Deny it. Engage in all kinds of mental gymnastics to dismiss it if you must, but the fact is the US dollar is rising, and not just because of negative developments abroad, but positive economic developments in the US.
In the great fiscal scheme of things, October 22, 1981 seems like only yesterday. That’s the day the US public debt crossed the $1 trillion mark for the first time. It had taken the nation 74,984 days to get there (205 years). What prompts this reflection is that just a few days ago the national debt breached the $18 trillion mark; and the last trillion was added in hardly 365 days.
As long as corporations continue borrowing money to buy back their own stocks and the yen keeps dropping, the SPX will continue lofting higher.
Having started 2014 - coincidentally - at 16,300 (both Dow Industrials and Nikkei 225), by mid-year the Dow was trading 2200 points above its Japanese counterpart. Since then things have changed as the JPY has careened headlong towards collapse, Japanese stocks have resurged and at 18,060, trades 150 points above the Dow at 17,910... However, in USD terms, Japanese stocks are -4.5%, while The Dow is +9.15% year-to-date.
Last week, Zero Hedge first showed a chart so simple, even a Krugman could get it: at this point (and really ever since USDJPY 110 and higher), any incremental Yen devaluation is destructive for the Japanese economy, leading to an unprecedented surge in defaults. And here is Japan Times confirming what we said, with a report that "Corporate bankruptcies linked to the yen’s slide hit a new record in November, highlighting the strains on small and midsize companies as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe campaigns for re-election on his deflation-busting economic strategy."
Confused why in the lack of any horrible economic news (unless of course someone leaked a worse than expected November payrolls print which would put QE4 right back on the table) futures are higher, especially in the aftermath of yesterday's disappointing ECB conference? Then look no further than the Yen which has now lost pretty much all control and is in freeplunge mode, rising some 25 pips moments ago on no news, but merely as wave after wave of momentum ignition algos now make a joke of the Japanese currency, whose redline of 123 (as defined by SocGen)is now just 240 pips away. At this pace, Japan's economy, which as reported yesterday has just seen a record number of corporate bankruptcies due to the plummeting yen, may well be dead some time next week. Which, with Paul Krugman as its new and improved economic advisor, is precisely as expected. RIP Japan.
WE'RE NUMBER ... two ???
In terms of the cycle of market emotions, gold is as close to ‘depression’ as we have seen (see chart). Yet, so far in 2014, gold is 14.3%, 12.3%, 5.8% and 0.4% higher in japanese yen, euros, sterling and dollars respectively (see chart).
The hypothesis that follows, if carried through, is certain to have a significant effect on gold and the relationship between gold and all government-issued currencies. The successful remonetisation of gold by a major power such as Russia would draw attention to the fault-lines between fiat currencies issued by governments unable or unwilling to do the same and those that can follow in due course. It would be a schism in the world's dollar-based monetary order.
"The stock market just keeps zooming up. A low equity allocation must be hurting you now... For all purposes, this is a hideously expensive market. I don’t care if it’s a bubble or not. It’s too expensive, and I don’t need to own it. That is the problem. This is the first central bank sponsored near-bubble. There is just nowhere to hide... but... to think that central banks will always be there to bail out equity investors is incredibly dangerous."
Is this weakened system able to absorb a spike in one-directional volume? Will it step up and keep order? Or will it back off and allow volatility to roar?
If all it took to push stocks to ever recorder(est) highs, granted on no volume, but recorder(est) highs nonetheless, was for correlation algos to pick a carry FX pair trade du jour which to push the Nikkei, or the Dax, or - most frequently - the S&P higher, then all equity indices would already been in scientific digit territory. And since they aren't, it is only logical that prosperity through currency debasement can only "work" for so long.
But how long? Well, when it comes to the primary carry pair du jour, the Dollar-Yen, the answer may be just a few hundred pips more, before it all comes unglued for Japan's Prime Minister whose first stint in the role ended in a prophetic bout of epic diarrhea, Shinzo Abe.
Can there be a currency war without victims? Why hasn't any official accused Japan of a currency war?