Supporters and opponents of Abenomics may debate the metaphorical death of Japanese society as a result of the terminal hyper-Keynesian, hyper-monetarist policies implemented by Abe and Kuroda for the past 2 years until they are blue in the face, but when it comes to the literal death of Japan, there is no debate: as the FT succinctly puts it "deaths outnumbered births in Japan last year by the widest margin on record, underscoring the scale of the challenge facing the government as it tries to ensure a dwindling pool of workers can support growing ranks of pensioners."
The rash of “unexpected” declines in PMI’s this morning in the US, of all places, seems to have abraded at least somewhat the pervasive belief in the American “decoupling.” But... The FOMC sees 5% GDP and a serious workdown in the unemployment rate; credit markets are worried about how continued mistreatment of economic fundamentals may mean another disastrous trip like the one from the housing bust to the Great Recession. Worse than that, the treasury curve, in particular, may be going a step further by envisioning that we may already have replicated that period and are now very deep within it.
Having outperformed in the beheading leagues for 2014, US ally Saudi Arabia has begun 2015 with a new policy sure to please its Western 'partners'. As Entertainment.ie reports, after a number of complaints from passengers about "random males" being seated next to their wives, Saudi Arabia's national airline is looking in to segregating their flights.
"most investors take a relatively short-term view and assume that what has happened most recently will continue. They fail to recognize that economic and market forces are always working to press companies (and whole industries) back toward their respective grooves... companies rarely perform way above the industry average or way below it indefinitely. There is a constant tendency to regress toward the mean..."
US foreign policy just jumped the shark: a few days after both the FBI and the US State department were humiliated when it was revealed that it wasn't North Korea but a disgruntled, laid off Sony employee that was responsible for the "hack", and when the best possible course of action would have been to simply let this latest embarrassing incident fade from memory, moments ago Obama - currently not working out next to a rainbow or flashing his support of "Shaka" - just signed his first executive order of 2015, imposing even more sanctions against North Korea.
Today we update where China stands on its path to a very hard landing. As the charts below show, what has been so far a controlled descent is rapidly sliding out of control.
As bonds rally and EUR slumps near 1.20 (the figure) following moar Draghi jawboning and suggestions of sovereign QE from the ECB, Germany has come out swinging to remind the world that it won't stand idly by as the nation's taxpayers are thrown under the bailout-the-EU-or-else bus. Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary floor leader of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, told Deutschlandfunk radio on Friday: "We shouldn't pump extra money into these states, but rather make sure they continue along the reform path." As Reuters reports, Fuchs further added, "I'd be grateful if (ECB President Mario) Mr Draghi would make statements along these lines."
While Jim Cramer went "all-in on oil stocks" in May 2014 (right before the collapse), it was the fracking sand-providers that were the most-loved stocks on many individual investors buying lists last year... until their worlds caved in. As WSJ reports, for many sand producers, this is their first time on the bucking bronco that is the cyclical energy business—and not all of them are ready for the wild ride. As one CEO exclaimed, "there are a lot of wide-eyed people out there right now in the industry."
Less drilling will not only lead to a loss of jobs for oil workers, but the services that pop up around drilling sites – restaurants, bars, construction, and more – are feeling the slowdown as well. States like Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have seen their economies boom over the last few years as oil production surged. But the sector is now deflating, leaving gashes in employment rolls and state budgets. With such extensive dependence on oil for prosperity in these states, the pain will mount if oil prices stay low.
The energy-rich former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan Thursday devalued its currency against the US dollar by 18%, as AFP notes, in the latest sign of contagion among Russia's neighbors from the plunging ruble (following Krgyzstan's 17% plunge in 2014 and Kazakhstan's 14% tumble). However, as Martin Armstrong warns, this is symptomatic of a deflationary contagion that "will contribute to now force the dollar higher... We are in a major economic collapse on a global scale. Most people do not understand that this is the real threat we face."
Don't listen to or become entrapped by financial advisors offering some great skill, in knowing the guide path for various asset prices, and therefore can guide you in when to buy and sell certain securities. It's their only job to simply sell as much insane fantasy as possible, to anyone willing to buy. And it's those same advisors -frenzied by their battalion of technology resources- who are likely uneducated on the lessons contained in the straightforward story about the Grinch, to provide a better light for anyone in their winter voyage ahead.
We will readily admit that one cannot know with certainty whether the bubble in risk assets will become bigger. However, it seems to us that avoiding a big drawdown may actually be more important than gunning for whatever gains remain. We don’t think it is a good idea to simply “take the blue pill” and rely on the idea that the effects of the money illusion will last a lot longer. It is possible, but it becomes less and less likely the higher asset prices go and the more money supply growth slows down. If no-one can say when, then the “blue pill” strategy has a major weakness. It means that things could just as easily go haywire next week as next year.
While we await today's update of the Glorious Leader's Hawaiian vacation, here is an update from Nevada on the outgoing senate majority leader's health condition: " Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid was injured today in an accident while exercising at his home in Henderson, Nevada. According to a statement from the Nevada Senator's office, Reid was hurt after a piece of equipment he was using broke, which caused him to fall. He broke a "number of ribs and bones in his face."
Well this is not supposed to happen. 2015 appears to have started with the "bad news is bad news" meme engaged as the standard USDJPY-driven opening ramp has collapsed on the back of a triple whammy of terrible data (US PMI, Construction Spending, and ISM). The Santa Rally (theoretically due to finish at the close on Monday) is in danger of not being a no-brainer... Treasury yields are plunging (10Y -6.5bps at 2.10%) Stocks only hope now is a 120.00 bounce in USDJPY.