Another night; another Japanese government bond futures halt. The last 2 days have seen JGB prices plunge at the fastest rate since the post-Lehman debacles in Sept/Oct 2008 smashing back to 13 month highs. 5Y yields are surging even more - trading above 34bps now (up from 9.9bps on March 5th). These are simply astronomical moves in the context of JGB history and strongly suggest Abe & Kuroda are anything but in control of the quadrillion Yen domestic bond market as they jawbone inflation expectations into the psychology of the people. Of course, the Nikkei is surging (now up 9% in the last 5 days alone) amid JPY breaking above 102 (but for now it has rallied back to 101.80). Japnese interest rate implied volatility is surging once again also (after its epic collapse last week - which appears the worst-timed lifting of hedges ever, or more like a lifting of hedges into an unwind of actual long positions).
The words "Shit Heel" come to mind.
The dollar rallied in the second half of last week, but looks set to consolidate first before extending the rally. The yen was not the weakest major currency. That dubious honor goes to the Australian dollar.
The Bernanke Chicago speech became little more than a side show Friday. He did say the Fed was keeping a watchful eye on yield risk-taking given ZIRP. He’s a little late to that observation methinks.
Japan should serve as a lesson to central planners around the world. Japan’s stock market/ real estate bubble burst in the early ‘90s. Since that time Japan has launched NINE QE efforts equal to roughly 25% of its GDP. And GDP growth has worsened despite these efforts from 2% to 1%. Ditto for employment.
David Einhorn's Q1 Investor Letter: "Under The Circumstances, It Is Curious That Gold Isn’t Doing Better."Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/10/2013 14:27 -0400
Sadly, not much in terms of macro observations this quarter or discussions of jelly donuts, but a whole lot on the fund's biggest Q1 underperformer, Apple and the hedge fund's ongoing fight for shareholder friendly capital reallocation as well as proving Modigliani-Miller wrong. And then this cryptic ellipsis: "Under the circumstances, it is curious that gold isn’t doing better." Say no more, David. We get it.
As the global economic slump continues central bankers, such as Mario Draghi, and politicians have vowed “to do whatever it takes” to get economies back on track. Such policies while having near term benefits are considered extremely risky in the longer run by many commentators as they could beckon runaway inflation or stagflation, with ruinous results.
Shinzo Abe unleashed his plan with the blessing of the Bank of Japan to begin aggressive government bond purchases. This has led to a massive growth of 60% on the Nikkei and is deflating the yen and boosting their exports.
While the extreme volatility associated with the 8amET hour in Gold and Silver trading is no surprise, the strength of the USD (helped by JPY weakness along with pretty much every other major) is slamming WTI crude, Gold, and Silver lower this morning. The Dollar Index move in the last two days is the largest in 16 months; Gold's 2-day drop is the biggest (ex-the crash) in 10 months. "If you consider what is happening in the currency markets and then factor in the demand for the physical delivery of gold there should be some additional note of caution in your evaluation of the markets. Smart money always moves first while dumb money lingers and is baited by those that take advantage of it. A sniff of Fear has returned to the marketplace and Greed may be in the process of giving way."
- PBOC Says China Shouldn’t Be ’Blindly Optimistic’ on Inflation (BBG)
- Foreigners Buying Half of London New Homes Prop Up Building (BBG) - first they come for the foreign deposits, then for the real assets...
- Investors Rediscovering Margin Debt (WSJ) - well, yes: it is at record highs
- China issues new rules targeting wealth management fund pools (RTRS)
- Navy $37 Billion Ships Seen Unsuitable Have 2-Year Window (BBG)
- New York may have to drop claims against BofA over Merrill (RTRS)
- FBI Rejects Boston Police Stance in Spat Over Terror Data (BBG)
- In eastern Syria oil smugglers benefit from chaos (RTRS)
The main story overnight is without doubt the dramatic plunge in the Yen, which following the breach and trigger of USDJPY 100 stops has been a straight diagonal line to the upper right (or lower for the Yen across all currency crosses) and at last check was approaching 101.50, in turn sending the USD higher in virtually all jurisdictions. However it is not so much the Yen weakness that was surprising - a nation hell bent on doubling its monetary base in two years will do that - but the accelerating response in neighboring countries all of which are seeing Japan as the biggest economic threat suddenly and all are scrambling to respond. Sure enough, midway through the evening session, Sri Lanka cut its reverse repo and repurchase rate to 9% and 7% respectively, promptly followed by Vietnam cutting its own refinancing rate from 8% to 7%, then moving to Thailand where the finance chief Kittiratt called for a rate cut exceeding 25 bps, and more jawboning from South Korea suggesting even more rate cuts from the export-driven country are set to come as it loses trade competitiveness to Japan. Asian financial crisis 2.0 any minute now?
The yen is weak AND the dollar is strong. Two forces at work. Discuss.
It appears things are getting a little out of control around the world. Between the collapse in JGB implied volatilities in recent days, today's melt-down in JPY (+255 pips from pre-open US levels), the last few days melt-up in the Nikkei (+6.8% in 3 days), and now the quadrillion Yen Japanese government bond market is halted limit down as yields smash higher by 11bps to 70bps in 10Y - the highest yield since mid-February. For context, this is the worst day in JGBs in five years (and 5Y yields are back near 13 month highs). So much for controlling the domestic bond market while ratcheting up inflation expectations - remember what happens as Japan's cost of debt rises! And just to add some more fun, Japan's economy watchers see the current economic climate dropping for the first time in six months (and household expectations also fell for the first time in six months).
Why is the yen falling now and some thoughts about what's next.
On the surface, Abenomics - the radical unlimited stimulus plan put in place by newly elected Japanese PM Shinzo Abe – appears to be working. The Nikkei is up 68% since July, 2012, the yen has weakened by 30% over the same time frame, and Japanese consumer confidence is up sharply to the highest levels in six years. The theory behind Abenomics is that the rising stock market will create capital, and the falling yen will make Japan’s export-based economy more competitive in global markets, while newly profitable companies will hire more workers. In order for Abenomics to work, four things have to happen (below). Don’t hold your breath. Japan is a bug in search of a windshield. Longer-term, Abenomics is a recipe for disaster - have no illusions about that. But short-term … that’s another matter entirely, and therein lies opportunity.
While Paul Singer, Kyle Bass, and Stan Druckenmiller got the headlines, there were in total 14 worthwhile speakers at yesterday's Ira Sohn conference. Though many of the themes were unsurprising, it is nonetheless useful to compare your own views to those of these professional money managers, many of whom are now bludgeoned daily by the 'idiot-maker' rally... of course, that is, until they are proved 100% correct.