With the Dow near 18,000, the U.S. dollar falling and crude oil trading close to $55, today a legend in the business sent King World News a powerful piece about a key nation that is now involved in a huge battle over monetary policy.
From Art Cashin's notes: Trouble In Paradise? – Japan's unified assault on deflation is beginning to look a good deal less unified. Here's how the Economist began to lay out the situation this week:
The government of Shinzo Abe is increasingly at odds with the central bank
AN EARLY strength of Abenomics, the plan of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, to revive Japan’s economy, was the tight bond between Mr. Abe and his handpicked central-bank governor, Haruhiko Kuroda. Former chiefs of the Bank of Japan had adopted a defeatist stance towards Japan’s deflationary morass. Mr. Kuroda, the prime minister believed, was a champion of his desire to revitalise Japan in large part through unorthodox monetary loosening. In early 2013, soon after Mr. Abe took office, the central bank duly launched a radical programme of quantitative easing.
But now the two men appear at loggerheads. The main point of contention is fiscal policy, which to date has been very loose, with a primary budget deficit (that is, excluding interest payments on debt) of 6.6% of GDP. Mr. Kuroda is making it clear that he does not believe Mr. Abe is trying hard enough to bring the deficit down. The government, meanwhile, would prefer him to confine his remarks to the bank’s monetary remit.
A second and related difference is emerging over monetary easing itself. In the quest to rid Japan of deflation, Mr. Kuroda promised whatever it took to push inflation up to 2%. The Bank of Japan may not be doing enough to achieve this. Prices are at a standstill. Yet the government appears to be signalling that a fresh bout of bond-buying might be too much of a good thing. Having ordained the inflation target, Mr. Abe now appears to be undermining Mr. Kuroda’s ability to reach it.
Keep a closer eye on the yen for the next three weeks.
Consensus – What could happen on a day like today….. historically it hasn't been a nice day. On the 14th in 1865 Lincoln went to the theater, in 1912 the RMS Titanic stopped for ice, and in 1945 Curtis LeMay burned Tokyo to the ground. Now that you feel better – – sip your coffee near the exit door. Futures mixed awaiting earnings and Retail Sales. Watch bond yields and crude oil. Stay wary, alert, and very, very nimble. ***ALSO RELEASED: 5 Of The Most Astonishing Charts Of 2015 CLICK HERE.
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