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.
By Michael Pettis Doug, Pancoast, an American entrepreneur living in Shanghai, asked to interview me for his blog, and I agreed to do so. I think it was meant to be a brief interview, but I began to respond on a Saturday evening, while waiting for the performance at my club to begin (my office is at my CD label, […]
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Yesterday, I did a broad overview of four markets of interest to global investors. And I wanted to continue my thoughts on this here with a few more markets and with a deeper dive into some of my thinking about the UK. Britain, Part 2 In the […]
This is the first time I am doing this, so let’s see how much value it adds. I thought I would quickly run through a number of countries in the news and give my perspective on the macro picture in each. I am just going to give a summary here of the key points of interest and will do a deep dive on some at a later date. Let’s start with the US.
I have always thought that the soft landing/hard landing debate wholly misses the point when it comes to China’s economic prospects. It confuses the kinds of market-based adjustments we are likely to see in the US or Europe with the much more controlled process we see in China. Instead of a hard landing or a soft landing, the Chinese economy faces two very different options, and these will be largely determined by the policies Beijing chooses over the next two years.
The gist of the piece here is that, while I see a cyclical recovery that is gathering pace, the Achilles heel of the recovery from a sustainability perspective is wage growth. To the degree the Fed normalizes policy now before wage growth has a chance to make up for its really weak post-recession trajectory, the US will find itself in the same sort of weak stall speed scenario that we now see in Europe. My worry now is that the cyclical recovery has been artificial, fake – goosed up by temporary monetary stimulus. I think that when that stimulus is removed, there will be nothing to support continued growth, and that the US economy will weaken. Here’s how I put it below.
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Labor Day is behind us now and I intend to have a much more regular posting schedule going forward. But the lack of posts has given me some time to reflect on the global macro situation without the need to write about it on a daily basis. […]
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Today is the time to update you on how my 2014 surprises are faring and why. Just to remind you, the surprise list is based on Byron Wien’s list of ten surprises which he has been conducting for the last thirty years. Surprises are events to which […]
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. I am back from my summer holiday. There has been a lot of news in the time since I last posted. And the news flow is coming from a lot of different places. So, let me start up again with a post highlighting what I think are […]
By Edward Hugh There has been lot’s of debate in the press and in academic circles over the last week or so about whether Italy’s latest contraction constitutes a triple dip recession or simply a continuation of what’s been going on over many many years. This is an interesting theoretical nicety, but in fact what is happening in Italy at […]
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”.