If Japan’s bond market implodes, then global Central Bank efforts to hold the system together will have proven a failure.
We commented as it happened that last night's jawbone-inspired flash-smash in USDJPY which triggered what was evidently a major liquidation in gold and silver at the margin was a buying opportunity for the precious metals and sure enough, gold has recovered all of its losses and silver is close.
In the absence of major data releases, the focal point of the week for markets becomes the release of the minutes of the May FOMC meeting. The most notable change in the statement was the inclusion of the new language: “the Committee is prepared to increase or reduce the pace of its purchases to maintain appropriate policy accommodation as the outlook for the labor market or inflation changes.” In the May meeting minutes, the market will be looking for any clarification of the motivation behind this change as well as any evidence that the committee members may be becoming less comfortable with the unemployment rate threshold or more specific about tapering timelines and dates.
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A quiet day unfolding with just Chicago Fed permadove on the wires today at 1pm, following some early pre-Japan market fireworks in the USDJPY and the silver complex, where a cascade of USDJPY margin calls, sent silver to its lowest in years as someone got carted out feet first following a forced liquidation. This however did not stop the Friday ramp higher in the USDJPY from sending the Nikkei225, in a delayed response, to a level surpassing the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time in years. Quiet, however, may be just how the traders at 72 Cummings Point Road like it just in case they can hear the paddy wagons approach, following news that things between the government and SAC Capital are turning from bad to worse and that Stevie Cohen, responsible for up to 10-15% of daily NYSE volume, may be testifying before a grand jury soon. The news itself sent S&P futures briefly lower when it hit last night, showing just how influential the CT hedge fund is for overall market liquidity in a world in which the bulk of market "volume" is algos collecting liquidity rebates and churning liquid stocks back and forth to one another.
Following an 80% rise off October 2012 lows, Japan's Nikkei 225 nominal price just exceeded that of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time since May 6th 2010. Though the Dow is around 8% above its 2007 all-time highs, the Nikkei remains 16% below its 2007 highs (and over 60% below its 1989 all-time highs). While the Dow is pushing its P/E towards 15x, the Nikkei just passed 28x - quite a 'valuation' difference. JGB futures - though not halted yet - are plunging notably (with JGB yields up 3-4bps). The last time the Nikkei was here a USD bought 95 JPY, now it buys 103... and 10Y Japanese government bonds yielded 1.29% against today's 86bps (compared to 10Y Treasuries 3.5% then and 1.96% now) ... In those three years the Fed has expanded its balance sheet by just over $1 trillion and the BoJ by about $400 billion equivalent.
Central bankers overshadow the economic data in the week ahead.
Proving that Japan has learned absolutely nothing from its recent past, it is now preparing to risk yet another Fukushima, just to make sure that Goldman's partners have a fresh year of record bonuses, driven by the BOJ's monetary insanity. Yomiuri Shumbun reports, that just two years after a wholesale shutdown of Japan's nuclear power plants demanded by the people, Japan is once again going to reactivate its nuclear power plants, much to the chagrin of the already massively irradiated local population.
Not a moment after someone was slammed with a massive margin call following the hit of 102 USDJPY stops as we noted moments ago, was that same someone(s) forced to dump a whole lot of silver in thin, no volume trading taking out the entire bid stack on what can only be described as "get me the hell out and pay me anything" liquidation, sending the precious metal to just over $20, before yet another round of buying programs kicked in, and sent it right back up, allowing those quick enough to capitalize on some foolish macro trader's blowing up to pocket a huge profit before Japan has even woken up.
"Easy come, easy go, when the market is GETCO"
That should be the motto of every momentum trader who decided on Friday to buy the USDJPY just because it was 2pm, and then, when 3:30 pm came around, and the momentum chasing algos woke up, then pat themselves on the back for a "job well done." Because in early trading, before even the Japan open, the USDJPY, following on comments by Japan's econ minister Amari, as noted here earlier, that the days of easy JPY devaluation are over, collapsed by over 120 pips from a closing print of 103.20, and tumbled in a span of second to just under 102, taking out all 102 stops, before the GETCO plunge protection algo team took over and sent the pair back up, however briefly.
Japan Economy Minister: "Yen's Excessive Strength Has Been Largely Corrected; Further Weakness Could Be Harmful"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/19/2013 15:32 -0400
As if sniffing at the threat the ongoing collapse in JGBs, culminated by Toyota pulling a bond issue on soaring yields, which forced even JPM to come out with an ominously titled piece called the "VaR Shock" driven by the epic plunge in the Yen, Japan's economy minister Akira Amari has hit the wires saying "the yen's excessive strength has been largely "corrected," and further weakness could be harmful, Japan's economy minister said Sunday, suggesting the Japanese government may be happy with the currency's current level. Economy minister Akira Amari, responding to a question on how far the yen should weaken, replied that while he couldn't comment himself, "it's being said that the correction of the strong yen is largely completed. If the yen keeps on weakening a lot more, it will have a negative impact on peoples' lives."" Now the question is will those millions in Mrs. Watanabe housewives suddenly stuck in margin calls scramble to take profit, which could send the USDJPY soundly back into double digit territory, or will the momentum machine, facilitated by Getco's relentless scramble to perpetuate momentum ignition and drift, mean Japan has officially lost control of the Yen, and in a world in which only the BOJ's actions matters, will USDJPY 120 be next, together with the even greater "negative impact on people's lives" such a move would have (but not for those buying apartments at the yet to be built 432 Park).
We are all embarked upon a grand new adventure. It just hasn't been announced yet. It will never be officially announced but we will all get to play this brand new game in any event. Originally many had provided the name, "Currency Wars," to our new game but recent comments and subtle indications have invalidated the title. The new title is, "Global Thermonuclear Devaluation." The outward appearance will be a "Currency Wars" game but that is just a distraction. There are other motives afoot here and deviousness and distraction are always part of great political maneuvers. Devaluation by fiat may also lead to Deflation by fiat and then we may well all find ourselves on the Dark Side.
Not a day passes without the financial media denouncing gold as an investment option and hailing the bureaucrats heading the world's monopolist monetary central planning agencies as superheroes. It began prior to gold's recent breakdown, with widely cited bearish reports on gold published by Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, among others. Never mind that most of their arguments were easily unmasked as spurious. It should be no wonder though: gold's rise was the most conspicuous evidence of faith in central banking being slowly but surely undermined. The banking cartel relies on the fiat money system remaining intact; the legal privilege of fractional reserve banking provides it with what is an essentially fraudulent profit center unparalleled by any other in the world (fraudulent in terms of traditional legal principles, but not in terms of the current law of course). As a subtle reminder, in October (before the Nikkei began its 80% rally), a full 76% of the 'big money' fund managers surveyed declared themselves bearish on Japan. Currently, 69% of the managers surveyed in the most recent Barron's poll are bearish on gold.
We feel that now there is a Bermuda Triangle of economics - a space where everything tends to disappear without radar contact, a black hole in which rationality and science is replaced by hope, superstition and nonsense pundits pretending to understand the real drivers of the economy. The Bermuda Triangle in real life runs from Bermuda to Puerto Rico to Miami. The Economic Bermuda Triangle (EBT) one runs from high stock market valuations to high unemployment to low growth/productivity. There is a myth that the sunken Atlantis could be in the middle of this triangle. It has been renamed Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) to make it suit the black hole's main premise of ensuring there is a fancy name for what is essentially the same economic recipe: print and spend money, then wait and pray for better weather. The EBT is getting harder and harder to justify - if for nothing else because the constant reminders of crisis keep us all defensive and non-committed to investing beyond the next quarter. We all naively think we can exit the "risk-on" trade before anyone else. We are due for a new crisis. We have governments and central banks proactively pursuing bubbles. A long time ago, policymakers entered a one-way street where reversing is, if not illegal, then impossible.
There have been quite a few bold predictions, since the beginning of the year, that the dollar was set to soar and that the great "bond bull market" was dead. The primary thesis behind these views was that the economy was set to strengthen and inflation would begin to seep its way back into the system. Furthermore, the "Great Rotation" of bonds into stocks, on the back of said economic strength, would push interest rates substantially higher. While we have no doubt that at some point down the road that inflation will become an issue, interest rates will rise and the dollar will strengthen - it just won't be anytime soon. A wave of "disinflation" is currently engulfing the globe. The deflationary pressures that weigh on the consumer and the economy are likely going to keep downward pressure on rates for some time to come as the Fed comes to realize that they have been caught in the same "liquidity trap" that has plagued Japan for a generation. The real concern for investors, and individuals, is the actual economy.