Back in March, Japan's Global Pension Investment Fund appointed Norihiro Takahashi as its new president. Few paid much attention to it, but it may very well end up being one of the most significant events that occurred as we look back in twelve to eighteen months.
Interestingly, the BoJ’s attempts to achieve its price inflation target continue to end in failure with unwavering regularity. While the central bank’s astonishing ineptness in this respect is a blessing for Japan’s citizens (at least for the moment, their cost of living doesn’t increase further), it harbors the danger that even crazier monetary experiments will eventually be tried.
The 2016 election has laid bare the deep insecurity of America’s ageing working-class, their resentment toward foreigners, competition, change. While America’s youth clamor for fairness, a future free from crushing student debt, the oppression of a government owned by and run for big business, the US Treasury is responding, warning our trading partners against artificially weakening their currencies, stealing our growth, depressing our wages, destroying our jobs.
There has been a bevy of negative news in the past 48 hours which perhaps explains why futures are fractionally in the green as of this moment.
Gold first closed above $1300 on September 29th 2010, 67 months ago; and as investors' faith in Central Banks falters - with The Dow down over 400 points (and Nikkei 225 down 1700 points!) from the scene of Kuroda's Kamikaze decision, gold has soared up above $1299...
Following yesterday's Yen surge in the aftermath of the disappointing BOJ announcement, the pain for USDJPY long continued, with the key carry pair tumbling as low as 106, the lowest level since October 2014 before stabilizing around 107, and is now headed for its biggest weekly gain since 2008, which in turn has pushed the US dollar to to its lowest close in almost a year as signs of slowing growth in the U.S. dimmed prospects for a Federal Reserve interest-rate increase. As a result, global stocks fell and commodities extended gains in their best month since 2010.
Less than one week after the BOJ floated a trial balloon using Bloomberg, that it would reduce the rate it charged some banks which set off the biggest USDJPY rally since October 2014, we are back where we started following last night's "completely unexpected" (for everyone else: we wrote "What If The BOJ Disappoints Tonight: How To Trade It" hours before said "shock") shocking announcement out of the BOJ which did absolutely... nothing. "It’s a total shock,” Nader Naeimi, Sydney- based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors told Bloomberg. "From currencies to equities to everything -- you can see the reaction in the markets. I can’t believe this. It’s very disappointing."
If there was a sign that nothing else matters but central bank largess, this was it. The moment The Bank of Japan statement hit and proclaims "unchanged" a vacuum hit USDJPY and Japanese stocks. Reflecting that Japan's economy has "continued a moderate recovery trend" which is utter crap given the quintuple-dip recession, Kuroda and his cronies said they will "add easing if necessary" and apparently that is not now. Not so much as a higher ETF purchase or moar NIRP.. and the aftermath is carnage - NKY -1000 points and USDJPY crashed to a 108 handle!!
The biggest argument for a BOJ disappointment is that with the G7 meeting in Japan in on month on 26–27 May 2016, it’s unlikely that Japanese policymakers will want to draw attention yet again to the idea that they are in the business of manipulating the JPY lower. After all the most recent G20 meeting once again confirmed that absent "disorderly moves" in the Yen, the US would frown on any attempt to dramatically manipulate its currency lower.
For those who thought that the world's biggest company losing over $40 billion in market cap in an instant on disappointing Apple earnings, would have been sufficient to put a dent in US equity futures, we have some disappointing news: with just over 7 hours until the FOMC reveals its April statement, futures are practically unchanged, even though the Nasdaq appears set for an early bruising in the aftermath of what is becoming a disturbing quarter for tech companies. Instead of tech leading, however, the upside has once again come from the energy complex where moments ago WTI rose above $45 a barrel for the first time since November after yesterday's unexpected 1.07 million barrel API inventory drawdown.
With the Fed decision just one day away, followed the very next day by the increasingly more irrational BOJ, stocks had no desire to make significant moves and overnight's boring session was the result, as European stocks and U.S. index futures rose modestly but mostly hugged the flatline while Asian declined 0.2% for a third day as raw-material shares declined and Tokyo equities slumped before central bank meetings in the U.S. and Japan this week. China’s stocks rose the most in almost two weeks, up 0.6% but failed to rise above 3000 on the Shanghai Composite, in thin trading.
"For traders, just when they were promised an end was in sight, policy divergences would become tradable and correlations would weaken, the nightmares keep coming. The problem is, that despite all of the emphatically reasoned analysis, no one really believes anything. And it may not pay to. The distortions are just too great.... Think it was a big deal to be threatened with a Treasury portfolio sell-off? Wait until it’s the S&P 500."
The latest shocking example of just how intertwined central banks have become in all capital markets, comes courtesy of the Bank of Japan which days ahead of a move which may see it double its ETF purchases from the current run rate of JPY3.3 trillion to JPY7 trillion or more (if Goldman is correct), is revealed to be a top 10 holder in about 90% of all Japanese stocks. Crazier still, if as Goldman predicts the BOJ doubles its purchases of ETFs, the central bank could become the No. 1 shareholder in about 40 of the Nikkei 225’s companies by the end of 2017,
Futures are currently unchanged, but the E-mini was down as much as 12 points less than two hours earlier after the European open when this time it was up to the PBOC to intervene in global markets by pushing the Yuan higher (selling USDCNY via intermediary banks) sending global stocks sharply higher off session lows and leaving the S&P futures virtually unchanged. As Bloomberg reported, there has been increasing USD/CNY selling in afternoon session as Dollar Index edged lower. This is the PBOC entering the building and levitating stocks.