Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Notes From Underground: This Is the Week That Will Be

May 22, 2016

In the past I have criticized the CNBC tagline, “Live From The Most Powerful City In the World, New York.” I find it arrogant and devoid of any perspective. What makes a city powerful? In some sense I suppose it’s the ability to make and shape events around the globe. Wall Street may be a powerful money center but so is London and from a political and monetary sense Beijing has catapulted itself a spot among the most influential. Friday morning I did an interview with Gordon Long of the Financial Repression Authority, a must visit site for its archive of discussions on global macro issues. We were discussing the role of China in affecting U.S. monetary policy. Gordon Long has discussed the idea of an agreement reached in February at the G-20 meeting in Shanghai about an ACCORD to keep the U.S. dollar stable to weak in an effort to prevent the Chinese from actively pursuing a weaker YUAN for when the DOLLAR RALLIES THE YUAN IS ALSO PUSHED HIGHER AGAINST A BASKET OF DEVELOPED MARKET CURRENCIES AND CERTAINLY AGAINST OTHER EMERGING MARKET FX.

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Notes From Underground: Making Sense Of the Treasury’s Guide to Currency Manipulation

May 2, 2016

While attempting to enjoy Pittsburgh (and hopefully a Cubs game), the markets buzzing about the U.S. Treasury’s report about the “Trade facilitation and trade Enforcement Act of 2015.” In a Bloomberg News article published late Friday afternoon, “U.S. Places China, Japan, Germany on New FX Monitoring List,” it seems that the Treasury and Jack Lew are raising the threat of retaliation against nations that meet the Congressional crafted criterion of currency manipulation. These include: 1. Significant bilateral trade surplus with U.S.; 2. Material current-account surplus; and 3. Engaged in persistent one-sided FX intervention. The issue of “one-sided intervention” is defined as only weakening a currency by conducting repetitive net purchases of FX amounting to more than 2% of its GDP.”

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Notes From Underground: Another Day When Everything is a Trade, Not A Position … Until?

April 6, 2016

On Monday, the yield curves tried to confuse us and the result was that the 2/10 provided the impetus for flattening across the board. The yield differentials are rangebound, creating a grind trade as the market looks for some clarification for longer term direction. The Wisconsin Primary will probably add more confusion to the Republican Presidential race. The situation in Europe is confused as the refugee issue has now become a negotiating chip for debt relief and Mario Draghi prays every night for an economic slowdown in Germany so as to get some support for some fiscal stimulus. ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet is quoted in a story from MNI Group, saying, “The need for a superior policy mix is no excuse for central banks to be passive when their mandates are under threat. The ECB has demonstrated through its actions  that it does not wait for others to move first.”

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Notes From Underground: The Heaviness of Being a Global Macro Trader

March 7, 2016

There is so much in the political realm that proves the concept of 2+2=5. I will continue the analysis of the impact of politics on markets but remember there is so much political tinder that can ignite the fires of market volatility. A quick sample from over the weekend can be found in Europe where local elections in Frankfurt, the home of the ECB, resulted in large gains for the AfD right-wing party. More dramatically, a small Neo-Nazi party won 17 percent in one district. Support for Merkel’s party, the CDU, and her coalition partner SPD, dwindled. This weekend’s regional elections in three German states will probably result in more losses for the Merkel government. Again, as bad as the refugee problem is in Germany it seems that the monetary policies of the authoritarian ECB and President Draghi are causing greater angst among the German population. Negative interest rates in Germany continue to repress German savers, resulting in a loss of confidence in the established political elite.

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Notes From Underground: Hey CNBC, New York Is Not the Most Powerful City In the World

August 27, 2015

At 8:00 a.m. EST, CNBC‘s announcer says, “From The Most Powerful City In the World, This Is Squawk Box.” What bothers me is the squawking about your importance. What irritates me even more is that Beijing has been the most powerful city when it comes to moving markets. Every other idea spewed this week has been about the impact of the Chinese authorities and the policy impact from the Politburo that “destroyed” trillions of equity market value. It even appears that the Chinese are dominating the discussion in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the Kansas City Fed is hosting their annual symposium. Even New York Fed President Bill Dudley, aka Less Compelling, cites the Chinese as the reason to be less compelled to raise rates at the September meeting.

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Notes From Underground: A Desultory Philippic on the Markets, the Fed and World Finances

August 17, 2015

One of my favorite songs by Simon and Garfunkel is “A Simple Desultory Philippic” in which the duo takes the time to mock and criticize the world of culture and politics that surround them. Desultory means lacking a style or plan, while Philippic connotes a word for a tirade or rant. Will my readers entertain my desire to craft my own simple desultory philippic?

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Notes From Underground: Signs of Madness in the Global Financial System

December 9, 2014

From time zone to time zone, there are signs of a broken financial system. This past weekend’s issue of Barron’s had a splendid article by Jonathan Laing titled, “Why Beijing’s Troubles Could Get a Lot Worse.” Laing interviews  Anne Stevenson-Yang  from J Capital Research. Stevenson-Yang is a long-time China watcher, speaks fluent Mandarin and has lived in China for many years. In the interview, Laing asks her about many of the problems that the media covers, but one of the keys in the Q&A was the following:

Q: How bad can the situation be when the Chinese economy grew by 7.3% in the latest quarter?

A: “People are crazy if they believe any government statistics, which, of course are largely fabricated. In China, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of physics holds sway, whereby the mere observation of economic numbers changes their behavior. For a time we started to look at numbers like electric-power production and freight traffic to get a line on actual economic growth because no one believed the gross-domestic-product figures. It didn’t take long for Beijing to figure this out and start doctoring those numbers, too.”

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Notes From Underground: The Significance of Japan’s Monetary Action

November 11, 2014

A Reuters story today (“Kuroda Sprang Easing Surprise to Head Off Damaging Inflation Forecast”) suggested that the move by the BOJ was a rapid and expedient effort by Governor Kuroda to prevent the markets from believing that the previous Japanese actions to “ignite” inflation had been a failure. The BOJ had been trying to target 2 percent inflation but the recent fall in oil and energy prices was placing downward pressures on inflation, calling into question previous attempts by the Japanese authorities to raise inflation expectations.

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Notes From Underground: Larry Summers In Mister October

October 7, 2014

There is not doubt that Larry Summers is excited by October G-20 and IMF meetings as the top policy makers meet to discuss the state of the world economy and other significant global interests. It’s a time when the media is focused on the world’s leaders and Mr. Summers likes the role of being a major player. There is no question about Summer’s academic qualifications and his wealth of policy making experience. If success in the field of economics was based on eugenics, well, Larry Summers would certainly have a Nobel Prize. My one major criticism of Secretary Summers was his running interference for Robert Rubin and Sandy Weil in their efforts to repeal Glass-Steagall, which even Mr. Weil has admitted was a great mistake. In today’s Financial Times, Larry Summers had an op-ed, “Why Public Investment Really Is A Free Lunch.”

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Notes From Underground: Why All the Noise From Friday’s Unemployment Data?

April 6, 2014

Friday’s jobs data was almost as the pundits had predicted. Why was there so much activity when the nonfarm payrolls and average hourly earnings and length of work week were basically the right on the consensus predictions? Yes, I’m aware that the “whisper number” was 250,000-plus due to the removal of harsh weather conditions. However, if that was the case, the dollar should have weakened and the short-end of the U.S. yield curve OUGHT to have outperformed the long end resulting in a STEEPENING of the 2/10 (none of which occurred). The 2/10 curve actually flattened as the U.S. stock markets began selling off, a drop initiated by the Nasdaq 100’s key momentum stocks. The weekly charts of the S&P and the Nasdaq took different turns as the SPOOs closed higher on the week and the Nasdaq closed lower, an indication of some reallocation from the momentum-oriented stocks to the more solid large-cap, earnings-based equities.

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