In the most anticipated (and likely most strawman/leaked) policy actions, the BoJ and the Japanese government (still independent entities theoretically) have unveiled the new monetary policy to complement the $116bn fiscal stimulus plan to boost growth:
- *BOJ TO ADOPT 2% INFLATION TARGET
- *BOJ WILL INTRODUCE OPEN-ENDED PURCHASING FROM JAN 2014
- *BOJ TO BUY 2T YEN OF JGBS MONTHLY FROM JAN 2014
- *BOJ TO BUY ABOUT 10T YEN OF T-BILLS MONTHLY FROM JAN 2014
With epic amounts of JPY shorts and NKY longs, JPY was notably bid versus the USD (from Friday's close) going in, 30Y JGBs bid relative to 10s, and the NKY and TOPIX were leaking lower. Now is the time to see just how effective this efficient market is at pricing in the stabilization-to-retaliation phase of the current actions. Though of course, there is no intent to cough-'weaken'-cough the JPY:
- *AMARI TO SAY AT DAVOS NO POLITICAL INTENTION TO MANIPULATE YEN
So, as expected, the BoJ joins the Fed and ECB on the unlimited "open-yended"(TM) printfest bandwagon. So far JPY is not totally impressed.
Everyone knows that Japan, whose population is now at the oldest average age it has ever been in its history, sold more adult than baby diapers for the first time in 2012, and is "older" than any nation in the world, has a "demographic problem." What few may know, however, is that it also has a secret plan to fix said "demographic problem" - a solution that would make Hitler, Goebbels and Stalin proud. Earlier today, Taro Aso, 72 years young, and the deputy PM of the man set to unleash Abenomics on Japan (for the second time, only this time it will be different), suggested that the elderly in Japan should just "hurry up and die" because "You cannot sleep well when you think it's all paid by the government."
As Japan and China increase naval and air activity around the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, the United States is steadily increasing its active involvement to reassure Tokyo and send a warning to Beijing. But Beijing may seek an opportunity to challenge U.S. primacy in what China considers its territorial waters. In this succinst summary, Stratfor analyzes the current state of affairs, the potential for escalation, and how the US' presence in the Pacific will play tactically and strategically into the evolving crisis over the Islands.
As we have been warning for over half a year, and as conventional wisdom has finally caught on, the economy most impacted in Europe by the recent surge in the EUR exchange rate (not because of an improvement in the economy but due to wholesale engineering of asset prices by central banks) is the one that has so far been able to keep it all together - Germany, the same country where Angela Merkel last night suffered an embarrassing last minute loss which may be a harbinger of things to come should Germany slide deeper into recession. This, as also noted repeatedly before, is part of the grand paradox in Europe: unlike every other central bank in the world, the ECB's interventions achieve only one thing: to push the EUR higher, in the process stabilizing secondary market indicators (bond prices, the DAX, swap spreads) but destabilizing EUR-denominated exports. And while the adverse impact on core exporting countries from ECB intervention is by know understood by everyone (and this is ignoring the impact of potential inflation as a result of fund flows to the few safe regions in Europe), few appreciate just how big the EUR impact on the periphery is as well. The chart below from the Spanish economy ministry showing the recent stunning divergence of Spanish exports, should explain why a low EUR is good for not only Germany, but certainly the PIIGS, in this case Spain. And vice versa.
Japan's Chain Of Events: Stagnation -> Monetization -> Devaluation -> Stabilization -> Retaliation -> HyperinflationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2013 16:31 -0500
As the world's equity markets prepare to rally on the back of yet more central bank printing as Japan's Shinzo Abe takes the helm with a 2% inflation target and a central bank entirely in his pocket, The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard suggests a rather concerning analog for the last time a Japanese prime-minister attempted to salvage his deflation/depression strewn nation. The 1930s 'brilliant rescue' by Korekiyo Takahashi, who removed Japan from the Gold Standard, ran huge 'Keynesian' budget deficits intentionally, and compelled the Bank of Japan to monetize his debt until the economy was back on its feet managed to devalue the JPY by 60% (40% on a trade-weighted basis). Initially this led to exports rising dramatically and brief optical stability, but the repercussion is the unintended consequence (retaliation) that the world missed then and is missing now. Though the economy appeared to stabilize, the responses of other major exporting nations, implicitly losing in the game of world trade, caused Japan's policies to backfire, slowed growth and left a nation needing to chase its currency still lower - eventually leading to hyperinflation in Japan (and Takahashi's assassination). With no Martians to export to, why should we expect any difference this time? and how much easier (and quicker) are trade flows altered in the current world?
With the BoJ and the Japanese government set to announce the now much-anticipated (and oft-repeated rumor) 2% inflation target in a joint (yet, rest reassured completely independent) statement, we have seen JPY swing from a 0.4% weakening to a 0.6% strengthening (sell the news?) and back to middle of the day's range by the time Europe closed. Cable (GBPUSD) has quite a day, dropping almost 100 pips top to bottom before bouncing back a little. This is 5 month lows for GBP as the triple-dip response of Mark Carney's new deal starts to get discounted. The USD ended practically unchanged despite all this as European sovereigns leaked wider, CHF strengthened modestly (2Y Swiss positive) and US equity futures did a small stop-run helped by the JPY crosses. It seems the zero-sum game in global FX competitive devaluation, as Steve Englander notes, has a long way to go, for if the UK and Japan, among others, are determined to crowd in growth by boosting exports, their currencies will have to fall a lot more than is now priced in.
The recent landslide victory of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on a platform that promised positive change for the long-struggling Japanese economy has thrust a somewhat forgotten Japan back into the headlines. Indeed, as Goldman notes, asset markets have already responded aggressively to the prospective changes with Japanese equity markets climbing to multi-year highs and the Yen declining to multi-year lows against the US dollar and the EUR. But, as Kyle Bass has recently explained, very real questions remain about the ability of the LDP and new Prime Minister (PM) Shinzo Abe to deliver on promises and break the damaging cycle of low growth and deflation that has become well-entrenched in the Japanese economy over the last five-plus years. These doubts are reinforced by concerns about the health of the domestic banking sector and of Japan Inc. in general. "Abe-nomics 'appears' positive, but for how long?" Goldman asks and Hamada's recent concerns over 'going too far' are very real - though in general Goldman's positive 'take' is a useful counter-point to Bass' somewhat more realistic apocalyptic endgame thesis.
Focusing on econometric data to make sense of our economic ills blinds us to deeper dynamics, for example, the Grand Tradeoff of risk and financial security. If risk is avoided, suppressed and unrewarded, the economy will stagnate and the costs of the promised financial security will crush it. If you want a high-innovation, high-growth economy, you must reward risk and accept constant disorder and failure - the very antithesis of guaranteed financial security. The very promise of permanent security dooms the economy to stagnation as complicity, gaming the system, avoidance of risk and passivity are incentivized.
Well, my fellow Slope-a-Dopes, your selfless Idiotic Savant servant, whom is securely chained to his desk, has spent a significant part of the long weekend, perusing nearly every finance blog on the world wide web for you. Therefore, I can reliably report to the SOH, that the overwhelming consensus out there in the financial blogosphere, which has now reached a nearly universal feverish pitch, is boldly & proudly heralding that a most encouraging new economic dawn is finally upon us. It seems, a pristine permanent plateau of prosperity has been patently perfected.
“Gold, the way we look at it, is anywhere from being undervalued to being seriously undervalued,” Kaye said. “We’re in the early stages, in our judgment, of what would likely be the world’s largest short squeeze in any instrument.”
- With array of challenges, Obama kicks off second term at public inauguration (Reuters)
- Uneasy in the Political Climate, Mickelson Talks Like Someone Ready to Step Away (NYT)
- BOJ Should Slow Easing If Yen Weakens Too Much, Hamada Says (BBG)
- Spain Recession Scars Exposed as Jobless Seen at 6 Mln (BBG)
- Davos Doom Loses to Merkel-Draghi as Euro Defies Roubini (BBG)
- Algeria finds dead Canadian militants as siege toll rises (Reuters)
- Beijing tries to clean up its act (FT)
- Investigators probe Boeing 787 battery maker (Reuters)
- Netanyahu Gets Landslide in Markets Masking No Peace Process (BBG)
- Google aims to replace passwords with ID ring (Telegraph)
- Kim Dotcom launches new upload site (FT)
- Dell Said to Hire Evercore to Seek Higher Bids After Buyout (BBG)
- Hostess Bakers Union Hires Investment Bank Gordian in Asset Sale (BBG)
To some, today is Martin Luther King day and as a result the US markets are closed, especially since today is also the day when Obama celebrates his second inauguration with Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor at his side (hopefully not on the taxpayers' dime). To others, January 21 is nothing more than the anniversary of the real beginning of the end, when five years ago a little known SocGen trader named Jerome Kerviel could no longer hide his massive futures positions and was forced to unwind them, sending global indices plunging resulting in the biggest single day drop in the Dax (-7.2%), and punking the Fed into an unannounced 75 bps cut. Luckily, today such cataclysmic unwinds are impossible as the market is priced perfectly efficiently, without central bank intervention, price transparency is ubiquitous and the Volcker rule has made prop trading by banks, funded by Fed reserves (which are nothing more than the monetization of excess budget deficits) and excess deposits, impossible.
Japan Warns It May Fire On Chinese Aircraft Over Disputed Islands; China Retorts: "There Will Be No Second Shot"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/20/2013 19:09 -0500
A week ago we reported that following what China said was a response to counter "Japanese military aircraft disrupting the routine patrols of Chinese administrative aircraft" over the East China Sea, the world's most populous country (and one which has the largest, 2.25 million strong, standing army) scrambled several jets and put its military on high alert. Now, it is the turn of Japan, and its brand new militant and nationalistic government, to "retaliate" and escalate tensions by one more notch, in the process crashing any hope that Chinese imports of Japanese goods may resume, and obviating the ongoing temporary plunge in the yen (which while doing nothing to boost exports to this 20% trading partner, has made imports so expensive, inflation in the past two months has already soared well above the 2% target for various key goods as previously reported). Moments ago, Japan says it may fire warning shots and take other measures to keep foreign aircraft from violating its airspace in the latest verbal blast between Tokyo and Beijing that raises concerns that a dispute over hotly contested islands could spin out of control.
It’s all a money game on Wall Street.