Overview of the week's economic and poltiical calendar in the context of the investment climate.
Taking a “short position” in either Japanese interest rates or their currency is a fundamentally sound idea; however it may take three to seven years for the “Macro-profits” to be fully realized. Over that time, a short position will demand a cost, either in the terms of the negative carry of a spot position or the time decay of a short-dated option. Additionally, since it is unlikely you will enter the trade at the extreme, there could be some mark-to-market vibrations that may breach your risk limits. To the rescue is the strange circumstance of a widening USD vs. JPY Rate differential in conjunction with a flattening Volatility Term Surface. Below is a table of mid-market values for Par Strike USD call // JPY put options with expiries from one-year to ten-years. The critical observation is that a five-year option costs more than a ten-year option; thus the weird dynamic of owning an option with (effectively) positive “theta”: You are paid to own an option !
After studying and teaching Keynesian economics for 30 years, it is clear that the “sophisticated” Keynesians really do believe in magic and fairy dust. Lots of fairy dust. Austrians such as Mises and Rothbard have well understood what Keynesians do not: the structures of production within an economy are heterogeneous and can be distorted by government intervention through inflation and massive borrowing. Far from being creatures that can “save” an economy, the Debt Fairy and the Inflation Fairy are the architects of economic disaster. Despite Keynesian protestations that the U.S. and European governments are engaged in “austerity,” the twin fairies are active on both continents. The fairy dust they are sprinkling on the economy, however, is more akin to sprinkling ricin on humans. In the end, the good fairies turn into witches.
"We are on the eve of a deflationary shock which will likely reduce equity valuations from very high to very low levels.... Each investor must decide for themselves just how close to midnight they want to leave this particular party. The advice of Solid Ground is leave now as it is increasingly likely that one event will be the catalyst to very rapidly change inflationary into deflationary expectations... So perhaps it is global deflationary forces creating a bankruptcy event, somewhere in the world, that is the catalyst for a sudden change in inflationary expectations in the developed world. It can all happen very quickly; and it is dangerous to stay at an equity party driven by disinflation when it can spill so rapidly into deflation... When there is plenty of leverage in the system and any key price starts to decline then a credit event and a sudden change in inflationary expectations are much more possible than the consensus believes. So watch the TIPS, BAA bond spreads and copper if you must, but this analyst prefers to observe the party from outside.... Each investor must decide for themselves just how close to midnight they want to leave this particular party."
- Russell Napier, CLSA
Printing yourself out of trouble and to wealth works. For the elite. Even in Japan. But how are workers and consumers faring? And by implication the real economy?
The early effects of the reform program have triggered a surge in the Japanese stock market, accelerated by the anticipation of growth revival. So far, so good for the markets and traders. But how will Abenomics accommodate public debt of over 200% GDP, and will Abe’s radical policies inspire a long-term economic recovery in Japan? Saxo Capital Markets’ new infographic explores the efficacy of Japan's prime minister's dangerous experiment to stimulate economic growth.
After being essentially nationalized as a result of the Fukushima explosion, and following years of denial finally admitting that TEPCO has lost control of the clean up effort of the Fukushima nuclear power plant corpse, one would think Tokyo Electric Power Company may have second thoughts about installing capacity in Fukushima. One would be wrong. "Tokyo Electric Power Company will build 2 advanced coal-fired power plants in Fukushima. The utility says it wants to contribute to the prefecture's recovery from the nuclear disaster. "
It is no secret that the bulk of "very rich people" in recent years has been created in Asia (where some $15 trillion in liquidity has entered broad circulation in just the past five years). As the FT reports, "Asia is producing more new wealth than any other part of the world at any point in history. Over the past five years, the assets of rich individuals have grown at triple the rate of the wealthy elsewhere, while the number of rich people has increased by twice that of other regions. Their number grew by almost 10 per cent to reach 3.7m last year, according to the survey, while their wealth expanded by 12 per cent to $12tn." However, to find the truly ultra-high-net-worthy (UHNW), those with over $30 million in net assets, one has to go to the US and Europe - the places where Ben's print baby print policy has most aggressively inflated the latest asset bubble, making the richest richester. "More people from the US and Europe entered this club in the past year than from anywhere else – the population in China and Brazil actually declined slightly." So how many ultra-high-net-worth individuals are there? The answer: 199,235.
There was more irregular price action in trading yesterday between 1800 and 1830 GMT. Gold had trended slightly higher in the afternoon and was trading at $1,244/oz prior to a sharp but very brief spike to $1,254/oz and then sharp concentrated selling saw gold fall by more than $20 to $1,231/oz before bouncing higher and recovering to the $1,245/oz level again.
The trading was unusual as foreign exhange markets saw no price movements of note, nor did the silver, platinum and palladium markets.
Japan Dispatches F-15s, E-767s And P-3 Into China's Air Defense Zone, China Scrambles Su-30 In ResponseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/29/2013 09:15 -0500
- China's Ministry of Defense reports that the nation identified Japanese military planes that entered into Chinese air defense identification zone today.
- 7 batches of 10 Japanese planes consisting of E-767, P-3 and F-15 entered into the zone
- China has also identified 2 batches of 2 U.S. surveillance planes consisting of P-3 and EP-3, without specifying whether the planes entered into the zone
- China scrambled Su-30, J-11 and other aircraft in response.
And now it's China's turn to, once again, respond. And then Japan and the US again, and so on, until someone gets hurt.
- So much for the euphoria: Stores open early on Thanksgiving but shoppers in no rush (Reuters)
- Get to work Mr. Chairwoman: Do-Nothing Congress Dithers on Budget as Deadline Nears (BBG)
- FX to Libor Probes Leave U.K. Traders Looking for Lawyers (BBG)
- Protesters Briefly Storm Thai Army Headquarters (WSJ)
- Berlusconi accused of bribing witnesses in prostitution trial (Reuters)
- Japan Price Gauge Rises Most Since ’98 in Boost to Abe (BBG)
- S&P downgrades Netherlands’ AAA credit rating (FT)
- GrainCorp Verdict Clouds Australia Open-For-Business Pledge (BBG)
- Hertz Fix in Dollar Thrifty Deal Fails as Insider Warned (BBG)
- Narrow Budget Agreement Comes Into View (WSJ)
A hungover America slowly wakes up from a day of society-mandated consumption and purchasing excess to engage in even more Fed-mandated excess in the equity markets. The only difference is that while the "90%" was engaged in the former and depleting their equity, and savings, accounts in the process, far less than 10% will be doing the latter. Overnight attention was drawn to the rapidly escalating territorial dispute between China and Japan, now in the air, Bitcoin's brief surge above the price of an ounce of gold, and the ejection of the Holland from the AAA Eurozone club (where only Germany and Finland remain), following an S&P downgrade of the Netherlands from AAA to AA+, which however had been largely priced in long ago (and was coupled with an upgrade of Spain from negative to stable outlook, as well as an upgrade of Spain from CCC+ to B-). Europe surprised pleasantly on both the inflation (better than expected) and unemployment rate (dropped from an all time high of 12.2% to 12.1%), even if youth unemployment rose to fresh record highs.
Following the to-ing and fro-ing of the last 2 days with US and Japan "testing" China's new Air Defense Zone (ADIZ), China has not only escalated (as we noted earlier) but as the day begins in Asia is stepping up the rhetoric significantly. Official media said that Japan is the "prime target" and it is an "urgent task for China to further train its air force to make full preparation for potential conflicts." Japanese lawmakers, meanwhile, are pushing for a bill "demanding an immediate withdrawal of China's ADIZ." While the Western world goes on its merry way buying S&P futures, China's concluding message rings its most defint so far, "We are willing to engage in a protracted confrontation with Japan. Our ultimate goal is to beat its willpower and ambition to instigate strategic confrontation against China."
There is no free lunch. Either we kill growth via financial repression of savers or we embrace the painful process of debt restructuring for the major industrial nations.
While moderate recovery in growth and inflation is BofAML's rates team's base case, there are numerous risks to that forecast. The risk of tapering is already quite well known and they suspect it may not result in the significant market-moving event many expect when it actually happens; however, the following downside and upside risks threaten BofAML's central scenarios for 2014 as well.