By Marc Chandler Through the venomous comments and erosion of trust, the broad framework of what couple prove to be a workable compromise over Greece’s financial crisis may be emerging. This is not to suggest that the eurozone finance ministers meeting will reach any important decision. Indeed, the Greek Prime Minister has already reduced his finance minister’s role in the […]
Yanis Varoufakis had a long interview on RT’s Boom Bust yesterday going into detail behind his political candidacy and what he expects SYRIZA to do regarding the unsustainable debt burden that the Greek government now has. Overall, despite his problems with the eurozone’s institutional structure, Yanis believes Greece leaving the eurozone would be a catastrophe for the simple fact that it does not have a currency and any attempt to leave would be seen as a prelude to a massive devaluation, inviting capital flight on a grand scale. This would be a catastrophe for the Greek banking system and wider economy.
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.
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. The present period of optimism is built upon two factors. First, when push came to shove and Italy and Spain were faced with default, the ECB stepped into the breach. Periphery bonds outside of Greece are perceived to have a backstop from the ECB that will limit […]
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’ […]
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. I would make the case that monetary policy is wholly inappropriate as a tool for steering against cyclical ups and downs exactly because it only has a secondary impact on the real economy and must act through the credit markets. As such, monetary policy is always about […]
We posted this in November, but are re–posting now because it is relevant. Hat tip goes to Barry Ritholtz who published it over at the Big Picture recently. Also see two previous posts on this site from November related to this one, based on earlier commentary by Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser: The Limits of Monetary Policy, Part 1 and […]
Markit’s June Manufacturing PMIs for the Eurozone came out this morning. And overall, the numbers showed less strength across the board, with France showing particular weakness. You can see that Spain and Ireland were doing well though. Spain was at a 7-year high in fact. This is why I am bullish on Spain. The breakout in the economy is not […]
The 2014 BIS Annual Report warns again about the perils of ultra-easy monetary policy as it did in the lead-up to the Great Financial Crisis. I think the BIS could prove a Cassandra here and will explain below. Nevertheless, many refuse to heed its warnings because of the concern with the sluggishness of the real economy in developed economies and the worry about becoming the next Japan. The problem, as the BIS states, is debt. But the answer is not restrictive policy and structural reform as the BIS argues. Rather it is an acceptance of fiscal policy outcomes as mostly endogenous.
I am not impressed with macro policy that is managed purely to give a cyclical boost to the economy at the expense of secular sustainability. That makes it hard to look at what’s happening with macro policy now without scepticism and criticism. I would like to say that the upbeat near-turn forecasts are something to celebrate. But I can’t because they are predicated on unsustainable secular trends. A few brief thoughts below
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. The European data out today were not particularly good. We saw a deceleration in the eurozone economy, that when combined with the deceleration in German inflation, suggests that deflationary forces could still threaten a debt deflationary impulse in Europe if an exogenous shock hits the economy. The […]