Japan

Japanese Stocks Tumble 350 Points From Friday Highs, JPY 119 Handle, WTI Crude Hits $51 Handle

USDJPY tumbles to a 119 handle briefly before Japan opened to its normal JPY-selling spike temporarily lifted the pair 'off the lows'. This drop dragged stock futures lower with Nikkei 225 tumbling over 350 points from its Friday trading highs. Oil prices continue to slide (WTI now with a $51 handle) and EURUSD is bouncing back from its precipitous decline earlier in the evening. S&P futures were down almost 10pts but have recovered about half their losses.

David Rosenberg Has A Question For His Clients

David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch and currently of Gluskin Sheff, who famously flip-flopped from being a self-described permabear to uber-bull last summer for the one reason that has yet to manifest itself in any way, shape or form, namely declaring that wage inflation as imminent (it wasn't, but perhaps Mr. Rosenberg was merely forecasting the trajectory of his own wages) and generally an end to deflation, has a rhetorical question for his paying clients, as asked in his letter to investors from January 2. To wit: "THIS IS WHAT PASSES FOR ANALYSIS?" We too follow up with an identical question not only for Mr. Rosenberg's clients, but for our own readers.

The Death Of A Nation: Japanese Births Drop To Lowest Ever, Deaths Hit All Time High

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."

Contrarianism And The Danger Of Taking Hugh Hendry's "Blue Pill"

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.

A Mania Of Manias

If the tech mania was based on magic, and the housing mania was based on a supposed fact that was historically untrue, today’s mania is a mania of manias, interlinked and resting on premises that are patently illogical, contradicted by both the historical record and current experience. Those premises are: central planning works, government debt promotes prosperity, and economic growth stems from central banks buying that debt with money they create from thin air. On these premises rest manias in governments, their debts, and central banking.

Hugh Hendry Embraces The Central-Planning Matrix: "I Am Taking The Blue Pills Now"

Hugh Hendry's Eclectica Fund has had a great Q4 (up 3.3%, 4.0%, and 5.0% in the last 3 months) despite portfolio risk being quadruple his 'old normal'. How did he achieve this? He begins... "There are times when an investor has no choice but to behave as though he believes in things that don't necessarily exist. For us, that means being willing to be long risk assets in the full knowledge of two things: that those assets may have no qualitative support; and second, that this is all going to end painfully. The good news is that mankind clearly has the ability to suspend rational judgment long and often... He who hangs on to truth has lost. The economic truth of today no longer offers me much solace; I am taking the blue pills now."

2014 (In 5 Narratives)

2014 is in the bag and there's something for everyone to celebrate. Here are the narratives that painted the past year - what’s real about them versus what we’re being told they are about.

As Greek Default Risk Soars To 66%, Morgan Stanley Warns ECB May Be Unable To Launch QE

"The Greek political turmoil is likely to complicate matters for the ECB’s preparation of a sovereign QE programme. The prospect of the ECB potentially incurring severe losses is likely to intensify the debate within the Governing Council, where sovereign QE remains controversial. It could also make the start of a buying programme already on January 22 even more ambitious. In addition, the spectre of default could create new limitations on any sovereign QE design."

Japan Is Writing History As A Prime Boom And Bust Case

The fate of countries like Japan is really in the hands of central bankers. However, central planners are not able to manipulate markets infinitely. At a certain point, something has to give. That is when the markets will give up and disbelief will replace trust. In such a bust scenario, people flee down the Golden Pyramid of asset classes to their safe haven, being gold.

Commodity Prices Are Cliff-Diving Due To The Fracturing Monetary Supernova - The Case Of Iron Ore

The worldwide economic and industrial boom since the early 1990s was not indicative of sublime human progress or the break-out of a newly energetic market capitalism on a global basis. Instead, the approximate $50 trillion gain in the reported global GDP over the past two decades was an unhealthy and unsustainable economic deformation financed by a vast outpouring of fiat credit and false prices in the capital markets. In short, when the classical Austrians talked about “malinvestment” the pending disasters in the global steel and iron ore industries (and also mining equipment and other supplier industries) are what they had in mind.