We Give Up! Government Spending And Deficits Soar Pretty Much Everywhere

A recurring pattern of the past few decades involves governments promising to limit their borrowing, only to discover that hardly anyone cares. So target dates slip, bonds are issued, and the debts keep rising.
This time around the timing is especially notable, since eight years of global growth ought to be producing tax revenues sufficient to at least moderate the tide of red ink. But apparently not.
In Japan, for instance, government debt is now 250% of GDP, a figure which economists from, say, the 1990s, would have thought impossible.
Over the past decade the country’s leaders have proposed a series of plans for balancing the budget, and actually did manage to shrink debt/GDP slightly in 2016. But now they seem to have given up, and are looking for excuses to keep spending:
Japan plans extra budget of $24-26 billion for fiscal 2017
(Hellenic Shipping News) – Japan’s government is set to compile an extra budget worth around 2.7-2.9 trillion yen ($24-26 billion) for the fiscal year to March 2018, with additional bond issuance of around 1 trillion yen to help fund the spending, government sources told Reuters.
Following October’s big election win, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet has made plans to beef up childcare support, boost productivity at small and medium-sized companies, and strengthen competitiveness of the farm, fishery and forestry industries.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on NOVEMBER 30, 2017.

Japan: It isn’t What the Media Tell You

Known for Being Terrible For the past few decades, Japan has been known for its stagnant economy, falling stock market, and most importantly its terrible demographics.
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For almost three decades, Japan’s GDP growth has mostly been less than 2%, has been negative for several of these years, and has often hovered close to zero. The net result is that its GDP is almost at the same level as 25 years ago.

This post was published at Acting-Man on November 29, 2017.

Japan, Inc. Rocked Again: Toray Admits To Falsifying Data After Internet Post Exposes Fraud

Corporate Japan’s credibility, already teetering after a barrage of corporate fraud and falsification scandals in recent months, hit another low after Toray Industries, one of Japan’s biggest materials manufacturers, joined a list of companies admitting to falsifying data. On Tuesdaty, Toray announced it had uncovered 149 cases of data fabrication at its subsidiary, Toray Hybrid Cord, in three products sold to tire companies and autoparts makers: tire cords, cords for car hose belts and cords for paper making. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the subsidiary made the products look as though they met customer requirements. The company admitted that 13 domestic and overseas companies, including at least one South Korean company, are affected.
In a statement issued roughly around the time president Akihiro Nikkaku was bowing to news reporters as Japanese management tends to do when caught engaging in criminal activity, Toray maintained that the “amount by which the data was adjusted to fit customer contract standards was insignificant.” The company believed there were no safety issues involved. Toray Hybrid Cord discovered the problem during a July 2016 internal compliance check, with Toray president Akihiro Nikkaku being informed of the matter the following October.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 28, 2017.

Meet Laikago: China’s $25,000 Robo-Labrador

The Japanese have their non-nagging synthetic wives, the Saudis have their Shariah-compliant humanoid citizens, Americans are content with a backflipping supra-human, and now the Chinese get their very own 50lb, poop-less, robo-dog…
Meet Laikago – named after Laika, a Soviet dog who was the first living creature to orbit the Earth.

The Chinese-made robot dog weighs 22kg, a bit less than a common Labrador, and is around 60cm tall.
‘It is a kind of medium automatic robot, a robot-dog in short,’ creator Wang Xingxing told RT’s Ruptly video news agency.
‘We have popularized Laikago among science and technology companies, and science fans. So Laikago is a scientific toy.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 25, 2017.

Market Talk – November 24th, 2017

Having had an extremely quiet day Thursday with Thanksgiving holidays in the states, many kept an eager eye on China following yesterdays 3% share decline. We did see the repeated weakness for most if the day, but managed an impressive rally just ahead of the close to finish small higher (+0.1%). The talk surrounding tighter lending rules already hit bond prices lower but failed to affect the equity in todays trading. Given that it is Western governments that are over leveraging, the guess is any weakness here in Asia will probably be short-lived. In Japan the Nikkei spent most of the morning in the red but rallied in the final hour to also close a touch firmer (+0.1%). Although this sounds impressive price action, when considering the Yen’s move it should have been considerably more. The Yen was playing low 111’s which implies people are back in-search of a safe-haven. Admittedly, the DXY did not trade too well Friday which actually lines up very well for this weekends ECM Point. The SENSEX managed a small positive (
+0.3% Friday but even that is looking toppy and declines seem to be forecast of Tuesday 28th.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 24, 2017.

Whose Private-Sector Debt Will Implode Next: US, Canada, China, Eurozone, Japan?

Canadians, fasten your seat-belt. Here are the charts. The Financial Crisis in the US was a consequence of too much debt and too much risk, among numerous other factors, and the whole house of cards came down. Now, after eight years of experimental monetary policies and huge amounts of deficit spending by governments around the globe, public debt has ballooned. Gross national debt in the US just hit $20.5 trillion, or 105% of GDP. But that can’t hold a candle to Japan’s national debt, now at 250% of GDP.
And private-sector debt, which includes household and business debts – how has it fared in the era of easy money?
In the US, total debt to the private non-financial sector has ballooned to $28.5 trillion. That’s up 14% from the $25 trillion at the crazy peak of the Financial Crisis and up 63% from 2004.
In relationship to the economy, private sector debt soared from 147% of GDP in 2004 to 170% of GDP in the first quarter of 2008. Then it all fell apart. Some of this debt blew up and was written off. For a little while consumers and businesses deleveraged just a tiny little bit, before starting to borrow once again.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Nov 22, 2017.

“Very Close To Irrational Exuberance”: Asian Equities Break Above All-Time High As Hang Seng Clears 30,000

Following the new all-time high in US equities, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index broke through its November 2007 peak to make an all-time high in Wednesday’s trading session. This was something we noted could happen yesterday in ‘SocGen: Asian Equities Are So Awesome, A China Minsky Moment Is ‘Manageable’. The dollar weakened slightly after outgoing Fed Chairman, Janet Yellen, cautioned against interest rates rising too quickly in one of her last Q&As at NYU on Tuesday evening. The MSCI Emerging Market Index hit its highest level in six years and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5% despite the lack of a net liquidity injection from the PBoC.
As Bloomberg notes, Asian stocks headed for a record close for the second time this month as the regional benchmark gauge surpassed its 2007 peak, led by energy and industrial stocks after U. S. equities continued their bounce from a two-week slide.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent to 172.70 as of 1:01 p.m. in Hong Kong. The gauge passed its 2007 closing high on an intraday basis on Nov. 9 but didn’t hold the level. Japan’s Topix index climbed for a second day Wednesday, rising 0.4 percent, after its worst week in seven months. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index breached the 30,000 level for the first time in a decade, boosted by China banks and energy stocks.
‘Anyone who missed the rally probably wonders if it is too late to join the party,’ Andrew Swan, head of Asian and global emerging markets equities at BlackRock Inc., said in a statement Wednesday. ‘We don’t believe it is.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 22, 2017.

Mueller Subpoena Spooks Dollar, Sends European Stocks, US Futures Lower

Yesterday’s torrid, broad-based rally looked set to continue overnight until early in the Japanese session, when the USD tumbled and dragged down with it the USDJPY, Nikkei, and US futures following a WSJ report that Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena to more than a dozen top Trump administration officials in mid October.
And as traders sit at their desks on Friday, U. S. index futures point to a lower open as European stocks fall, struggling to follow Asian equities higher as the euro strengthened at the end of a tumultuous week. Chinese stocks dropped while Indian shares and the rupee gain on Moody’s upgrade. The MSCI world equity index was up 0.1% on the day, but was heading for a 0.1% fall on the week. The dollar declined against most major peers, while Treasury yields dropped and oil rose.
Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index fluctuated before turning lower as much as 0.3% in brisk volumes, dropping towards the 200-DMA, although about 1% above Wednesday’s intraday low; weakness was observed in retail, mining, utilities sectors. In the past two weeks, the basic resources sector index is down 6%, oil & gas down 5.8%, autos down 4.9%, retail down 3.4%; while real estate is the only sector in green, up 0.1%. The Stoxx 600 is on track to record a weekly loss of 1.3%, adding to last week’s sell-off amid sharp rebound in euro, global equity pullback. The Euro climbed for the first time in three days after ECB President Mario Draghi said he was optimistic for wage growth in the region, although stressed the need for patience, speaking in Frankfurt. European bonds were mixed. The pound pared some of its earlier gains after comments from Brexit Secretary David Davis signaling a continued stand-off in negotiations with the European Union.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 took its time to catch up to the WSJ report that US Special Counsel Mueller has issued a Subpoena for Russia-related documents from Trump campaign officials, although reports pointing to North Korea conducting ‘aggressive’ work on the construction of a ballistic missile submarine helped the selloff. The Japanese blue-chip index rose as much as 1.8% in early dealing, but the broad-based dollar retreat led to the index unwinding the bulk of its gains; the index finished the session up 0.2% as the yen jumped to the strongest in four-weeks. Australia’s ASX 200 added 0.2% with IT, healthcare and telecoms leading the way, as utilities lagged. Mainland Chinese stocks fell, with the Shanghai Comp down circa 0.5% as the PBoC’s reversel in liquidity injections (overnight net drain of 10bn yuan) did little to boost risk appetite, as Kweichou Moutai (viewed as a bellwether among Chinese blue chips) fell sharply. This left the index facing its biggest weekly loss in 3 months, while the Hang Seng rallied with IT leading the way higher. Indian stocks and the currency advanced after Moody’s Investors Service raised the nation’s credit rating.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.

Dollar Slammed, USDJPY Roiled On Trump Campaign Subpoena Report

it has been a rocky session for the dollar which has dumped to a 4-week low, dragging with it USDJPY, the Nikkei and Treasury yields – and to a lesser extend US equity futures – all of which have slumped in the Japanese am session, following a WSJ report that Robert Mueller’s team “caught the Trump campaign by surprise” in mid-October by issuing a document subpoena to more than a dozen top officials.
The campaign had previously been voluntarily complying with the special counsel’s requests for information, and had been sharing with Mr. Mueller’s team the documents it provided to congressional committees as part of their probes of Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. The Trump campaign is providing documents in response to the subpoena on an ‘ongoing’ basis, the person said.
If confirmed, this would be the first time Trump’s campaign has been ordered to turn over information to Mueller’s investigation, even if subpoena has not – for now – compelled any officials to testify before Mueller’s grand jury.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.

Deutsche: The Swings In The Market Are About To Get Bigger And Bigger

Risk Parity not having a good day pic.twitter.com/GRdpB4NUOj
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 10, 2017

One week ago, on November 9 something snapped in the Nikkei, which in the span of just over an one hour (from 13:20 to 14:30) crashed more than 800 points (before closing almost unchanged) at the same time as it was revealed that foreigners had just bought a record amount of Japanese stocks the previous month.
As expected, numerous theories emerged shortly after the wild plunge, with explanation from the mundane, i.e., foreigners dumping as the upward momentum abruptly ended, to the “Greek”, as gamma and vega stops were hit by various vol-targeting (CTAs, systemic, variable annutities and risk parity) funds. One such explanation came from Deutsche Bank, which attributed the move to a volatility shock, as “heightened volatility appears to have triggered program trades to reduce risk”, and catalyzed by a rare swoon in both stocks and bonds, which led to a surge in Nikkei volatility…
… and forced highly leveraged risk parity funds and their peers to quickly delever. As DB’s Masao Muraki explained at the time:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.

Looking For Inflation In All The Wrong Places

A policeman sees a drunk man searching for something under a streetlight and asks what the drunk has lost. He says he lost his keys and they both look under the streetlight together. After a few minutes the policeman asks if he is sure he lost them here, and the drunk replies, no, and that he lost them in the park. The policeman asks why he is searching here, and the drunk replies, ‘this is where the light is’. – The Streetlight Effect
The drunk in the above story is an idiot, of course. But no more so than modern economists who can’t find inflation because they’re looking only at the part of the economy covered by their government’s Consumer Price Index.
But gradually, grudgingly, a handful of mainstream economists do seem to be figuring out that the soaring value of stocks, bonds, real estate, fine art, collectibles and cryptocurrencies is a legitimate sign of a depreciating currency and future instability. Inflation, in other words. From yesterday’s Morningstar:
Lack of inflation is a global issue
(Morningstar) – The lack of inflation is a global issue. Unemployment is at cyclical lows in the US, Germany, and Japan, yet in each of these countries there is only small evidence that wages are picking up. No doubt globalisation and technology are common factors that have helped constrain wages across countries.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on NOVEMBER 14, 2017.

Gartman: “The Bear Market Is Upon Us We Fear “

With the BTFD algos showing some uncharacteristic hesitancy this morning, Dennis Gartman’s overnight commentary may provide just the catalyst they need to do their sworn duty and ramp stocks into the green within minutes of the cash open for one simple reason: Gartman fears a bear market of “some serious vintage” is now be upon us.
As excerpted from his latest overnight letter to clients:
STOCK PRICES ARE UNIVERSALLY WEAKER THIS MORNING as all ten of the markets comprising our International Index have fallen and as two of the ten… the markets in Japan and in Brazil… have fallen by more than 1% with the former down 1.5% as we write and as we finish TGL and with the latter down a truly material 2.3%. In the end, our Index has fallen 86 ‘points’ or 0.7% and is down 175 ‘points’ from its all-time high of 12,012 on Thursday of last week, or 1.4% below that high.
We note the ‘universal’ nature of the weakness for having all ten markets moving in the same direction is indeed quite rare and historically this occurs at major turning points; that is, the lows were made back in the spring of ’09 amidst panic, final liquidation of stocks when we had one or two days of universal weakness followed by a day or two of universal strength. That was a major turning point, obviously. Further, the interim lows made in January of this past year were accompanied by one day of ‘universal’ movement, and there are other examples that we can recall when prices moved in ‘universal’ terms and which marked major turning points. Today’s ‘universal’ weakness…only a week from the global market’s all-time high… is a harbinger of further material weakness we fear and sets the stage for the start of what we fear might well be a bear market of some serious vintage.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.

Japan’s Plea To Millennials: Please Buy Stocks

Ever since the Federal Reserve first got into the business of blowing massive equity bubbles back in the 1980’s, Americans have shown a willingness to happily, if ignorantly, embrace each successive iteration to the rigged market. Of course, as E-Trade recently confirmed via the following ad, making money in equities is a very simple two-step process: (1) get invested, (2) buy a yacht made of Cuban mahogany and party with models…why would anyone in their right mind pass that up?
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Unfortunately, at least for the central planners at the Bank of Japan who would love to be as efficient at creating asset bubbles as their U. S. counterparts, Japanese investors have a slightly longer memory than U. S. investors and have shunned stocks ever since an entire generation of wealth was wiped out in the 90’s. After 20 years of stocks pretty much only trading in one direction, one can understand their concern.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.

Key Events In The Coming Week: Taxes, Inflation, Yellen, Draghi, Kuroda And Brexit

This week’s economic calendar features several key data releases and Fedspeak. The main data release in US include: CPI inflation, retail sales, industrial production, housing data and monthly budget statement. We also get the latest GDP and CPI reading across the Euro Area; the employment report in the UK and AU, Japan GDP, China IP, retail sales and FAI. In Emerging markets, there are monetary policy meetings in Indonesia, Chile, Egypt and Hong Kong.
Market participants will also want to pay close attention to tax reform progress in Washington. The House Ways and Means Committee had voted along party lines (24-16) to deliver its bill to the full House. The Senate Finance Committee’s proposal was also revealed last week and is slated for markup this week. Both versions are essentially opening gambits by the two chambers and the hard work begins when the two bills are ‘reconciled’. As a reminder, the Senate version is likely to be closer to the final version. In our view, there is a decent chance that some version of tax reform can be achieved, but this is likely to be a Q1 event and there are numerous potential stumbling blocks along the way.
With respect to the data, October inflation and retail sales reports are the main focus. Tuesday, DB expects headline PPI (+0.1% forecast vs. +0.4% previously) to moderate following a spike in gasoline prices last month due to hurricane-related supply disruptions. However, core PPI inflation (+0.2% vs. +0.1%) should firm. Analyst will focus on the healthcare services component of the PPI, as this is an input into the corresponding series in the core PCE deflator – the Fed’s preferred inflation metric. Recall that healthcare has the largest weighting in the core PCE.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 13, 2017.

Back to the Yield Curve Future

A few weeks ago, we highlighted the apparent contradiction of the reflation trade that has unfolded in the Treasury market. In brief, that contradiction is the flattening yield curve.
This week, we’re returning to the yield curve – the 2-10 spread specifically – and we will be discussing what it means if it is indeed a harbinger of slower economic growth.
A Trade of Desperation?
First, we must posit that the narrowing spread between the 2-yr note yield and the 10-yr note yield might not be the telltale economic indicator some pundits think it is.
It could be, yet we can’t dismiss the possibility that it’s a byproduct of a desperate search for yield among foreign investors staring at such low rates at home.
Hear Russell Napier on Debt Deflation: Too Much Debt, Not Enough Money
Before inflation, the yield on the 10-yr Japanese Government Bond is 0.02%; the yield on the 10-yr German bund is 0.38%, and the yield on the UK’s 10-yr gilt is 1.26%. The yield on the 10-yr Treasury note is 2.33%.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/13/2017.

US to Import Inflation from Japan, China, South Korea

Even from Japan – whose export producer prices are soaring.
The oil price collapse that started in 2014 pushed down input costs that companies – the ‘producers’ – faced. And producer price indices, which measure inflation further up the pipeline, plunged. But this is over. And the biggest export powerhouses in Asia that have ballooning trade surpluses with the US, show how.
The Producer Price Index in Japan – the ‘Corporate Goods Price Index,’ as it’s called there – jumped 3.4% in October compared to a year ago, after already climbing an upwardly revised 3.1% in September, the Bank of Japan reported on November 13. It was the tenth month in a row of year-over-year gains and the highest annual rate since September 2014, by which time the collapsing energy prices were mopping up any inflationary pressures (chart via Trading Economics):

This post was published at Wolf Street on Nov 12, 2017.

Doug Noland: “Money” on the Move

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Credit Bubble Bulletin . To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
It’s been awhile since I’ve used this terminology. But global markets this week recalled the old ‘Bubble in Search of a Pin.’ It’s too early of course to call an end to the great global financial Bubble. But suddenly, right when everything looked so wonderful, there are indication of ‘Money’ on the Move. And the issue appears to go beyond delays in implementing U. S. corporate tax cuts.
The S&P500 declined only 0.2%, ending eight consecutive weekly gains. But the more dramatic moves were elsewhere. Big European equities rallies reversed abruptly. Germany’s DAX index traded up to an all-time high 13,526 in early Tuesday trading before reversing course and sinking 2.9% to end the week at 13,127. France’s CAC40 index opened Tuesday at the high since January 2008, only to reverse and close the week down 2.5%. Italy’s MIB Index traded as high as 23,133 Tuesday before sinking 2.5% to end the week at 22,561. Similarly, Spain’s IBEX index rose to 10,376 and then dropped 2.7% to close Friday’s session at 10,093.
Having risen better than 20% since early September, Japanese equities have been in speculative blow-off mode. After trading to a 26-year high of 23,382 inter-day on Thursday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index sank as much as 859 points, or 3.6%, in afternoon trading. The dollar/yen rose to an eight-month high 114.73 Monday and then ended the week lower at 113.53. From Tokyo to New York, banks were hammered this week.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Doug Noland ‘ November 11, 2017.

Japan Rocked By Violent Stock Plunge As Nikkei Tumbles 850 Points Before Recovering Losses

Something snapped in Japan today.
With Asian stocks finally breaking out a decade-long doldrum, and hitting record highs earlier in the session, and with Japanese equities starting off the session on the right foot and continuing their recent ascent which until Wednesday had seen them rise on 23 of the past 25 days, Japanese shares suddenly lurched on Thursday, plunging sharply lower after dramatic intraday swings took the Nikkei and Topix indexes to multi-decade highs only to drop in the afternoon on futures-driven trading ahead of the following day’s options settlement. All told, in a little over an hour, what had been another solid rally in Japanese stocks turned into some rather sharp clear-air turbulence, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunging about 3.6% from the afternoon-session high to its low for the day.
It all started off well enough: in the morning session, the Topix notched a new 26-year high and the Nikkei 225 broke the 23,000 level for the first time since January 1992, as financial and securities shares rallied.
Then something flipped and in a gut-churning rollercoaster of a move, the Nikkei lurched from an over 2% gain which took it to a fresh 25 year high at the end of the morning session, to a loss of as much as 1.7%. The sudden reversal quickly spread to the currency market, with the yen surging before spreading across Asia: South Korean and Hong Kong equities also tumbled in sympathy. As Bloomberg snarks, “Sydney traders could count themselves lucky their market had already closed before the worst of the sell-off.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.

Global Markets Stumble, Spooked By Japanese Stock Fireworks

The overnight fireworks in Japan, which saw the Nikkei plunge by 860 intraday points and sent vol and volumes soaring (before recovering most losses), spooked traders in Asia and around the globe, and U. S. equity futures are red this morning, along with European shares and oil. As one early riser sellside desk notes, the Nikkei 225 provided the latest example of choppy markets and the 860 point intraday plunge “got us worried. Is this a warning sign for risk assets?” President Trump’s challenge of China for “unfair trading practices” (which he blamed on his predecessors) did not help the calm mood.
‘The stock market has run out of a little momentum since the blow-out on the (Japanese) topix so it feels like it’s temporarily paused,’ said Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes. ‘We are waiting for some news from the Republicans on the tax plans, there is a bond market that has stalled and we’ve got rather soggy looking emerging markets… We probably need to get U. S. Treasury yields higher to get things going again.’
In the aftermath of the Japanese vol spike, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index turned briefly negative having earlier climbed to all-time record.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 9, 2017.