Abenomics & How The Nikkei Writes The News

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum of Acting-Man blog,

We recently opined that it takes a decline of between 1,500 to 2,000 points in the Nikkei to raise doubts about 'Abenomics' (i.e., hoary inflationism combined with deficit spending). In order to test that hypothesis we surveyed a few headlines that have appeared in the press between November and January. Apparently even smaller declines in the Nikkei tend to sow doubt. It is really quite amazing how the stock market almost literally 'writes the news'. The same goes of course for the US and Europe – all the talk about 'recovery' is mainly motivated by rising asset prices. In other words, people mistake the temporary effects of massive monetary inflation for a sign of 'growth'. It isn't. Rather, it is a sign that scarce capital is likely being consumed.

Anyway, here is a chart of the Nikkei with accompanying newspaper headlines – it is really quite funny:



The Nikkei writes the news

Abenomics: lauded when the Nikkei rallies, doubted as soon as it begins to correct – click to enlarge.



Of the articles listed in the chart above, the following struck us as especially interesting, as it reflects the  current consensus view quite well: “Abenomics Needs a Booster Shot”. Note that the article fails to mention a very important point: the rate of growth of Japan's money supply remains subdued, as the BoJ's 'QE' modus operandi tends to massively increase bank reserves, but fails to boost the money supply directly. Other than that, the article points out that further measures from the BoJ should be expected, as it will attempt to 'balance out' the effect of the coming sales tax increase. That it is basically sheer lunacy to expect genuine growth to result from a combination of inflationism and mercantilism is of course not discussed.

The Nikkei has meanwhile arrived at a crucial support level – a bounce from here seems likely. Conversely, if this support level fails, it would have to be seen as a big short to medium term negative in our opinion:



Nikkei-2 years-ann

The Nikkei currently resides near converging support lines – click to enlarge.



JGB and Yen

We just came across an article published in 2009 about the 'impending big crash in the  JGB market'. The risks to JGBs are currently no doubt greater than they have been in quite some time, but this example shows why shorting JGBs has become widely known as the 'widow-maker trade'. Time and again the crash of this market has been expected and speculated on – and yet, JGBs remain only a smidgen below their all time high:



JGB, 5 years

10 year JGB: at 144.86, it is only a little over one point below its all time closing high – click to enlarge.



So far, there's still only one JGB crash:




'Crash' – a novel by JG Ballard (or JGB for short).



Clearly, the JGB market doubts that 'Abenomics' will manage to produce a lasting increase in inflation, in spite of the recent uptick in consumer prices on account of yen weakness.

It also seems that the yen continues to move closer to the minimum target range for the upward correction we recently discussed:



yen, daily

The yen continues to look perky. Money supply growth in Japan remains very low compared to that in other developed nations, and the entire decline in the yen seems to have been driven by a change in sentiment alone – click to enlarge.




We are still wondering what Abenomics is supposed to achieve. With a graying population and consequently a shrinking work force, inflationary policies seem especially ill-conceived in Japan. Given that unemployment was already very low when Abe came to power, there seems to be no point in employing the Keynesian trick of lowering the real incomes of workers even from the point of view of those who normally support such policies (which sadly includes most of the economic mainstream). 

If the BoJ were to alter its modus operandi and actually boost the money supply directly, an upset in the the JGB market would become increasingly likely.  Maintaining the market's calm is predicated on the belief that the inflationary policy pursued  by Abe/Kuroda will actually fail. Moreover, Japan's government can simply not afford higher borrowing costs, as 25% of its tax revenue is already going toward merely servicing interest costs on its current outstanding debt. In other words, Japan's government bond market is a glaring example of a Ponzi scheme (actually, all government bond markets are, but Japan's is topping the list among industrialized nations). If the BoJ 'succeeds', this might ultimately be the consequence:




Elbonian inflation: purchasing a potato becomes a complex task.

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Oh regional Indian's picture

The bottom line on this one is that Japan has essentially been a vassal state to the US since the beginning of the last century. It came out in the open post WW2.

The Yen is the dollars bitch. Simple.



suteibu's picture

Mostly correct.  Japan has been America's vassal state since Perry forced the Japanese to sign the peace, trade and friendship treaty in 1854.  It wasn't until the treaty of 1878 that Japan was able to make decisions on the tariffs and duties it charged in it trade with the US. 

Oh regional Indian's picture

Thanks for that elucidation suteibu.


orangedrinkandchips's picture

"faster, faster, the lights are turning RED".....The Eagles (life in the fast lane (of Abenomics)....

JasperNewtonDaniel's picture

Tylers, can we get a an updated chart showing the near-perfect correlation between the various Fed stimulus programs and the markets?  The r2 seemed to have been tightening by the day.  Mr. Madam Fed Chairwo(man) Yellen must be sharting her Depends watchin a mere $10 billion in QE reduction taking a solid 10% off the markets.     

Hero Protagonist's picture

All the governors have been ripped off.  It's only when we get close to Debt Service exceeding Tax Revenue that things will change.  And since Japan is at 25%, it looks like that's not the panic ratio.  What is the magic panic ratio is anyone's guess for the US.

CrashisOptimistic's picture

"With a graying population and consequently a shrinking work force"

This doesn't matter in a world of automation.  If you expand the count of workers to include robots the numbers are just fine.

Gamma735's picture

Except robots don't earn a paycheck to spend on rent, food and anime.

Yen Cross's picture

  Looks to me like the 100day avg. usd/jpy 100.96 area is ging to hold through N.Y. session. There's a 10year JGB auction later, so maybe that will be the calalyst for another leg lower.

tok1's picture

Do you have a target for how strong you think yen will get ?

papa_lazarou's picture

Abenomics = Rob the savers, rob the pensioners, extract as much wealth from the domestic economy as possible, run the yen into the ground, then start a war with China so the U.S. can gain control of all that oil under the Senkaku islands. Meanwhile, no one notices that Fukushima continues to poison the northern hemisphere.

TrustWho's picture

Abenomics is national Seppuka! 


Spungo's picture

What is Abenomics trying to achieve? Prosperity. Germany uses the Euro, which is more valuable than a US dollar, so obviously Germany's economy is an absolute train wreck. Countries with weak currencies like Venezuela and Argentina are much more prosperous, so Abenomics is trying to copy the currency collapse in those countries.

noob's picture

El dinero estúpido.   (oops, wrong language)