Posts Tagged: functional equivalent

 

In a move that will surely shock, shock, the monetary purists out there, the Bank of Japan has just gone and done what we predicted back in May 2011, with the first of our “Hyprintspeed” series articles: “A Look At The BOJ’s Current, And Future, Quantitative Easing” (the second one which discussed the imminent advent of the ¥1 quadrillion in total debt threshold was also fulfilled three weeks ago). So just what did the BOJ do? Why nothing short of join the ECB, the BOE, and the Fed (and don’t get us started on those crack FX traders at the SNB) in electronically printing even more 1 and 0-based monetary equivalents (full statement here). From WSJ: “The Bank of Japan surprised markets Tuesday by implementing new easing policies and moving closer to an explicit price target, the latest sign of growing worries around the world about the ripple effects of the European debt crisis on the global economy. With interest rates already close to zero, the BOJ has relied in recent months on asset purchases to stimulate the economy. In Tuesday’s meeting, the central bank expanded that plan by ¥10 trillion, or about $130 billion. The facility, which includes low-cost loans, is now worth about ¥65 trillion, or $844 billion.” The rub however lies in the total Japanese GDP, which at last check was $6 trillion (give or take), and declining. Which means this announcement was the functional equivalent to a surprise $325 billion QE announced by the Fed. What is ironic is the market reaction: the BOJ expands its LSAP by 18% and the USDJPY moves by 30 pips. As for gold, not a peep: as if the market has now priced in that the world’s central banks will dilute themselves to death. Unfortunately, it is only at death, and the failure of all status quo fiat paper, that the real value of the yellow metal, whose metallic nature continues to be suppressed via paper pathways, will truly shine.

The WSJ explains the BOJ’s stunning decision further:

Only one out of the 11 analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted the BOJ to ease this week.

 

Most BOJ watchers had said that while there were concerns over the impact of the strong yen and the European debt crisis, neither financial nor economic conditions had worsened to levels that warranted immediate further action. 

The BOJ policy board also revised the wording of its “understanding of price stability,” saying now it has set a “price stability goal” of 2% or lower in the core consumer price index in the medium- to long-term and a goal of 1% growth for the time being. For calendar year 2011, Japan’s core consumer price index—excluding food prices—was negative 0.3%.

 The bank had come under criticism that its definition of price stability, the goal it seeks to achieve in its fight against deflation, was too convoluted and vague. Such attacks had increased in recent weeks after the U.S. Federal Reserve in late January adopted a more explicit price target. 

Faced with a prolonged deflation, politicians have stepped up their calls on the BOJ to take fresh action, with some threatening to revise legislation to strip away the central bank’s independence from the government.

First of all, don’t get us started on inflation targeting. Or rather, get Dylan Grice started: he will tell you all about it, and then some. >> Read More

 

In a move that will surely shock, shock, the monetary purists out there, the Bank of Japan has just gone and done what we predicted back in May 2011, with the first of our “Hyprintspeed” series articles: “A Look At The BOJ’s Current, And Future, Quantitative Easing” (the second one which discussed the imminent advent of the ¥1 quadrillion in total debt threshold was also fulfilled three weeks ago). So just what did the BOJ do? Why nothing short of join the ECB, the BOE, and the Fed (and don’t get us started on those crack FX traders at the SNB) in electronically printing even more 1 and 0-based monetary equivalents (full statement here). From WSJ: “The Bank of Japan surprised markets Tuesday by implementing new easing policies and moving closer to an explicit price target, the latest sign of growing worries around the world about the ripple effects of the European debt crisis on the global economy. With interest rates already close to zero, the BOJ has relied in recent months on asset purchases to stimulate the economy. In Tuesday’s meeting, the central bank expanded that plan by ¥10 trillion, or about $130 billion. The facility, which includes low-cost loans, is now worth about ¥65 trillion, or $844 billion.” The rub however lies in the total Japanese GDP, which at last check was $6 trillion (give or take), and declining. Which means this announcement was the functional equivalent to a surprise $325 billion QE announced by the Fed. What is ironic is the market reaction: the BOJ expands its LSAP by 18% and the USDJPY moves by 30 pips. As for gold, not a peep: as if the market has now priced in that the world’s central banks will dilute themselves to death. Unfortunately, it is only at death, and the failure of all status quo fiat paper, that the real value of the yellow metal, whose metallic nature continues to be suppressed via paper pathways, will truly shine.

The WSJ explains the BOJ’s stunning decision further:

Only one out of the 11 analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted the BOJ to ease this week.

 

Most BOJ watchers had said that while there were concerns over the impact of the strong yen and the European debt crisis, neither financial nor economic conditions had worsened to levels that warranted immediate further action. 

The BOJ policy board also revised the wording of its “understanding of price stability,” saying now it has set a “price stability goal” of 2% or lower in the core consumer price index in the medium- to long-term and a goal of 1% growth for the time being. For calendar year 2011, Japan’s core consumer price index—excluding food prices—was negative 0.3%.

 The bank had come under criticism that its definition of price stability, the goal it seeks to achieve in its fight against deflation, was too convoluted and vague. Such attacks had increased in recent weeks after the U.S. Federal Reserve in late January adopted a more explicit price target. 

Faced with a prolonged deflation, politicians have stepped up their calls on the BOJ to take fresh action, with some threatening to revise legislation to strip away the central bank’s independence from the government.

First of all, don’t get us started on inflation targeting. Or rather, get Dylan Grice started: he will tell you all about it, and then some. >> Read More

 

In all the excitement over the December 21 LTRO, Europe forgot one small thing: since it is the functional equivalent of banks using the Discount Window (and at 3 years at that, not overnight), it implies that a recipient bank is in a near-death condition. As such, the incentive for good banks to dump on bad ones is huge, which means that everyone must agree to be stigmatized equally, or else a split occurs whereby the market praises the “good banks” and punishes the “bad ones” (think Lehman). As a reminder, this is what Hank Paulson did back in 2008 when he forced all recently converted Bank Holding Companies to accept bail outs, whether they needed them or not, something that Jamie Dimon takes every opportunity to remind us of nowadays saying he never needed the money but that it was shoved down his throat. Be that as it may, the reason why there has been no borrowings on the Fed’s discount window in years, in addition to the $1.6 trillion in excess fungible reserves floating in the system, is that banks know that even the faintest hint they are resorting to Fed largesse is equivalent to signing one’s death sentence, and in many ways is the reason why the Fed keeps pumping cash into the system via QE instead of overnight borrowings. Yet what happened in Europe, when a few hundred banks borrowed just shy of €500 billion is in no way different than a mass bailout via a discount window. Still, over the past month, Europe which was on the edge equally and ratably, and in which every bank was known to be insolvent, has managed to stage a modest recovery, and now we are back to that most precarious of states - where there is explicit stigma associated with bailout fund usage. And unfortunately, it could not have come at a worse time for the struggling continent: with a new “firewall” LTRO on deck in three weeks, one which may be trillions of euros in size, ostensibly merely to shore up bank capital ahead of a Greek default, suddenly the question of who is solvent and who is insolvent is back with a vengeance, as the precarious Nash equilibrium of the past month collapses, and suddenly a two-tier banking system forms – the banks which the market will not short, and those which it will go after with a vengeance.

The WSJ has more on this very subtle but so very critical shift in the European bailout game theory equilibrium: >> Read More

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Team ASR,
Baroda, India.