With Japan planning a few trillion Yen stimulus plan of airdropping "gift cards" directly to the poor to spur spending (and the virtuous awesomeness of economic utopia), it appears Switzerland is about to go one step further. As Motherboard reports, Switzerland could soon be the world’s first national case study in basic income. Instead of providing a traditional social net - unemployment payments, food stamps, or housing credits - the government would pay every citizen a fixed stipend. The proposed plan would guarantee a monthly income of CHF 2,500, or about $2,600 as of November 2014; meaning every Swiss family can expect an unconditional yearly income of $62,400 without having to work, with no strings attached. What could go wrong?
The consensus - perhaps until today, judging by the performance of Japanese stocks relative to the Yen - is that Abe calling a snap election is bullish, enabling him to re-confirm his mandate to push ahead with uber-dovish devastation of the Japanese economy. However, what few are willing to consider is... what happens if the world's greatest policy madman does not get elected? As the following chart shows, with only 4.4% of Japanese households believing they are better off in the past year, perhaps an unelected Abe is the black swan no one is considering currently...
While hopes of the J-Curve recovery in the deficit are long forgotten in the annals of Goldman Sachs history, silver-lining-seekers will proclaim the very modest beat in tonight's Japanese trade deficit a moral victory for a nation whose economic data has been nothing but abysmal for months. However, the near $1 trillion Yen deficit is the 44th month in a row as exports to US and Europe rose modestly in Yen terms but dropped to China and US in volume terms. USDJPY continues its march higher (now 118.25) but, unfoirtunately for Abe's approval ratings, Japanese stocks continue to languish an implied 1000 points behind - unable to break back above pre-GDP levels... as faith in Kuroda's omnipotence falters.
Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the same error is being repeated by the Bank of Japan. The starting point of their analysis is the contrarian fact that Japan needs a strong yen. Japanese exports are hardly sensitive to their prices; Japan has a large proportion of "necessary" imports (commodities) whose price rises when the yen weakens. Unfortunately, Natixis warns, the Bank of Japan has just increased the size of its quantitative easing program, which will lead to a steeper depreciation of the yen. The only benefit will be a temporary rise in the Nikkei, an automatic result of the conversion of Japanese companies' results into yen. Nothing more...
Keynesian fiscal policies and central banking regimes have buried the public sectors of most of the world’s major economies in unsustainable debt. Now they propose to double down on more of the same because an entire generation of politicians have been house-trained in permanent fiscal profligacy and endless kicking of the fiscal can down the road. To be sure, in perhaps putting off Japan’s day of fiscal reckoning once again, Prime Minister Abe is proving himself to be a certifiable madman. In short order, however, he will have plenty of company all around the planet.
Russia’s central bank bought about 150 metric tons of the metal this year, announced Governor Elvira Nabiullina yesterday. The pronouncement immediately created buying in the market, prompting gold to rise to a two week high at $1,200 an ounce.
Once again all eyes are on the carry-trade driving Yen, whose avalance into oblivion is picking up speed, and where the formerly unimaginable USDJPY level of 120 as presented here in September, is now looking like this week's business, with the only question how long until Albert Edwards' next target of 145 is hit leading to nuclear currency warfare between Japan, Korea, China and ultimately, the US and Europe. Unfortunately, for Japan, at this point the terminal currency collapse will do nothing to incrementally boost exports or its economy, and the former Japan finmin was on the tape warning again that the Japanese recession will persist as USDJPY over 115 is now hurting Japan, something which should by now have been clear to most.
Despite the apparent economic and profit news improvements recently, JPMorgan CIO Michael Cembalest notes there are a few instances where people are still flipping out. It’s worth reviewing them, he suggests, as they're indicative of risks and opportunities in financial markets heading into 2015, and of the continued presence of central banks affecting asset prices.
If you were forced to admit that everything you believed about markets and monetary policy was in fact completely fallacious, as this week's Japanese GDP collapse proved of Abenomics and devaluing yourself to prosperity, could you do it? Or would you stick to your blinkered views of the world... The following characters continue to have faith in the self-proclaimed ponzi scheme...
"My premise hasn’t really changed since I published my paper explaining why I had become more constructive towards risk assets this time last year. That is to say, the structural deficiency of global demand continues to radicalise the central banking community. I believe they are terrified: the system is so leveraged and vulnerable to potentially systemic price reversals that the monetary authorities find themselves beholden to long only investors and obliged to support asset prices. However, I clearly confused everyone with my choice of language. What I should have said is that investors are perhaps misconstruing rising equity prices as a traditional bull market spurred on by revenue and earnings growth, and becoming fearful of a reversal, when instead the persistent upwards drift in stock markets is more a reflection of the steady erosion of the soundness of the global monetary system and therefore the rise in stock prices is something that is likely to prevail for some time."
While we no longer live in a world in which debt matters - because central banks will just monetize it in their ongoing and no longer covert effort to reflate the final bubble - and thus debt ratings are an irrelevant anachronism from a bygone era, we can't help but recall a certain statement by S&P from September of last year, in which the rating agency reminded everyone just why Japan has to proceed with both its first sales tax hike from 5% to 8%, (which, together with weather, has now been blamed on Japan's shocking quadruple-dip recession), but also the follow up from 8% to 10%, which as we now know, has been delayed indefinitely, and which was supposed to prefund welfare spending for Japan's demographic disaster which with every passing day gets closer and closer.
"Just when did Central Bankers become world media superstars and when do we get to put them back in their box?" Strutting the world stage, flitting from press conference to rubber chicken dinner, dispensing what passes for wisdom and prognosis as if the court astrologers have toppled the mighty Nebuchadnezzar and now rule in his place. Whatever happened to discreetly overseeing the balance of payments and facelessly staunching the worst panics only when absolutely necessary? This is clearly Japan’s last stand and there is no real exit strategy except to explicitly default on its debt. But an economic collapse and a sovereign debt default on the world’s third largest economy will contain massive economic ramifications on a global scale.
After weeks of relentless flashing red headline barrage whose only purpose was to force snap algo buying of the USDJPY pair time after time after time, Japan is once again out of FX algo danging carrots after moments ago Abe confirmed what everyone had known already: he called a snap election to seek a mandate for his decision to delay by 18 months a further sales-tax increase that had been planned for next year; he also said he would dissolve the lower house of parliament on Nov. 21 in preparation for an election in December, without specifying a date. Cited by the WSJ, Abe said "To ensure the success of Abenomics, I’ve concluded that it shouldn’t be carried out next October and instead be postponed by 18 months,” the prime minister told a nationally televised news conference, stressing that the additional tax burden would risk putting the economy back into deflation. “I will seek the people’s judgment over our economic policy."
Since Ben Bernanke reminded the world of the existence of government printing-presses, echoed Milton Friedman's "helicopter drop" solution to fighting deflation, and decried Japan for not being as insane as it could be... it has only been a matter of time before some global central bank decided that the dropping of cash onto the populace was the key to economic recovery. Having blown their wad on QQE (and been left with a triple-dip recession), it appears Japan has reached that limit. As Japan's News47 reports, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed his cabinet to develop economic measures such as handing out 'gift certificates' to the poor to "support personal consumption directly."
Plummeting oil prices are a symptom of terrible mounting instabilities in the world. After years of stagnation, complacency, and official pretense, the linked matrix of systems we depend on for running our techno-industrial society is shaking itself to pieces. American officials either don’t understand what they’re seeing, or don’t want you to know what they see. The tensions between energy, money, and economy have entered a new phase of destructive unwind. The global economy has caught the equivalent of financial Ebola: deflation, which is the recognition that debts can’t be repaid, obligations can’t be met, and contracts won’t be honored. Financial Ebola means that the connective tissues of trade start to dissolve, and pretty soon blood starts dribbling out of national economies.