Tag Archive: Japan

Japan’s Surprise Positive Is A Huge Minus

Preliminary estimates show that Japanese GDP surprised to the upside by a significant amount. According to Japan’s Cabinet Office, Real GDP expanded by 0.5% (seasonally-adjusted) in the first quarter of 2019 from the last quarter of 2018. That’s an annual rate of +2.1%. Most analysts had been expecting around a 0.2% contraction, which would’ve been the third quarterly minus out of the last five.

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Effective Recession First In Japan?

For a lot of people, a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP. This is called the technical definition in the mainstream and financial media. While this specific pattern can indicate a change in the business cycle, it’s really only one narrow case. Recessions are not just tied to GDP. In the US, the Economists who make the determination (the NBER) will tell you recessions aren’t always so straightforward.

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FX Daily, May 14: Too Weak to Muster Much of a Turnaround Tuesday, Markets See Small Reprieve

President Trump's willingness to meet China's Xi at the G20 meeting at the end of next month and his "feeling" that an agreement will still be found seemed sufficient to break the momentum that had swept through the capital market.

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FX Daily, May 13: Investors Still Looking for New Balance

The end of the tariff truce between the US and China has discombobulated investors. They had been repeatedly that a deal was close and there had even been talk at the US Treasury about where Trump and Xi should meet to sign the agreement. Now China was given around a month to capitulate to US demands or face a 25% tariff on their remaining exports to the US.

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What Tokyo Eurodollar Redistribution Really Means For ‘Green Shoots’

Last April, monetary officials in Japan were publicly contemplating ending asset purchases under QQE. This April, they are more quietly wondering what other financial assets they might have to buy just to keep it all going a little longer. I’d suggest something like the clouds passing over the islands or the ocean water surrounding them. Nobody would notice either way and it would be equally as effective.

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FX Daily, April 26: Greenback Consolidates Ahead of Q1 GDP

Overview:  The equities are finishing softly after the rally stalled in the middle of the week.  The large markets in Asia fell, led by China, and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell for a third session, the longest losing streak in two months.  Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 ended an eight-day advance with a two-day loss coming into today where it is a little softer. 

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FX Daily, April 19: Holiday Note

Many financial centers are closed today. These include Australia, India, most European markets, and the US. In Asia, equity markets that were open moved higher. The Nikkei, which gapped higher on Monday, rose 0.5% today for a 1.5% gain on the week. China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.6%, lifting the weekly increase to 2.6%.

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Slump, Downturn, Recession; All Add Up To Sideways

According to Germany’s Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung, or ZEW, the slump in the country’s economy has now reached its fourteenth month. The institute’s sentiment index has improved in the last two, but only slightly. As of the latest calculation released today, it stands at -3.6.

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Meanwhile, Over In Asia

While Western markets breathed a sigh of relief that US GDP didn’t confirm the global slowdown, not yet, what was taking place over in Asia went in the other direction. There has been a sense, a wish perhaps, that if the global economy truly did hit a rough spot it would be limited to just the last three months of 2018. Hopefully Mario Draghi is on to something.

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Something Different About This One

In Japan, they call it “powerful monetary easing.” In practice, it is anything but. QQE with all its added letters is so authoritative that it is knocked sideways by the smallest of economic and financial breezes. If it truly worked the way it was supposed to, the Bank of Japan or any central bank would only need it for the shortest of timeframes.

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Lost In Translation

Since I don’t speak Japanese, I’m left to wonder if there is an intent to embellish the translation. Whoever is responsible for writing in English what is written by the Bank of Japan in Japanese, they are at times surely seeking out attention. However its monetary policy may be described in the original language, for us it has become so very clownish.

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Bond Curves Right All Along, But It Won’t Matter (Yet)

Men have long dreamed of optimal outcomes. There has to be a better way, a person will say every generation. Freedom is far too messy and unpredictable. Everybody hates the fat tails, unless and until they realize it is outlier outcomes that actually mark progress. The idea was born in the eighties that Economics had become sufficiently advanced that the business cycle was no longer a valid assumption.

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Insight Japan

As I wrote yesterday, “In the West, consumer prices overall are pushed around by oil. In the East, by food.” In neither case is inflation buoyed by “money printing.” Central banks both West and East are doing things, of course, but none of them amount to increasing the effective supply of money. Failure of inflation, more so economy, the predictable cost.

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Living In The Present

It’s that time of year again, time to cast the runes, consult the iChing, shake the Magic Eight Ball and read the tea leaves. What will happen in 2019? Will it be as bad as 2018 when positive returns were hard to come by, as rare as affordable health care or Miami Dolphin playoff games? Will China’s economy succumb to the pressure of US tariffs and make a deal?

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Economics Is Easy When You Don’t Have To Try

The real question is why no one says anything. They can continue to make these grossly untrue, often contradictory statements without fear of having to explain themselves. Don’t even think about repercussions. Even in front of politicians ostensibly being there on behalf of the public, pedigree still matters more than results.

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China Now Japan; China and Japan

Trade war stuff didn’t really hit the tape until several months into 2018. There were some noises about it back in January, but there was also a prominent liquidation in global markets in the same month. If the world’s economy hit a wall in that particular month, which is the more likely candidate for blame? We see it register in so many places. Canada, Europe, Brazil, etc.

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FX Weekly Preview: Dog Days of August Begin

With most of the major central bank meetings and important economic data out of the way, the dog days of August are upon us. In terms of drivers, it means that players will have to look elsewhere for inspiration and it means that market liquidy is likely not at its best.

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Global Asset Allocation Update

The risk budget is unchanged again this month. For the moderate risk investor, the allocation between bonds and risk assets is evenly split. The only change to the portfolio is the one I wrote about last week, an exchange of TIP for SHY.

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FX Weekly Preview: For the Millionth Time: Investors Exaggerate Trade Tensions at Their Own Peril

You would never have guessed it reading many of the op-eds and pundits pronouncing the end to globalization or the West, or liberalism. Global equities have rallied.  Of course,  stock prices are not the end all and be all, but it stands in stark contrast to the cries that the sky is falling.

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Global Asset Allocation Update

The risk budget is unchanged this month. For the moderate risk investor the allocation to bonds and risk assets is evenly split. There are changes this month within the asset classes. How far are we from the end of this cycle? When will the next recession arrive and more importantly when will stocks and other markets start to anticipate a slowdown?

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