Japan

The Difference Between Theory And Practice

Theory: "Theoretically, there should be no impact from the consumption tax increase on corporate spending or long-term corporate planning," said Junko Nishioka, an economist at RBS Japan Securities in Tokyo.

Practice: "...but a large number of Japanese corporations seemed to see a large impact from the hike on final demand," as Capex collapsed 5.1%.

"Americans 'May' Feel Richer" But Michael Pettis Warns "It's Not Sustainable"

"Washington is absolutely correct, in my opinion, to want to boost American consumption, but the Fed seems to be trying to boost consumption by igniting another asset bubble in the hopes that, like before 2007, Americans will feel “richer” and so will consume more. This isn't sustainable, however, and will leave us, as Paul and Druckenmiller fear, even more heavily indebted and more dangerously exposed to the underlying weakness in demand."

Bob Janjuah's Most Watched Market Catalyst: VIX Under 10

As I have said for at least a year now, until and unless we see a weekly close (ideally consecutive weekly closes) in the VIX index below 10, then I judge risk-on has more to go. We got close in June/early July, but we did not get there. I would expect that, if I am right about the next quarter or two, then VIX should hit this target during this timeframe. At that point, positioning for the big turn and reversal of large chunks of the nominal wealth/asset price gains since early 2009 would take over as my key investment strategy.

Key Events In The Coming Week: iPhone 6 Release And Other Less Relevant Happenings

One of the more amusing comments overnight came from Bank of America, which now predicts that China's export growth will be boosted by iPhone 6 by 1% per month through year-end. Whether or not this is accurate is irrelevant, but we are happy that unlike before, BofA has finally figured out that iPhone sales are positive for Chinese GDP, not US, which was the case with the release of the iPhone 4 and 5, when clueless strategists all came out boosting their US (!) GDP forecasts on the iPhone release. We note this because the long-awaited release of Apple's new iPhone will certainly grab some attention tomorrow. According to a BofA poll last week and of the 124 respondents surveyed, 66% of those have noted that they are going to buy the new iPhone and of those planning to buy 75% of those will be replacing their iPhone 5/5s.

Frontrunning: September 8

  • Scotland split jitters send sterling to 10-month low (Reuters)
  • S&P 500 Beating World Most Since 1969 Doesn’t Spark Flows (BBG)
  • Happy ending guaranteed: Vietnam building deterrent against China in disputed seas with submarines (Reuters)
  • China Posts Record Surplus as Exports-Imports Diverge (Bloomberg)
  • Russia, U.S. to hold talks on 1987 arms accord (Reuters)
  • Halcon’s Wilson Drills More Debt Than Oil in Shale Bet (BBG)
  • Deadly Disappointment Awaits at Ebola Clinics Due to Lack of Space (WSJ)
  • Latinos furious at Obama on immigration delay, vow more pressure (Reuters)
  • Japan GDP Shrinks at Fastest Pace in More Than Five Years (WSJ)

All Overnight Action Is In FX As Market Reacts To Latest News Out Of The UK

After being solidly ignored for weeks, suddenly the Scottish independence referendum is all anyone can talk about, manifesting itself in a plunge in the GBPUSD which ha slide over 100 pips in the past 24 hours, adding to the slide over the past week, and is now just above 1.61, the lowest since November 2013. In fact, the collapse of the unionist momentum has managed to push back overnight news from Ukraine, major Russian sanction escalations, Japan GDP as well as global trade data on the back burner. Speaking of global trade, with both China and Germany reporting a record trade surplus overnight, with the US trade deficit declining recently, and with not a single country in the past several month reporting of an increase in imports, one wonders just which planet in the solar system (or beyond) the world, which once again finds itself in a magical global trade surplus position, is exporting to?

Shinzo Abe's Six Most Worrisome Charts

It is not hard to find an exemplary chart of the collapse of the Japanese economy - as we have been diligently exposing for the past few years despite Abenomics' promises. Even Japanese government advisors are concerned: "My biggest concern is that most of the emphasis has been on solving the short-to-medium term challenges of overcoming deflation and boosting demand. While I think that emphasis has been the right approach, most Japanese economic problems really revolve around long-term issues: an aging and declining population, a need to increase our potential growth rate, and longer-term fiscal consolidation. Whether or not the government can overcome these challenges is still very much an unknown." These six charts suggest not only does Japan have a long way to go, but the trend is very much not their friend...

OMGodzilla! Japanese Macro Data Revisions Even More Disastrous Than Expected

If the US equity market's reaction to the worst jobs data of 2014 is anything to go on; Japanese stocks should be a double overnight given the catastrophe that just printed. While the initial prints for the post-tax-hike period were bad enough (record worst levels in most cases), the revsions are even worse. Drum roll please: 1) Trade balance miss, worst in 4 months; 2) GDP -7.1% miss, revised down, worst since Q1 2009; 3) Business Spending/Capex -5.1% miss, revised down, worst since Q2 2009; and 4) Consumer Spending -5.3% miss, revised down, worst on record. But apart from that, as the Japanese leaders noted last week, "the recovery is heading in the right direction."

Ken Rogoff Warns Of The Exaggerated Death Of Inflation

Today, high inflation seems so remote that many analysts treat it as little more than a theoretical curiosity. They are wrong to do so. No matter how much central banks may wish to present the level of inflation as a mere technocratic decision, it is ultimately a social choice. And some of the very pressures that helped to contain inflation for the past two decades have been retreating. Modern central banking has worked wonders to bring down inflation. Ultimately, however, a central bank's anti-inflation policies can work only within the context of a macroeconomic and political framework that is consistent with price stability. Inflation may be dormant, but it is certainly not dead.

Goldman Flip-Flops Again - Upgrades Stocks, Bunds, & High-Yield Credit

Just 2 months ago, the illustrious muppet catchers at Goldman Sachs stated that both stocks were 30-45% overvalued but lifted its year-end target in what we subjectively described as 'moronic drivel'. Then, 2 short weeks after that 'upgrade', the same thought-provoking sell-side strategist downgraded stocks on the basis that a 'sell-off in bonds could lead to short-term weakness in stocks'. Now, with the S&P 500 closing at new record highs on the worst employment data of the year, Goldman is at it again - upgrading equities to overweight for the next 3 months, rolling index targets forward, and piling investors into high-yield credit. Welcome to muppetville...

What's The Point Of Hiding It Any Longer?

What else is there left to say: "Customer Base: Our customer base includes professional traders, financial institutions, institutional and individual investors, major corporations, manufacturers, producers, governments and central banks."

Japan's "Money Illusion" Will Fail, Goldman Warns

The Bank Of Japan (BOJ) says it is looking for consumer spending to stay on a recovery path, focusing on the relatively small increase in nominal wages rather than the steep slide in real wages. Goldman believes the BOJ’s view is founded on money illusion; and crucially, expect the positive effects to be clearly outweighed by the negative impact of lower real wages, and on a net basis see consumption falling. Simply put, once people wake up to the illusion of money, its impact will also fade.

Frontrunning: September 5

  • Euro left reeling after ECB's liquidity splurge (Reuters)
  • Coalition Emerges to Battle Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Gas Chief Takes on Gazprom in Race With Winter (BBG)
  • Nato leaders fail to agree spending targets (FT)
  • JPMorgan Had Exodus of Tech Talent Before Hacker Breach (BBG)
  • Mercedes-Benz Sales Rise Despite Weak German Demand (WSJ)
  • Secret Network Connects Harvard Money to Payday Loans (BBG)
  • ICE looks to crack financial data market (FT)

Futures Slump Ahead Of Nonfarm Payrolls As ECB QE Euphoria Fades

It has been an odd session: after yesterday's unexpected late day swoon despite the ECB launch of "Private QE", late night trading saw a major reversal in USDJPY trading which soared relentlessly until it rose to fresh 6 year highs, briefly printing at 105.70, a level not seen since October 2008, before giving back all gains in overnight trading. It is unclear if it was this drop, or some capital reallocation from the US into Europe, but for whatever reason while Europe has seen a stable - if fading in recent hours - risk bid, and European bonds once again rising and Irish and Italian yields both dropping to record low yield, US equity futures have slumped and are now trading at the lows of the session ahead of a US nonfarm payroll print which is expected to rise and print for the 7th consecutive time above 200K, at 230K to be precise, up from 209K in July (down from 288K in June). It is unclear if the market is in a good news is bad news mood today, but for now the algos are not taking any chances and have exited risky positions, with the ES at the low end of the range the market has been trading in for the past week centered aroun S&P 2000.