners' intentions are. The BOJ came and went, and following its substantial balance sheet expansion announcement, which many called "shocking and awing" the USDJPY has pushed higher by 2.5 big figures, although not reaching the 96 levels seen prior to Kuroda's actual announcement. In fact, from this point on there is likely downside as Japan's biggest export competitor, South Korea, has no choice but to join the race to debase which in turn will be JPY-positive. The Bank of England is next, which as expected did nothing moments ago, and will keep doing nothing until Carney joins officially this summer. In some 45 minutes, the ECB headlines will hit the tape where Draghi may bur more likely may not lower deposit rates, and instead will focus on recent deterioration in the economy. None of this will be surprising, and the EUR continues to trade sufficiently weak in line with sub-200DMA levels seen in the past few weeks. What we look forward to the most will be Draghi once again discussing the legal term-sheet details of the ECB's OMT program. His answer will be amusing as there still is no answer, and the OMT is for all intents and purposes the biggest straw man ever conceived by a central bank.
Earlier this morning the BoJ introduced a comprehensive change to its monetary policy framework. The asset purchasing program will be merged with the outright JGB purchase program (rinban), and JGB purchases will be expanded to include all maturities, including 40-year bonds. The pace of JGB purchases by the BoJ will be accelerated to ¥7trn per month from just under ¥4trn currently (on a gross basis), and purchases of ETFs and J-REITs will also be increased. The main operating target for money market operations was changed to a monetary base control (a quantitative index) from the uncollateralized overnight call rate.
As Citi's Todd Elmer notes, today's BoJ outcome looks far closer to 'shock and awe' than disappointment. It appears the BoJ's actions may speak as loud as their words for now - JPY is weakening and the Nikkei is rallying after Kuroda's last shot at a first impression appeared to beat expectations (covering for disappointing macro data - despite six months of jawboning and a 20% devaluation). Expectations, though tough to extract given the range of possible actions, appeared centered on extending maturities of bond purchases, increasing the size (median expectations of around JPY5.2tn per month or 50% higher than in Q1), bringing forward the open-ended nature of the program, and increasing scope to foreign bonds and REITs. In his effort to do "whatever it takes", the BoJ is upping asset purchases, extending the maturity of purchases and merging its asset purchase program; increasing the size to JPY7tn and buy securities out to 40 years. Though no mention of foreign bond-buying was made, and increase in ETFs and REITs is included. They have given themselves a two-year window to achieve the 2% inflation goal - paging Kyle Bass - and ironically, as the news broke Tokyo was hit by a significant earthquake.
The past 10 days have seen the Japanese Yen strengthen 3% against the USD - its largest such move in two years - with today's rally prompting a rather painful 'crash' in the Nikkei 225 at the open and envoking the anger of Abe:
- *ABE SAYS CURRENCY CORRECTION HELPING EXPORTERS COMPETITIVENESS (except that there is no evidence of this in any macro data at all)
- *ABE SAYS IT'S POSSIBLE BOJ WILL FAIL TO REACH INFLATION TARGET (like for the last two decades)
- *ABE SAYS ECONOMY SUBJECT TO UNFORSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES (unpossible)
- *ABE SAYS BOJ MUST EXPLAIN IF IT FAILS TO REACH INFLATION TARGET (not my fault!)
It seems that perhaps the wise investing public is waking up to the fact that words do not speak louder than actions, that macro fundamentals are bad and getting worse, and that 36,000 target for the Nikkei may be a stretch goal here.
Since the 1990s, priced in Real GDP the Dow Jones Industrial Average (as well as the S&P500) has been far above their 20th-century norm. There is an unsurprising coincidence - as stock prices (and corporate profits) have soared above their historical norm, wage growth has been very stagnant. The economy has come to be tilted toward bankers, financiers, insurance brokers and away from wage-earners, manufacturers and artisans. Does that mean that as Hassett and Glassman projected in Dow 36,000, stock prices have climbed to a new plateau? Well, while it is impossible to say exactly what prices will do in future (nominal, or otherwise) the “new plateau” has been very much supported by the Federal Reserve, first by lowering rates and keeping them low. Some might take that as a sign that stocks aren’t going to get much cheaper, because the Fed won’t let them get much cheaper; but gravity is against the Fed. Will it be third-time unlucky for the Fed, hell-bent on wealth-effecting and financialising the US economy to prosperity?
Forget Cyprus. A much bigger story in the coming weeks and months will be in Japan, where one of the greatest economic experiments in the modern era is about to begin.