Japan Economy Minister: "Yen's Excessive Strength Has Been Largely Corrected; Further Weakness Could Be Harmful"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/19/2013 15:32 -0400
As if sniffing at the threat the ongoing collapse in JGBs, culminated by Toyota pulling a bond issue on soaring yields, which forced even JPM to come out with an ominously titled piece called the "VaR Shock" driven by the epic plunge in the Yen, Japan's economy minister Akira Amari has hit the wires saying "the yen's excessive strength has been largely "corrected," and further weakness could be harmful, Japan's economy minister said Sunday, suggesting the Japanese government may be happy with the currency's current level. Economy minister Akira Amari, responding to a question on how far the yen should weaken, replied that while he couldn't comment himself, "it's being said that the correction of the strong yen is largely completed. If the yen keeps on weakening a lot more, it will have a negative impact on peoples' lives."" Now the question is will those millions in Mrs. Watanabe housewives suddenly stuck in margin calls scramble to take profit, which could send the USDJPY soundly back into double digit territory, or will the momentum machine, facilitated by Getco's relentless scramble to perpetuate momentum ignition and drift, mean Japan has officially lost control of the Yen, and in a world in which only the BOJ's actions matters, will USDJPY 120 be next, together with the even greater "negative impact on people's lives" such a move would have (but not for those buying apartments at the yet to be built 432 Park).
Despite the eagerness of Abenomics and the new BOJ head Kuroda to have their cake and eat it too, in this case manifesting in soaring stock prices, plunging Yen, rising GDP and exports, and most importantly, flat or declining bond yields, so far they have succeeded in carrying out three of the four, as it is physically impossible for any central planner to completely overrule the laws of math, economics and physics indefinitely. Volatility aside the recent surge in yields higher is finally starting to take its tool on domestic bond issuers. As Bloomberg reports, already two names have pulled deals from the jittery bond market due to "soaring" borrowing costs. The first is Toyota Industries which as NHK reported, canceled the sale of JPY20 billion debt. Toyota is among Japanese firms that put off selling debt as long-term yields on government debt have risen, increasing borrowing costs, public broadcaster NHK says without citing anyone. Last week JFE Holdings announced it would delay plans to sell bonds due to market volatility. So two names down... and the 10 Year is not even north of 1%... But perhaps, more importantly, what happens to JGB holdings as the benchmark Japanese government bond continues trading with the volatility of a 1999 pennystock, and as more and more VaR stops are hit, forcing even more holders to dump the paper out of purely technical considerations: a topic we touched upon most recently last week, and which courtesy of JPM, which looks back at exactly the same event just 10 years delayed, now has a name: VaR shocks. For those who wish to skip the punchline here it is: A 100bp interest rate shock in the JGB yield curve, would cause a loss of ¥10tr for Japan's banks.
ConvergEx's Nick Colas undertook a recent trip to Afghanistan. As he notes, the country has a long way to go to reestablish a viable economy and political stability, but he saw enough to be optimistic on both counts. Security around the capital is tight, and Afghan troops look professional and disciplined. There is ample food on display in countless local grocery stands. Girls go to school throughout the city, although women are a less common sight on the streets. Scarcity makes for odd economic outcomes – the only passenger car you’ll see is a Toyota Corolla, imported from different countries. No Afghan will be surprised that you are a tourist in their country – they are still very proud of its history and resilience. Westerners there will assume you are “On business.” Here are seven “Postcards from Kabul” with his last observations from this trip.
Despite the aura of control, Fed officials (and casual observers) may sense things spinning out of control. Of course, hyper-fragility is exactly the effect that all the Fed’s own actions would predictably lead to. When you divorce truth from reality, strange things are bound to happen. There is one thing that we know for sure in this strange period when bankers have tried to manage reality in the absence of truth: that advanced industrial-technological economies designed to run on $20-a-barrel oil can’t run on $100-a-barrel oil, and that is why the US economy was subject to financialization in the first place - to offset declining productive activity by an attempt to get something for nothing. The world is about to find out that you really can’t get something for nothing. It will be a harsh lesson.
- The number of bond funds that own stocks has surged to its highest point in at least 18 years (WSJ)
- Clubby London Trading Scene Fostered Libor Rate-Fixing Scandal (WSJ)
- Cheap money bankrolls Wall Street's bet on housing (Reuters)
- Bank of Japan reveals concerns over easing policy (FT)
- iPads and low-end rivals propel higher tablet shipments (Reuters)
- China Cyberspies Outwit U.S. Stealing Military Secrets (BBG)
- Draghi Fuels Bets on Rate Cut With Risk of Limited Impact (BBG)
- China guides renminbi to fresh high against US dollar (FT)
- Japan is preparing to start up a massive nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant (WSJ)
- Apple’s Ive Seen Risking iOS 7 Delay on Software Overhaul (BBG)
- UBS faces calls for break-up at investor meeting (Reuters)
It is becoming increasingly evident that Japan is attempting to use monetary policy to paper over the cracks of imploding foreign policy decisions. The 'storm in a teacup' that has brought China and Japan into fierce rhetorical battles over the Senkaku (or Diaoyu) Islands is having far more deep-seated impacts on the people of the two nations - and implicitly their buying habits. Unfortunately for the embattled Japanese - they are the ones in need far more than vice versa. As Bloomberg reports, discrimination against Japanese is increasingly common in China, as the head of China's Honda plant notes, he’s "never worked in a more hostile place." The dispute over the islands is raising resentment with bars and restaurants showings signs at the door saying, 'Japanese are barred from entering.' "Wherever I go, like department stores or in taxis, people ask me whether I am Japanese," and the reaction can be frosty. Simply put, no matter how cheap the Japanese make their cars by explicitly devaluing their currency, the largest auto market in the world (that of the Chinese) will not be buying; summed up rather bleakly, "I don’t really care about [car] brands,... but there are cars I won’t buy -- the Japanese ones. The reason is simple: Diaoyu."
- Boston bomb probe looking at pressure cooker, backpacks (Reuters), Boston Bomb Clues Surface (WSJ) Forensic Investigators Discover Clues to Boston Bombing (BBG)
- China local authority debt ‘out of control’ (FT)
- Gold Wipes $560 Billion From Central Banks as Equities Rally (BBG)... or the same impact a 2% rise in rates would have on the Fed's balance sheet
- More Wall Street leakage: Stock Surge Linked to Lobbyist (WSJ)
- China's bird flu death toll rises to 16, government warns of spread (Reuters)
- Chinese official endorses monetary easing (FT)
- As global price slumps, "Abenomics" risks drive Japan gold bugs (Reuters)
- North Korea rejects US call for talks (FT)
- IMF Renews Push Against Austerity (WSJ)
- India Gains as Gold Plunge Boosts Scope for Rate Cuts (BBG)
- Germany set to approve Cyprus aid (FT)
- Easing Is an Issue as G-20 Meets (WSJ)
- Investigators hunt for clues in marathon bombing (Reuters)
- Investigators scour video, photos for Boston Marathon bomb clues (Reuters)
- 'Act of Terror' Kills at Least Three, Injures About 140 as Bombs Wreak Carnage on Marathon Crowd (WSJ)
- Brent Crude Below $100 (WSJ)
- Slower China Growth Signals Days of Miracles Are Waning (WSJ)
- Central Banks at Ease Limit Risk Political Backlash (BBG)
- Merkel plans to quit midterm, says author (FT)
- Monte Paschi Prosecutors Seize $2.3 Billion of Nomura Assets (Businessweek)
- Treasuries back on investors’ buy lists (FT)
- J.C. Penney Said to Seek Ways to Separate Real Estate for Cash (BBG)
- Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown (Reuters)
- Putin Calls for Stimulus Plan After Recession Alarm (BBG)
- TIPS in Longest Selloff Since ’08 as U.S. Bancorp Cuts (BBG)
Typically the public enters the market after a large run up, in time to buy at the top. Not there yet.
Here is an overview of wage developments in Germany and Japan. They have not been widely understood. See why these developments are important.
- Cardinals head to conclave to elect pope for troubled Church (Reuters)
- Hyperinflation 'Unthinkable' Even With Bold Easing: Abe (Nikkei)
- Ryan Plan Revives '12 Election Issues (WSJ)
- Italy 1-yr debt costs highest since Dec after downgrade (Reuters)
- Republicans to unveil $4.6tn of cuts (FT) - Obama set to dismiss Ryan plan to balance budget within decade
- CIA Ramps Up Role in Iraq (WSJ)
- Hollande Hostility Fuels Charm Offensive to Show He’s No Sarkozy (BBG)
- SEC testing customized punishments (Reuters)
- Judge Cans Soda Ban (WSJ)
- Hungary Lawmakers Rebuff EU, U.S. (WSJ)
- Even Berlusconi Can’t Slow Bulls Boosting Euro View (BBG) - luckily the consensus is never wrong
- Funding for Lending ‘put on steroids’ (FT)
- Investigators Narrow Focus in Dreamliner Probe (WSJ)
- With new group, Obama team seeks answer to Karl Rove (Reuters)
- French unemployment rises again to highest since 1999 (Reuters)
- BoJ rejects call for monetary easing (FT)
- North Korea threatens pre-emptive nuclear strike against US (Guardian)
- Firms Race to Raise Cash (WSJ)
- Time Warner Will Split From Magazine Unit in Third Spinoff (BBG) - slideshows, kittens, "all you need to knows" coming to Time
- U.S. economy, world's engine, remains in "neutral": Fed's Fisher (Reuters)
- BOE Keeps QE on Hold as Officials Weigh More Radical Measures (BBG)
- Jobs start to go as US sequestration cuts in (FT)
- BofA Times an Options Trade Well (WSJ)
- Congress Budget Cuts Damage U.S. Economy Without Aiding Outlook (BBG)
- Dell’s Crafted LBO Pitch Gets Messy as Investors Circle (BBG)
- Dell says Icahn opposes go-private deal (Reuters)
- Portugal Rating Outlook Raised to Stable by S&P on Budget Plan (BBG)
- China’s Richer-Than-Romney Lawmakers Reveal Reform Challenge (BBG)
In the last few days we have seen reports suggesting Brazilian household debt and service payments are weighing on growth, that Southeast Asia’s commercial credit is approaching its pre-1997 financial crisis peak of 75% GDP, and that South Korea’s household debt has reached 164% of disposable income compared with 138% in the US at the start of the housing crisis. Chinese debt rose 15% in excess of GDP last year from 191% to 206%. Its corporate cash flow is around 50% of profitability whilst loan growth is way in excess of the banks’ return on equity meaning the growth is dependent on a continual supply of new capital to the banks. Over the last few years whilst the developed economies have struggled to reduce their debt relative to GDP – (the most successful of the major economies has probably been the US which has taken non-financial sector debt down from a high of 253.15% GDP to 248.18% GDP) – the developing economies have taken advantage of cheap funding to inflate their debt levels dramatically, leaving the global debt position worse than in 2007.. Some of the emerging market debt is relatively small and the necessary rebalancing of the economy should be relatively easy to achieve, but even if it is only a cyclical limit as oppose to the structural limits of the developed economies, it is coinciding at the same time and will add to the global problem. As data on world GDP growth would suggest, it is not just Brazil where the numbers show “the exhaustion of a growth model based on consumption”.
Sterling is has eclipsed the yen as the main focus in the foreign exchange market. The surprising news that has kicked it to fresh multi-month low was that the BOE is closer to easing policy than has been suspected. While it was a unanimous decision to leave rates on hold as expected, it was a tighter 6-3 vote on new asset purchases.
The market had expected a 8-1 vote. Of particular interest, it is the fourth time Governor King has been outvoted.
European car registrations had their worst January on record - an 8.7% year-over-year decline - as consumers hit by austerity are likely to continue to limit spending on big-ticket items. The Association of European Automakers notes the 918,280 new cars ('tagging' aside) is the slowest January since 1990 and makes the 16th consecutive month of year-over-year drops, as perhaps past car-scrapping schemes may also have hampered sales by encouraging buyers to bring forward planned purchases. During the Great Recession, European auto sales only fell 12 consecutive months. The weakness is broad based with Ford (a record 26% plunge), Peugeot Citron (down 16%) and Toyota (down 16%) as it seems the hopes and dreams of a troughing in the European economy has absolutely not shown up in the car industry. As Reuters reports, citing a CS analyst, "Hopes of an earnings and cash recovery in the second half are misplaced."