The USA is turning into a sorry state of affairs. But, it only has itself to blame. The successive governments for the past decades have done nothing but increase the debt ceiling in the country.
In the upcoming week markets will continue to focus on these fiscal issues in the US, now that a temporary Government shutdown past Tuesday is assured. Still on the fiscal side but outside the US, look forward to Prime Minister Abe announcing his final decision on the VAT hike as well as unveiling a widely anticipated economic stimulus package. Finally, fiscal policy also played a role in the Italian political instability with four ministers resigning from the coalition Government. The backdrop to these events is a rapid deterioration of the political climate after former PM Berlusconi was convicted of tax evasion by a High Court.
Dispassionate overview of the key factors shaping the investment climate in the week ahead.
Overview of near-term dollar outlook.
Financial volatility since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s announcement in May that the Fed would “taper” its monthly purchases of long-term assets has raised a global cry: “Please, Mr. Bernanke, consider conditions in our (non-US) economies when you determine when to end your quantitative-easing policy.” That is not going to happen. The Fed will decide on monetary policy for the United States based primarily on US conditions. Economic policymakers elsewhere should understand this and get ready. All of this is just hard reality. The best way to prepare is to limit the use of credit in boom times, prevent individuals and companies from borrowing too much, and set high capital requirements for all banks and other financial institutions. The Fed surprised markets last week by deciding to maintain its quantitative-easing policy. But that underscores a larger point for non-US economies: You never know when the Fed will tighten. Get ready.
Last night Japan reported August CPI/inflation news that at least on the surface were astoundingly good: at 0.8%, the core CPI (excluding fresh irradiated food) was more than expected and higher than July's 0.7%. And yet, even the most absurdly clueless economist is silent this morning in their praise of Abenomics, which supposedly has succeeded in its one goal - bringing sexy inflation back. Why? Perhaps the reason is that whereas Keynesian inflation in which prices and wages are broadly if modestly rising as a result of a properly functioning monetary system, is indeed just what the Doctor of modern economics ordered, soaring input costs driven by FX differentials and current account flows, "offset" by plunging wages is precisely the opposite of what Abenomics was supposed to be. Which is exactly what is going on in Japan.
- The new normal name of a broken market: glitches - NYSE, Nasdaq Consider Cooperating to Address Glitches (WSJ)
- Early Thursday Humor: Abe Tells Wall Street Japan’s Economy Is Exceptionally Good (BBG)
- Rising Rates Seen Squeezing Swaps Income at Biggest Banks (BBG)
- JPMorgan Mortgage Talks Said to Discuss $11 Billion Deal (BBG)
- Can't make this up: HFT firm "finds" Fed did not leak data early to benefit HFT firms (FT)
- Hertz Cuts Full-Year Forecast on Weak U.S. Airport Rentals (BBG)
- Greece does not need third bailout, seeks debt 'reprofiling' - deputy PM (Reuters) - right, it needs a fourth and fifth
- Hezbollah gambles all in Syria (Reuters)
- Twitter Adds J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley as Bankers on IPO (WSJ)
- Messi in Court Shows Tax Collectors Set to Pursue Star Athletes (BBG)
- Derivatives Broker 1: Make 6m go lower! They r going up. [Senior yen trader] will buy you a ferrari next yr if you move 3m up and no change 6m (February 29, 2008, via text message to personal mobile phone)
- Yen Desk Head: Lord Baliff, I would suggest a lunch over golden week. Monday or Tuesday if you are around. *** As for kick backs etc we can discuss that at lunch and I will speak to [Senior Yen Trader] about it next time he comes up for a chat.
Many well-meaning commentators look back on the era of strong private-sector unions and robust U.S. trade surpluses with longing. The trade surpluses vanished for two reasons: global competition and to protect the dollar as the world's reserve currency. It is impossible for the U.S. to maintain the reserve currency and run trade surpluses. It's Hobson's Choice: if you run trade surpluses, you cannot supply the global economy with the currency flows it needs for trade, reserves, payment of debt denominated in the reserve currency and credit expansion. If you don't possess the reserve currency, you can't print money and have it accepted as payment. In other words, the U.S. must "export" U.S. dollars by running a trade deficit to supply the world with dollars to hold as reserves and to use to pay debt denominated in dollars. Other nations need U.S. dollars in reserve to back their own credit creation.
Japan’s core CPI (which excludes perishables) surged 0.7% y/y in July, but the upturn is largely due to higher prices for energy that reflect rising import prices due the yen’s weakness. Despite global exuberance at Abe's "progress", BNP notes that there are still no signs of price growth for rent and service prices, factors behind Japan’s protracted deflation. Crucially, BNP believes that Abenomics could lead to four possible medium-term outcomes: (1) Continued deflation (35% probability), (2) Financial repression (40%), (3) High inflation (15%), and(4) Happy end to deflation via revived trend growth (10%). Furthermore, even if this happy ending scenario were to unfold, that does not mean that structural problems, like the swelling public debt and insolvent social welfare, will be headed for resolution.
Earlier we noted the European economic 'recovery' is rolling over rapidly, and now - confirmed by Adidas - it seems the impact of weakening JPY and weakenig USD are starting to weigh on European companies:
- *ADIDAS CUTS 2013 NET INCOME FORECAST TO EU820M-850M RANGE (from EU890-920m)
- *ADIDAS CITES FURTHER WEAKENING OF SEVERAL CURRENCIES VS EURO
With EURJPY at four-year highs and EURUSD back at 2013 highs, it seems the reality of currency wars are coming home to Draghi - when's the next ECB meeting?
Compared with Japan, the United States national debt is a mere $17 trillion or so. But if you convert that number into yen, it comes to about 1.6 quadrillion.
We laugh at children when they talk about bazillions and gazillions but a quadrillion is no laughing matter. Measuring any currency in quadrillions brings to mind the many hyperinflations seen in the 20th and 21st centuries. For example, the powerful and very wealthy Germany in the early 1920s and wealthy Zimbabwe, the breadbasket of Africa in 2008.
Japan's soaring national debt is already more than twice the size of its economy.
While Chinese stocks are underperforming their Japanese neighbors', the decision of which Asian language to learn (in order to potentially better your future) is clear. As Hurun Research notes, half of the richest women in the world (with assets in excess of $1 billion) are from China - including 3 from the Top 5 and 6 of the Top 10. Asia was home to the highest number of billionaires this year with most of them operating in real estate sector. The total wealth of the 1453 billionaires amounted to a staggering US$5.5 trillion, the equivalent of China’s GDP and the so-called 'Ten-Zero-Club' - individuals with over USD10bn - grew by 25 to 108 people. The USA still ranks #1 (exceptionally) for the country with the most billionaires - at 409!
Plowed $2 trillion of their Japanese deposit base into investments overseas then wondered why the economy at home languished
Now that the market has had a day to digest the Summers news, its conclusion is still the same: the man who deregulated and was on Wall Street's payroll for years (when he was not busy micromismanaging Harvard's endowment) and yet was somehow supposed to be Wall Street negative by bearing "hawkish", would have been bad for stocks. And while there was not a correction per se associated with the Summers' appointment or rumor thereof, the fact that he is now out, is even more bullish for stocks, and the correction that never was, can be uncorrected, sending stocks to new record highs, and all EM trades which had unwound modestly on fears of an end of the Fed carry trade, are getting rewound, even as gold has retraced all gains since the Friday fixing because while Yellen is pro-printish, she too is expected to be able to unwind any resurgent inflation in precisely "15 minutes." Here is what else is being said.