The ascent of the Democratic Party of Japan marked the end of Japan's one-party state, dominated by the Liberal Democratic Party since the 1955. However, the DPJ was unable to address the challenges Japan faced, was internally unstable, as illustrated by the revolving door in the prime minister's office, and spent scarce political clout to support a controversial retail sales tax increase.
The LDP has returned to power. Its ascent is a victory for the old elite. Reports suggest that half of the cabinet positions were given to members of parliament who had inherited their Diet seats from their families. The LDP's program, or Abenomics as it has been dubbed, seeks to strengthen the domestic economy and enhance Japan's ability to project its power internationally.
Bernanke: Drop it Janet. My mind is made up. Meeting over.
Last week we introduced our readers to the BIS' Head of Foreign Exchange and Gold, Benoit Gilson. As this week's induction into the FleeceBook hall of fame of faceless individuals behind the scenes whose fingers are on all the relevant buttons, we present to you Michael Cross, Head of Foreign Exchange, and Executive Director for Markets, at the Bank of England, a role which with the arrival of the BoE's new Goldman leader will become quite crucial in the coming weeks as the race to debase finally crosses the English Channel and it is cable's turn to crash and burn against all other currencies.
Gold fell $20.20 or 1.2% in New York yesterday and closed at $1,664.50/oz. Silver slipped to as low as $29.972 and finished with a loss of 2.55%.
If you own the debt of Spain; sell it. If you are thinking about buying their sovereign debt; don’t. I hope that is clear enough. I don’t believe that I have left out any corner of my thinking or that there is any wavering on my part. All of the new Spanish debt will carry Collective Action Clauses which gives Spain the right to force bondholders to their knees. This is reminiscent of Greece and we should have all learned the lesson from that experience. It is my opinion that Spain will be forced to the till at the ECB and the EU and that the amount of financing that will be demanded will cause rancor in the fiscally disciplined nations.
Bottom line: The coin is a phony solution to a real problem.
While some were concerned at the Fed's new quantitative targets as suggesting early tightening, it appears (from the FOMC Minutes) that those fears were somewhat warranted (with most seeing QE ending in 2013):
- *FED SAYS A FEW ON FOMC WANTED QE UNTIL ABOUT THE END OF 2013
- *FED: SEVERAL ON FOMC BACKED QE HALT OR CUT WELL BEFORE 2013 END
- *ALMOST ALL FOMC MEMBERS SAW POTENTIAL QE COSTS AS INCREASING
The punchline: "several" means more than just QE4 hater Jeff Lacker are turning hawkish. Though, even with the risks, they want moar. Pre-FOMC Minutes: ES 1460, 10Y 1.86%, EUR 1.3108, Gold $1674. Post: ES -6pts, 10Y +5bps, EUR -40 pips, Gold -$10.
Bill Gross On Bernanke's Latest Helicopter Flyover, "Money For Nothing, Debt For Free" And The End Of Ponzi SchemesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/03/2013 07:53 -0500
Back in April 2012, in "How The Fed's Visible Hand Is Forcing Corporate Cash Mismanagement" we first explained how despite its best intentions (to boost the Russell 2000 to new all time highs, a goal it achieved), the Fed's now constant intervention in capital markets has achieved one thing when it comes to the real economy: an unprecedented capital mismanagemenet, where as a result of ZIRP, corporate executives will always opt for short-term, low IRR, myopic cash allocation decisions such as dividend, buyback and, sometimes, M&A, seeking to satisfy shareholders and ignoring real long-term growth opportunities such as R&D spending, efficiency improvements, capital reinvestment, retention and hiring of employees, and generally all those things that determine success for anyone whose investment horizon is longer than the nearest lockup gate. Today, one calendar year later, none other than Bill Gross, in his first investment letter of 2013, admits we were correct: "Zero-bound interest rates, QE maneuvering, and “essentially costless” check writing destroy financial business models and stunt investment decisions which offer increasingly lower ROIs and ROEs. Purchases of “paper” shares as opposed to investments in tangible productive investment assets become the likely preferred corporate choice." It is this that should be the focus of economists, and not what the level of the S&P is, as it is no longer indicative of any underlying market fundamentals, but merely how large, in nominal terms, the global balance sheet is. And as long as the impact of peak central-planning on "business models" is ignored, there can be no hope of economic stabilization, let alone improvement. All this and much more, especially his admissions that yes, it is flow, and not stock, that dominates the Fed market impact (think great white shark - must always be moving), if not calculus, in Bill Gross' latest letter.
In many respects, 2012 was a year of waiting: waiting for a path forward on the European debt crisis; waiting for the results of a polarizing U.S. election; waiting for the Chinese leadership transition; waiting for a resolution to the U.S. fiscal cliff issues; waiting for the Middle East to find peace; waiting for a clear path to global growth; and therefore, waiting to invest additional assets in the markets (or not, as the case may be). In this 2013 Outlook, Michael Cembalest, JPMorgan Asset Management's Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy, provides a comprehensive summary of the global factors at play, with a tone of optimism grounded in realism. Perhaps just what we need after the surreality of the last two days.
On May 10, 2000 a GATA delegation consisting of Reg Howe, Frank Veneroso, Chris Powell and Bill Murphy met with Denny Hastert, The Speaker of the House in the United States Congress; Spencer Bachus, the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy; and Dr. John Silvia, the Chief Economist of the Senate Banking Committee. We presented each of them our 100 page "Gold Derivative Banking Crisis" document and personally delivered it to the staff of every House and Senate Banking Committee member.
Shinzo Abe's re-election on the basis of his monetary policy aggression plans have sent the JPY reeling (as he hoped for) and the NKY soaring - but it is his more aggressive perspective on patriotism that could lead to far greater problems. As the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences recently noted,all eyes are fixed on Abe as "Japan’s nationalization of the Diaoyu Islands destroyed the framework for keeping a balance, which means ‘shelving a conflict'," a Chinese diplomatic source said, adding that "China has no political methods to return the situation to the (pre-nationalization) state. Therefore, there are no other ways except for looking for a new framework." As a precondition for establishing the framework, an executive of the think tank said, "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should not take actions that heighten the tensions further. It is the same as a game of go. If Japan escalates the conflict, China will be prepared to respond to the move." As a result, Japan-China relations will enter into a highly volatile period, ruining any hope of a resurgence in Japan's real economy, and more worryingly, the think-tank concludes, China's conflict with Japan is inevitable.
- Japan PM Abe wants to replace landmark war apology (Reuters) - to summarize Abe's strategy: crush the JPY even as China is alienated so much not a single Japanese export goes to Beijing. Brilliant
- Unthinkable Cuts Almost a Reality (WSJ)
- Signs of Negative Economic Impact Growing (WSJ)
- Carlyle Agrees to Buy Duff & Phelps for $665.5 Million (BBG)
- Greek retail sales slump deepens in October, recession bites (Reuters)
- Congress Dysfunction as Deadline Arrives Poses 2013 Risks (BBG)
- For Euro, All Eyes Are on Central Bank's Actions (WSJ)
- France Seeks New Path to High Tax (WSJ)
- Japan Rebuke to G-20 Nations May Signal Moves to Weaken Yen (BBG)
- Portugal braced for ‘fiscal earthquake’ (FT)
- Monti's reform path faces test beyond Italy elections (Reuters)
- South Korea’s Inflation Slows Even as Economy Gaining Momentum (WSJ)
- China factory sector strongest since May 2011 (Reuters)
The politicization of central banking continues unabated. The resurrection of Shinzo Abe and Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party – pillars of the political system that has left the Japanese economy mired in two lost decades and counting – is just the latest case in point. He argued that a timid BOJ should learn from its more aggressive counterparts, the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. But will it work? Unfortunately, it appears that Japan has forgotten many of its own lessons – especially the BOJ’s disappointing experience with zero interest rates and QE in the early 2000’s. Not only is QE’s ability to jumpstart crisis-torn, balance-sheet-constrained economies limited; it also runs the important risk of blurring the distinction between monetary and fiscal policy. Massive liquidity injections carried out by the world’s major central banks – the Fed, the ECB, and the BOJ – are neither achieving traction in their respective real economies, nor facilitating balance-sheet repair and structural change. That leaves a huge sum of excess liquidity sloshing around in global asset markets. Where it goes, the next crisis is inevitably doomed to follow.
The U.S. federal deficit is now exceeding $1 trillion dollars every year —up from $161 billion in 2007, the last year before the financial crisis. Spending is up some $1 trillion, as outlays for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlements have increased by an amount equal to the entire 2013 military budget – a budget which may again surpass the combined military expenditure of every other nation in the world. U.S. unfunded liabilities are now estimated at between $50 trillion and $100 trillion and by the end of the decade (in less than just 7 years), runaway entitlement spending will require shutting down the military or crippling many other vital domestic spending programs to head off massive deficits that will likely lead to a dollar crisis and significant inflation. No matter what deal is eventually agreed, whether before or after the new year, it will at best nibble at the edges of the trillion dollar annual deficits that are being piled up. While all the focus has been on the so called U.S. ‘fiscal cliff’, amnesia has taken hold and many market participants have forgotten about the far from resolved Eurozone debt crisis – not to mention looming debt crisis in the UK and Japan.
With JPY bleeding lower once again overnight extending to 28-month lows against the USD (and the long-end of the JGB curve starting to show some signs of anxiety), it is perhaps timely to revisit Kyle Bass's five key reasons why Japan is the epicenter of the world's failed monetary policy experiment. In this excellent and much-requested summary 8-minute clip, Bass summarizes his Japan thesis and destroys several of the myths that talking-heads like to assign to the so-called widow-maker trade.