Oh what a tangled web central bankers weave when they practice to deceive… Last night’s panic in Tokyo, where the Nikkei dropped a stomach churning 7 per cent, demonstrates just how difficult it’s going to be for the world’s central banks to exit their loose money policies.
It’s not even as if Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, said he was planning to exit; in fact, initially he said the reverse in testimony to Congress. It was only in the Q & A, and in minutes to the last meeting of the Fed’s Open Markets Committee, that a clear bias emerged to slow the pace of asset purchases “in the next few meetings”, so long as the economic data was strong enough.
What the subsequent violent gyrations in markets indicate is that any hint of applying the brakes risks generating a fresh financial crisis, which in turn would render the economic recovery still born. Both financial markets and the real economy have become addicted to “quantitative easing”, such that they can’t do without it.
Tokyo stocks posted a gain Friday after highly volatile trading following the prior session’s dramatic selloff. The WSJ’s Michael Arnold and Jake Lee discuss whether the Japanese prime minister’s ‘Abenomics’ is working.
In the 1940s, the Fed adopted pegging operations to protect the financial system against rising interest rates and to ensure the smooth financing of the war effort. In effect, the Fed became part of the Treasury’s debt management team; as the budget deficit hit 25% of GDP in WW2, it capped 1Y notes at 87.5bps and 30Y bonds at 2.5%. From the massive bond holdings of its domestic banks to its exploding public debt, Japan today faces a situation very similar to the US in the 1940s. With the market becoming dysfunctional as the BoJ’s massive buying operations drain the pool of available bonds, the BoJ’s overriding presence in the market each day has increasingly made the JGB market seem like a government-made market.
But a much bigger problem is Japan’s exploding public debt. With the debt already the largest of the developed nations, it could snowball out of control if an upturn in interest rates causes interest payments to escalate. So, even if 2% inflation is achieved, the BoJ’s zero-rate policy and massive JGB purchases will have to continue until the debt is made more manageable.
When the long-term rate climbs above 2%, the BoJ will probably adopt outright measures to underpin JGB prices to prevent turmoil in the financial system and a fiscal crisis - and just as Kyle Bass noted yesterday, they are going to need a bigger boat as direct financial repression in Japan is unavoidable.
In our view it is best to go back to Bernanke’s written statement indicating the undesirability of a premature tightening of monetary policy. That is what he and his allies on the committee believe, and it is they who are the majority. They may well consider a reversal of the current policy at future meetings, as Bernanke stated, but that is dependent on their confidence that the economy has indeed turned around and can sustain growth on its own without further monetary help.
In our view, however, the economy is showing distinct signs of softening as we discussed in our most recent comments, and the Fed may have to continue its QE program at current levels for a longer time than many think. The irony is that the pending market downturn may be a result of a weakening economy and declining earnings estimates rather than the cessation of QE.
GLOBAL DEPRESSION “Trigger Mechanism”: Collapse of Japanese Govt Bonds – 10-Year Now at 1%!!! Japanese BOND Market Closed – Nikkei DOWN over 1000 POINTS!!! Start of Reflation Bubble Bust?!?!
This is going to be huge!!!
Japanese government bond (JGB) yields soared to 1 percent on Thursday, their highest level in a year, prompting the Bank of Japan to hold true to its promise of taking action to stabilize an incredibly volatile bond market.
Analysts expected the market volatility to last for a while, but added that buying by domestic pension funds and the central bank should help keep a lid on yields.
Benchmark 10-year JGB yields jumped as high as 1.002 percent as debt markets globally sold off on comments from the Federal Reserve chief overnight that fueled worries about an early unwinding of the central bank’s asset-buying program….
The Bank of Japan must crush all resistance, and will do so … Kudos to Kyle Bass at Hayman Advisers for warning that the Bank of Japan would lose control of its ¥70 trillion bond buying blitz. The spike in the 10-year yield to 1pc on Thursday was certainly shocking to behold. His point is that the BoJ faces a “rational investor paradox”. The authorities are trying to drive up the inflation to 2pc and therefore to devalue Japanese government bonds (JGBs), so why on earth would you want to own them? ? UK Telegraph
Dominant Social Theme: It is impossible to control the market
Free-Market Analysis: In the short term, it is possible to control markets, even big ones. This is surely an investment lesson we need to internalize.
David Stockman does a great job of educating Fox News.
Not a problem he sought to address.
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