Even as the world was still desperately trying to figure out what exactly Bitcoin is, it was inducted into the Wall Street hype factory today by an analyst who touted it as the best thing since sliced bread – just when all heck was re-breaking out.
Entries in Central Banks (65)
The dogfight over Japan’s biggest problem, its gargantuan government deficit, entered its annual ritual of leaks and pressure tactics that usually lead to a pre-Christmas draft budget with an even bigger deficit. But this time, it’s different. Very different.
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert slam the politics of debt. “Economics of Suicide” they call it. I’m in the second half. As always, high-octane, pungent, and funny! Warning: risk of whiplash.
“The JGB market is dead,” announced with finality Tetsuya Miura, chief bond strategist at Mizuho Securities, one of Japan’s 23 primary dealers that have to bid on government securities. It had been “sacrificed” by the Bank of Japan, said another industry heavyweight.
Most powerful person in the world? Putin! Sez Forbes. At least, it wasn’t Merkel, who has been throwing her weight around when she found out that her Handy had been bugged by the NSA, just like our cellphones. We have to take it; she gets to make a big stink and gripe to Obama on the (bugged) phone.
What Will It Take To Blow Up The Entire Japanese Banking System? (Not Much, According To The Bank of Japan)
Buried in the Bank of Japan’s Financial System Report is a gorgeous whitewash doozie: if interest rates rise by 1 percentage point, it would cause ¥8 trillion ($82 billion) in losses across the banking system. Banks would be able to digest it. The system is safe. But then the report tallied up the losses of a 3 percentage point rise.
The euro, its dexterous management, the “whatever-it-takes” guarantees by ECB President Draghi, the trillions being shifted around to prop up banks and governments – all these efforts to keep the Eurozone duct-taped together have hit countries differently. Including France and Germany. They’re shooting at each other now, and hitting the ECB.
China’s economy grew barely above the government-decreed minimum of 7.5%. Deep frustrations simmer beneath the surface and can explode at any time. To maintain social stability, the government douses the land with money. Growth at any cost. But the results are majestic property and construction bubbles – and they can’t be inflated forever.
European regulators are desperate. The only thing known about the holes in bank balance sheets stuffed with decomposing assets is that they’re deep. No one knows how deep. No one is allowed to know – not until Eurocrats decide who will pay for bailing out these banks. How do we know? ECB President Mario Draghi said that.
A quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan brought a dose of reality to the glorious hype surrounding Abenomics, whose stated beneficiaries are the big banks and Japan Inc., including the formerly omnipotent nuclear power industry that Abenomics is trying to restore to its glory. But consumers are struggling with reality, apparently.
Supercar-makers Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Rolls-Royce are reacting to the forces whacking global markets for luxury products: a corruption crackdown in China, Abenomics in Japan, and the Fed’s money-printing in the US. The idea that sales in China, which is printing billionaires by the dozens, are crashing is a hard-to-swallow concept for the industry.
Trade is one of the aspects that Abenomics designated as critical. So the Bank of Japan has embarked on a radical money-printing program to devalue the yen and make exports more competitive. It would also render imports so expensive that buyers would cut back. The resulting trade surplus would save Japan. In theory. In reality, the opposite is happening.
Japanese banks, which should know a thing or two about banking crises, have once again clawed their way to the top of the heap of overseas lenders. And with their knack for impeccable timing, they’ve once again become the largest force in emerging market economies – just as financial turmoil there is coming to a boil.
For Japan’s megabanks, lending has rebounded. But instead of funding industrial projects in Japan, they’re funding acquisitions overseas and highfalutin real-estate speculation in Tokyo. They wrote up stock holdings and extracted fees from frenzied trading. Profits surged. They’re the prime beneficiaries of Abenomics. But smaller banks are not so lucky.
When “QE Infinity” Turns Into A Pipedream: Hot Money Evaporates, Rout Follows – See Emerging Markets
Printing money and forcing interest rates to near zero, that’s how the Fed and other central banks papered over the Financial Crisis, duct-taped the bursting credit bubble back together, inflated new asset bubbles, and propped up TBTF banks. It accomplished a huge feat: a worldwide tsunami of hot money. Which is now receding.
You don't seem to "think Abenomics is working,” a reader wrote, followed by tough questions and a comparison to Kyle Bass, who has been betting on a “full-blown Japan crisis.” It got me thinking. I’m attached to Japan. What started in 1996 has turned into a complex relationship. But now that Abenomics is the religion of salvation, I’m even more worried.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe skillfully used his miraculous economic salvation plan, a religion lovingly dubbed Abenomics, as a platform to catapult his party, the LDP, into power. With the LDP controlling both houses of parliament, real changes, after years of dickering, might now finally be possible.
“We welcome the ruling party’s victory,” announced Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical, and chairman of the Japan Business Federation, the country’s largest business lobby. He is one of the faces of Japan Inc. He’d been handed a gift: the ruling coalition controls both houses of parliament and will push Abenomics deep into the system.
Contributed by John Mauldin, Mauldin Economics: In bond markets around the world, governments are winning, and investors are losing. The Fed is helping the Treasury to borrow cheaply while the government expands its deficit spending and debt accumulation. Using inflation and low bond yields to reduce government debt is called financial repression.
CEOs have, in these crazy days of ours, one primary job, it seems: manipulating up the stock of their company. Few master this delicate art like Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, who took his highflyer into the stratosphere on a wing and a prayer. But why are executives worldwide wallowing behind the scenes in 2009-like gloom about the economy’s future?