First, the unemployment report offered no surprises as the market was close to the actual release. The real surprise was in the upward revisions to the February and March numbers. The negative surprise was the average work week shrinking by 0.2% of an hour. The shorter work week may be an aberration but it may mean that employers are cutting workers hours so as to keep under the Affordable Care Act mandates, but I caution it is far too early to say that this is definitely occurring. The BOND markets reacted negatively to the “stronger” jobs data and the 10-year note future fell as yields rose by 10 basis points. Investors bought stocks and seemingly sold bonds in a performance of risk-on/risk-off. Again, one day’s action does not a trend make. The pure risk-on/risk-off paradigm has been dormant for quite a while and let’s hope it stays that way.
Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category
The international distress call is going out from Europe as the overall eurozone unemployment rate reached 12.1%. Germany had a low rate of 5.4% while Spain was more than 27%. So how is the ECB to do deal with the huge discrepancy between the economic performance of its 17 members? If the austerians are being relegated to economic purgatory then the pressure on the ECB to act will be diminished. Cutting rates for the sake of a show of action will be a detraction from the bigger political issue. Why irritate the Bundesbank and Chancellor Merkel by moving the ECB lending rate by a measly 25 basis points?
What ailed the markets yesterday seems to have moved to the back pages and the equity markets recovered most of their losses. Gold and silver staged very tepid rallies considering the massive selling that took place during the past week. The global equity markets are still comfortable with central bank policy and even a terrorist attack on U.S. soil cannot shake of confidence of investors seeing high profits, low inflation and no alternative to the returns on equity. It is an old theme but when a market continues to discount unfavorable data and news the power of momentum is in full bloom.
Over and over, financial news airwaves are filled with noise about since the Bank of Japan–under the supervision of Governor Kuroda–has embarked on a massive dose of Quantitative Easing, there has been no real outflow of YEN around the world. The only problem with this bloviating is that its devoid of fact. The BOJ’s action, or rather, call to action has led to a drop in European bond yields as well as a new pillar of support for U.S. Treasuries. Further proof is last night’s employment data from Australia, which was much weaker than expected (a 36,000 job loss and a 0.2% jump in the unemployment rate to 5.6%), but the AUSSIE DOLLAR rallied after an initial selloff as Japanese investors are seeking higher returns. A favorite place for higher yields for Japanese seekers has been Australia and New Zealand. Many financial institutions offer what are known as Urudashi and Samurai bonds. These are bonds issued in Japan in foreign currency of usually kiwi and Aussie. Those who say that the Japanese don’t invest afar and remain in Japan–what is called HOME BIAS–are badly misinformed.
First and foremost: Notes From Underground has become a global community and the outpouring of support and condolences to my family has been phenomenal. Again, my heartfelt thanks to all who expressed such wonderful thoughts.
Much has transpired since last Sunday as the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen have continued their recent weakness as intervention with the intention of forcing the YEN and FRANC lower have been very successful. Also, as usual, I will poke at this weeks circus in Davos, Switzerland. From my perspective, the entire conclave of insider trading–as the rich and business elites gather to discuss ways to save the world–in the last 20 years are a direct result of the political and economic movers and shakers exchanging ideas in the Swiss Alps. Yes, we go from crisis to crisis.
The Japanese LDP and its partner the New Komeito Party have seemingly captured more than the 320 seats needed to override the upper-house on most legislation. The two-thirds majority garnered by the ABE COALITION will give the LDP enough power to put pressure on the BOJ to attempt an effort to end the deflation that has encumbered the Japanese economy. The campaign issues promoted by the victorious coalition should lead to further weakening of the YEN although we may see a bout of profit taking as the rumor has become fact. Mr. Abe had promoted the ending of BOJ independence but it is doubtful that promise will be realized. The overall response to the end of central bank independence may unleash a response bigger than the LDP will want to confront. The global financial world have become very supportive of central banks being independent of government control and it seems more likely that PM Abe can influence policy in other ways.
On November 19, 2012 I wrote a blog post about France getting a yellow card from Moody’s. In that post was another item about a Reuters story, “Germany Floats Idea of Greek 25-cent -on Euro Debt Buy Back.” Well, the importance of looking back is because that Reuters LEAK from Germany was virtually the agreement that was reached by the European policymakers in a short-term resolution to assuage the IMF and other Greek creditors. It is another example of the necessity of paying attention to official sources and leaks. I will re-post that NFU in its entirety with the link to the Reuters article. Preparation is the key to successful trading and investing.
First and foremost: To all of my readers, friends and their families in the path of the hurricane that has wreaked havoc on so many lives, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you strive to put your lives back together. For you I am “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day.” The markets will do their job of assessing the damage to property and the economic impact that follows such devastation. Hopefully lost lives were kept to a minimum. For those trying to measure the economic impact I warn to be careful with all the flotsam and jetsam that will be filling the airwaves about how the repairs of the storm battered region is certain to be a form of economic stimulus.
Monday night the BOJ will announce its newest and latest effort to stimulate the economy and most importantly try to undertake some genuine measures to weaken the YEN. The Japanese economy is suffering under the weight of an overvalued YEN. The YEN was only a minor problem when the global economy was experiencing strong growth but with the BRICs slowing and EUROPE on the cusp of a major recession, the Japanese policy makers have to confront the YEN head on–time is not on their side. The time for the BOJ and Ministry of Finance is now for the market is wanting to be SHORT YEN so if the Japanese policy makers can seize the day and invoke some type of foreign bond buying scheme the currency markets will do the heavy lifting for the BOJ/MOF.