The early effects of the reform program have triggered a surge in the Japanese stock market, accelerated by the anticipation of growth revival. So far, so good for the markets and traders. But how will Abenomics accommodate public debt of over 200% GDP, and will Abe’s radical policies inspire a long-term economic recovery in Japan? Saxo Capital Markets’ new infographic explores the efficacy of Japan's prime minister's dangerous experiment to stimulate economic growth.
Saxo Capital Markets’ latest infographic explores the long-term value of quantitative easing (QE) and, surveying the effect on the US economy, asks whether the US Federal Reserve will ever taper QE.
How do we get a fundamental change away from this extend-and-pretend which prevails not only in Europe but also the world? History tells us that we only get real changes as a result of war, famine, social riots or collapsing stock markets. None of these is an issue for most of the world - at least not yet - but on the other hand we have never had less growth, worse demographics, or higher unemployment since WWII. This is a true paradox that somehow needs to be resolved, and quickly if we are to avoid wasting an entire generation of youth. Policymakers try to pretend we have achieved significant progress and stability as the result of their actions, but from a fundamental point of view that’s a mere illusion..
Another of history’s many lessons is that governments under pressure become thieves. And today’s governments are under a lot of pressure.
"I have met a number of politicians over the years, but lately it has dawned on me that very few of them are seriously prepared to stand up for their beliefs, if indeed they have any. ...
Ideologies and courage have been consigned to the past and, as I see it, Europe’s Achilles’ heel is the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the de facto leader of the EU, and her lack of vision for the single-currency bloc. ... Her lack of vision stands as a striking contrast to the emotional feelings that dominated much of post-war European political thinking. ...
As I see it, the research is done. The verdict is out. We have to re-evaluate the EU."
The market deals extremely poorly with paradigm shifts or cycle changes. One reason for this is that there has been no need for any strategy except for the just-buy-the-dip mantra. This may have ended and that could be the best signal to the markets since the global financial crisis started. Sorry to be the messenger, but the only way for investors to understand risk and leverage is by having them lose money. Essentially then, the balance of this year could be an exercise in re-educating the market to long-lost concepts such as loss, risk, inter-market correlations and price discovery. We even predict that high-frequency trading systems will suffer, as will momentum-based trading and, most interestingly, long-only funds. Why? Because, at the end of the day, they are all built on the same premise: predictable policy actions, financial oppression and no true price discovery. We could be in for a summer of discontent as policy measures and markets return to try to search out a new paradigm. This will be good news for all us.
Niall Ferguson recently remarked, "[Europe] is a politicial experiment gone wrong. The experiment was to see if Europeans could be forced into an even closer union - despite their wishes - by economic means, because the political means failed." In this brief clip, Lars Seier Christensen, co-CEO and co-founder of Saxo Bank, tells an audience at the Saxo #FXDebates in London that the eurozone will eventually break up as Brussels claims even more power from nation states. He warns investors that Cyprus was indeed a template for bail ins and that outright confiscatory wealth taxes, disguised as solidarity payments, could be used to raise funds. "The governments of Europe need money, and the private sector has it. It is as simple as that. Be very paranoid," he said, warning investors that the mattress may be a safer place to deposit money over the weekend than their bank accounts. "Frankly, it is a complete mess. And it is a mess that gets worse and worse every day," is how the outspoken truthiness begins, adding, "anyone with a rational view of the world now sees the currency collaboration as a historic failure that can lead to even further fatal consequences for Europe and the continent’s competitiveness vis-à-vis the rest of the world."
A lot of things have gone wrong over the past few years, but the seeds were planted many years ago. In the form of pressure for more people having the “right” to own their properties, even if they did not fulfill the traditional mortgage criteria – hence subprime. In the form of enormous “entitlements” to not just poor, but also middle-class people in the welfare states – hence ballooning deficits and debt. In the form of a Euro, a grand, political project with no practical foundation – hence crisis after crisis, with the dominoes stretching far into the distance. For sure, a lot of financial institutions took advantage of the hands they were dealt. They are not without guilt and responsibility for the current mess. But the real problems lie not in people trying to take advantage of whatever conditions they operate under. The real problem lies in the framework that is created by politicians, preventing free markets to deal with excesses in the way capitalism always does. Cyprus is a very good example of this. The problem is not Cyprus. The problem is the Euro.
Now that many are convinced we've moved into totally unjustifiable extremes of complacency in risky assets, we are having a look at some historic stock market breaks and how they have unfolded. In that light, the current setup is rather ominous. Saxo Bank's John Hardy likes to look at historic patterns, particularly when the past might provide a historic parallel for the present situation. In this case, we're interested in what many historic major equity chart tops look like in a technical sense now that if feels like we've entered into a blow-off territory technically. Somewhat to our surprise, we found that many major market tops had remarkably similar traits as the one we have just posted.
We have seen again that the Eurozone is unable to deal rationally with its problems. This has got to be the most incompetent handling of a Euro crisis event so far, but underlines the hopeless situation the 17 countries that share the common currency are in. The idea of a one-off wealth tax, however, is not new. Several research reports have pointed in recent years to the fact that the desperate need for funding in the public sector could - and probably will - eventually lead to confiscation of wealth in a monumental scale. Boston Consulting Group suggested in a recent report that about 29 percent of ALL private wealth, not just deposits, will eventually be likely to be confiscated to cover the debts already incurred. So we had better get used to seeing our money being appropriated by money-hungry politicians. This is just the beginning. The cat is out of the bag, no matter if this particular deal should fall apart.
It is difficult to describe the weekend bailout package to Cyprus in any other way. The confiscation of 6.75 percent of small depositors' money and 9.9 percent of big depositors' funds is without precedence that I can think of in a supposedly civilised and democratic society. But maybe the European Union (EU) is no longer a civilised democracy? This is a breach of fundamental property rights, dictated to a small country by foreign powers and it must make every bank depositor in Europe shiver. If you can do this once, you can do it again. Depositors in other prospective bailout countries must be running scared - is it safe to keep money in an Italian, Spanish or Greek bank any more? This is a major, MAJOR game changer and the fallout will be with us for a long time to come. Market reaction? it must be very good for gold - and for safe-haven countries like Switzerland and Singapore. This is full-blown socialism and I still cannot believe this really happened. Be careful out there...
After the spectacular moves of late 2008, currency market volatility slowly reverted to more normal ranges, with a few exceptions over the course of 2009-2011. However, as Saxo Bank notes, since the start of the year, firebrand rhetoric is forcing currencies lower. The yen has fallen a stunning 17% against the US dollar and over 20% versus the Euro in the three months since Japan’s newly elected prime minister Shinzo Abe took charge. This has reignited the global currency wars. But who are the winners and losers? Follow the three step process outlined in the infographic below and have your say at the #FXdebates. As you can see, currency debasement has given rise to a rally in equity markets (for now), but major economies, both advanced and emerging, have been slow to recover.
As the European parliament attempts to create a budget and Draghi repeats how the temporary lull in European growth is merely a prelude to a growth renaissance in the second half of the year (not to be confused with the verbatim lie rehashed by European dignitaries in 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009), it appears a few leaks of truthiness are seeing daylight in the disunion. In a shockingly frank interview, the CEO of Saxo Bank describes the Euro's recent rally as illusory and that "the whole thing is doomed," as the continent is not supported by a fiscal union. As Bloomberg reports, Lars Seier Christensen says he would be a "seller of the EUR at anything near 1.40," noting that "right now we’re in one of those fake solutions where people think that the problem is contained or being addressed, which it isn’t at all." Confirming that the only thing holding the farce together is political not economic efforts, he sums the situation up perfectly: "people have been dramatically underestimating the problems."
Our biggest concern here on the cusp of 2013 is the current odd combination of extreme complacency about the risks presented by extend-and-pretend macro policy making and rapidly accelerating social tensions that could threaten political and eventually financial market stability. Before everyone labels us ‘doomers’ and pessimists, let us point out that, economically, we already have wartime financial conditions: the debt burden and fiscal deficits of the western world are at levels not seen since the end of World War II. We may not be fighting in the trenches, but we may soon be fighting in the streets. To continue with the current extend-and-pretend policies is to continue to disenfranchise wide swaths of our population - particularly the young - those who will be taking care of us as we are entering our doddering old age. We would not blame them if they felt a bit less than generous. The macro economy has no ammunition left for improving sentiment. We are all reduced to praying for a better day tomorrow, as we realise that the current macro policies are like pushing on a string because there is no true price discovery in the market anymore. We have all been reduced to a bunch of central bank watchers, only ever looking for the next liquidity fix, like some kind of horde of heroin addicts. We have a pro forma capitalism with de facto market totalitarianism. Can we have our free markets back please?
Desperate North Korea has exported more than 2 tons to gold hungry China over the past year to earn US $100 million. Even in tough times during the Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il regimes, North Korea refused to let go of its precious gold reserves. Chosun media reports that “a mysterious agency known as Room 39, which manages Kim Jong-un's money, and the People's Armed Forces are spearheading exports of gold, said an informed source in China. "They are selling not only gold that was produced since December last year, when Kim Jong-un came to power, but also gold from the country's reserves and bought from its people." This is a sign of the desperation of the North Korean regime and also signals China’s intent to vastly increase the People’s Bank of China’s gold reserves.