Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Notes From Underground: Shelter From the Storm

August 9, 2017

Not a word was spoke between us,there was little risk involved
Everything up to that point ,had been left unresolved
Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm
Come in, she said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm

When Bob Dylan released this song 42 years ago it was on the album Blood on the Tracks. When the FED embarked on its QE1, QE2 and QE3 it was to respond to the blood coursing through the streets of the U.S. financial system. The U.S. banking system was threatened with insolvency and the FED‘s monetary injections sheltered the banking system from a storm of forced systemic liquidation of assets. QE1 coupled with a questionable TARP program did prevent a systemic liquidation but QE2 and QE3 I always believed were superfluous but in the land of counterfactuals it is an impossible point to prove.

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Notes From Underground: G-20 Photo Ops Become Relevant … For a Moment

July 10, 2017

All of the words and photos emanating from Hamburg are figments of the media’s confirmation bias. In Monday’s Financial Times, Wolfgang Munchau had a splendid op-ed titled, “From Brexit to Fake Trade Deals–the Curse of Confirmation Bias.” Munchau calls out the Euro-Japan trade deal headlines for as he points out it was announced on the eve of the G-20 summit in order to embarrass President Trump. I laughed when I read the stories about the aforementioned trade agreement because while EUROCRATS presumed a signed agreement, the FACT is each EU state will have to approve the agreement. So the acrimony from the Euro/Canada trade agreement still reverberates.

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Notes From Underground: Oh, When Will They Ever Learn?

November 28, 2016

This is a tough POST to write  for I will criticize a newspaper I have read every day for at least 30 years. (In fact, I still have it delivered on my doorstep and read most of it online in the evening before the hard copy arrives.) The London Financial Times had a front page story, “Troubled Italian Banks Face Fresh Risk of Failing If Renzi Loses Vote.” This is a deplorable headline for it harkens back to the days of the mainstream media warning of dire consequences if Brexit passed and the Trump was elected president. THIS IS SCARE MONGERING. It raises the question: When will the Davos crowd EVER LEARN?

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Notes From Underground: Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

September 11, 2016

The Wizard of Oz provides so many appropriate metaphors for dealing with global central bank policy. The failure of the wisdom of those who meet behind the “curtain” enthrall  the members of the elite media who genuflect on the altar of access. Provide the necessary backdrop of equations and the media believes everything. It reinforces the sentiment of the Greenspan era: “If you think you understood what I said, I must have misspoken.” The idea of an “all-knowing Fed” is beginning to lose its luster as markets begin to understand that FED policy is not rocket science. There is no predictable outcome for the global experiment of negative interest rates or zero interest rates. Even the growth of supersized central bank sheets is causing doubts among the blind followers of free money forever.

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Notes From Underground: After the G-20 and Nonfarm Payrolls, There’s Laborious Trading Ahead

September 5, 2016

As we bid farewell to the dog days of summer, here are some issues that will set the agenda for the month ahead:

1. Friday’s employment data made the picture murkier for the FOMC meeting later this month. The nonfarm payrolls were on the weak side, and, as Art Cashin correctly pointed out on CNBC, the bigger issue was a drop in the hours of the work week, which when measured in terms of jobs gained/loss resulted in a loss of 300,000 jobs. The FED jaw flappers keep orally pushing for a rate hike on September 21 but this jobs report clouds the issue.

The talking heads report ad nauseam that several Fed members believe a rate hike possible but as I wrote last week, if the fed funds rate is not raised the critical component of the FOMC release will be the outcome of the vote. If Stanley Fischer doesn’t vote for a RATE HIKE then HE SHOULD RESIGN FROM THE FOMC. It is that simple for if Chair Yellen prevails in achieving another 9-1 vote then it is without question Yellen’s FOMC and all other ivory tower mouthpieces should remain silent. The Federal Reserve Board is under mounting criticism due the inconsistency of its members’ public pronouncements. The FED‘s credibility is being called into question, a potentially disastrous  situation in a FIAT CURRENCY SYSTEM.

2. The G-20 meeting presented great selfies and photo-ops but little else. THIS MEETING REFLECTED THE STRAINS IN THE GLOBAL ORDER WHICH HAVE BEEN “PAPERED OVER” BY THE CENTRAL BANKS. Japan set the tone of the meeting by releasing a paper to the G-20 warning the world and especially Europe about the negative fallout from an acrimonious end to the BREXIT negotiations. Japanese corporations have massive investments in British capital projects and if British exports are to be penalized then Japan threatened to remove production and jobs from the U.K. and other European centers. I THINK THE JAPANESE WANTED TO SEND A MESSAGE TO ALL THE PARTIES IN THE BREXIT DISCUSSION, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, THIS WAS JAPANESE OFFICIALS RETALIATING FOR BEING SINGLED OUT AS A CURRENCY MANIPULATOR AT THE PREVIOUS G-20 MEETING. Japan prevented the Chinese from making them the focal point … yet again.

Before the release of the G-20 Communique, the U.S. and China held a bi-lateral meeting and one of the main issues discussed between Presidents Obama and XI was foreign currency movements. A fact sheet released after the meeting said, “China and U.S. Agree to Refrain From Competitive Currency Devaluations.” It may be a major political victory for the Chinese if the U.S. Treasury was deemed to be a serial currency manipulator in a similar vein of the PBOC. And this would be a serious blow to U.S. prestige. The actual language of the final communique was generic and sanitized: “We affirm our previous exchange rate commitments, including that we will refrain  from competitive devaluations and we will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes.” This is nonsense of the first order for as many critics of the Fed and ECB have argued over the previous six years: QE POLICY is a domestic monetary program with a weakened currency as a desired outcome. The G-20 reference is mere political posturing for the domestic constituency.

3. The Reserve Bank of Australia and the ECB have scheduled meetings this week. Tonight at 11:30 CDT the RBA will announce its interest rate intentions. The consensus is for no change from its current 1.5% overnight cash rate. The Aussie dollar is very weak against the Kiwi dollar, its main trading partner, so I’m in agreement with consensus. The important point is that it’s Governor Stevens’s last meeting and what he says about the Chinese economy should be of interest. THURSDAY will be an important day as Mario Draghi will hold a press conference following the ECB’s meeting. President Draghi has been very quiet of late and has allowed his underlings to speak about policy. Draghi didn’t even attend the Jackson Hole Conference. The European economy is sputtering. Italy is facing a November referendum. And, more importantly, German Chancellor Merkel’s CDU party suffered a miserable election result on Sunday with the anti-Euro AfD party garnering the largest increase in support.

The media paints the AfD success as a response to an anti-immigrant agenda. There may be an element of fact in that but the German middle class is raising its voice against the FINANCIAL REPRESSION  foisted upon German savers as a product of ECB policies. If President Draghi is threatened by German domestic politics look for an increase in the ECB QE program to 90/100 billion euros a month from 80 billion in an effort to build the ECB balance sheet, weakening the euro and simultaneously pushing borrowing costs lower. Draghi is a man in a hurry as the political winds turn against the ECB. The problem for Draghi is that the  massive QE programs promoted by Bernanke and the BOJ have failed to have the desired effects. Bloated balance sheets for the sake of bailing out debt-stressed nations provide political fodder for the anti-euro political tide rising across the EU. Mario Draghi has grabbed unlimited power for the ECB, BUT FOR HOW LONG? Yes, our work has just begun.

Notes From Underground: Clearing Up Some Odds and Ends

August 1, 2016

This week brings Prime Minister Abe’s fiscal plan, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate decision, the Bank of England’s monetary results and U.S. nonfarm payrolls on Friday. So let’s put some perspective to tonight’s main events. The RBA will announce its overnight interest rate and consensus is calling for a 25 basis point CUT to 1.5%. Analysts believe that the weakness in the natural resource sector is aiding the reduction in capital expenditure. Also, Aussie inflation is at the bottom of the RBA‘s target range, which provides rationale for the RBA. I am not so sure of a CUT for this is coming at the end of Governor Stevens’s term at the RBA. Dr. Phillip Lowe will take over September 16 so this is the penultimate meeting for Mr. Stevens.

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Notes From Underground: FOMC,BOJ, GDP … It’s All Alphabet Soup to Me

July 28, 2016

On Wednesday, the FOMC left its interest rate policy in tact as it awaits more data before deciding to change interest rates. The FOMC statement wanted to reflect some underlying hawkishness but the market is reticent to accept the veracity of Fed releases. The DOLLAR initially rallied as the algo deemed the “hawkish” language a positive for the dollar and bearish for the precious metals but upon a very quick review the market reversed and now demands that the Fed reveal its Missouri lineage and “SHOW ME.” The yield curve gave the FED some credence by flattening in response to a change in some of the rhetoric, “near-term risks to the economic outlook have diminished.” This provides the FED the flexibility to respond to self-diagnosed headwinds in an effort to keep rates at present levels for as long as the DOVE can fly. The FED is pinned not by U.S. data but by the actions of the ECB and the BOJ.

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Notes From Underground: Japanese Elections, Italian Banks and May Day in the U.K.

July 11, 2016

Just some summary points as this year the summer doldrums will prove to be anything but:

1. The Japanese elections for the upper-house unfolded true to expectations but the impact of the win for P.M. Abe will take time to play out. There are winners and losers in Abe’s victory. One of the losers could well be the prime minister as the final results do not provide enough margin to pursue constitution revision because the LDP does not have enough votes without the support of its partner Komeito. More importantly, the TPP (TransPacific Partnership) may not pass because of several opposition victories in the rural prefectures. As Tobias Harris maintains, the “bleak outlook for ratification in the U.S. … the {Japanese} government will have to decide whether it is worth expending political capital on an agreement that may not come into force.”

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Notes From Underground: Is This the Market Genuflecting To the Presumed Power Of the G-7?

May 24, 2016

Confusion rained/reigned today as all the main global equity markets rallied as if spooked by some possible sea-change in policy. While some analysts attributed the strong rally a low volume short covering rush to the exits, I BELIEVE IT IS THE RESPONSE TO THE LARRY SUMMERS’S PUSH FOR A MASSIVE GLOBAL BASED FISCAL STIMULUS PACKAGE. This has been Summers’s mantra for the past year and it is gaining a following in the inner sanctum of the global elite. There is no question that the DAVOS CROWD has been battered by the gaining strength of “fringe party” electors around the world. There is a need on the part of the self-selected elite to maintain their hold over government policy. A massive stimulus package spent on investment tax credits and massive infrastructure projects will provide the boost to maintaining positions of authority. Those who are concerned about budget deficits will be told that with interest rates at record lows it would be folly not to invest in our children’s futures.

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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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