If wages in Japan are stagnant, how is increasing inflation going to help wage earners afford a better stream of good and services? It won’t. Ultimately, what we need to see are policies which maintain wages for median and lower-income wage earners with the greatest marginal propensity to spend. Without this, in a demographically challenged and indebted private sector, so-called secular stagnation is almost a certainty.
This is going to be a relatively short note focused on what is going on in Japan because of the news that Japan has ramped up its program of quantitative easing to new heights. Coming on the heels of the US Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would stop expanding its balance sheet with large scale asset purchases, the Bank of Japan’s announcement was music to the ears of Japanese equities investors. And shares in Japan promptly rose 4.8% on the news. The larger question, however, is whether QE is effective either at shaping future inflation or inflation expectations or at increasing nominal and real GDP. The evidence is equivocal. And so Japan presents a unique opportunity to see the limits of monetary policy tested.
Japan needs deep seated cultural changes, especially ones directed to greater female empowerment and more openness towards immigration. Japan needs a series of structural reforms – like those under discussion around the third arrow – but these would be to soften the blow of workforce and population decline, not an attempt to run away from it. Monetary policy has its limits. As Martin Wolf so aptly put it, “you can’t print babies”.
This week’s economic and market themes piece is going to be a little shorter than usual because I have covered a lot of the major topics earlier in the week. Full commentary at Credit Writedowns Pro
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. This post is on the same topic of the US economy that I addressed yesterday. But I want to go a bit deeper and add more colour to my comments. Signs that the US economy’s cyclical outlook are improving are getting ever more numerous, especially when we […]
The bottom line here is that I have been and still am bullish on the cyclical prospects in the US, UK and Spain in particular. The US jobless claims numbers are unusually low and that tells you that slack in the labour market is declining. Moreover, we are likely to see inventory builds here, adding to more momentum. Nonetheless, I do have two caveats for the US.
By Andrea Terzi originally published at Social Europe and republished with consent of Author The anti-austerity vote in the European elections reflected two different kinds of discontent. One is a feeling of frustration, which is invigorating nationalism: the vote for “less Europe.” The other is a lack of confidence in current EU policies: the vote for “another Europe.” In both […]
This is a long-form post on Ukraine. The big news, however, is from the European Union where the PMIs and a slew of other economic data came out today. The data showed the European economy improving broadly from its weakened recovery status. This will give the ECB room to take a wait and see approach. At the same time, the EU foreign ministers met yesterday and, according to reports are ready to impose heavier sanctions on Russia in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. There’s a lot data to digest here so let me start off with the EU – Ukraine – Russia narrative.
As the war in Ukraine moves to the center of global consciousness, I think it is important to remember the various actors’ positioning, constraints and likely agendas. As much as we would like to know ‘the truth’, the reality is always that beyond a core set of known facts, any situation is subject to interpretation based on positioning, constraints and agendas. And to the degree these factors make for focus on very different sets of data points, it makes it hard to reach common ground in a negotiated agreement.
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Let’s start with the BIS. In general, I defend the BIS view because the BIS is rightly focused on the dangers of over-indebtedness. Gavyn Davies has put a good spotlight on the subject that I think frames the issue well. At the FT, he writes about ‘artificially’ […]
By Sober Look The yield spread between US treasuries and German government bonds hit a new high last week (see chart). Was this divergence in rates simply a response to the ECB action last month (see post) in combination with stronger jobs data in the US or is there more to it? Part of the answer has been softer than […]
I don’t have any links today, so I am going to go right into the daily piece here. Just 10 minutes ago, the US jobs numbers were released. Combined with the British composite PMI data earlier, the numbers present a rosy picture for the two economies. If the data continue like this, central bank governors will find it hard to keep the same level of policy accommodation in place.