The Absolute Return Letter, June 2015 By Niels Jensen To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.” Margaret Thatcher Investment heavyweights challenge the consensus On a regular basis I challenge the consensus. It is part of my […]
Tag: quantitative easing
Tiger 5 – Grexit is inevitable
This is going to be a short thought piece. But the takeaway should be that the convergence to zero will continue unabated as the threat of inflation is muted given the combination of excess capacity, high private debt and unfavourable demographics. The subject is monetary policy.
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.
Last week, the ECB announced that it would begin purchasing securities backed by bank lending to households and firms. Whereas markets and the media have generally greeted this announcement with enthusiasm, this column identifies reasons for caution. Other central banks’ quantitative easing programmes have involved purchasing fixed amounts of securities according to a published schedule. In contrast, the ECB’s new policy is demand-driven, and will only be effective if it breaks the vicious circle of recession and negative credit growth.
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”.
By Frances Coppola A new paper by Johnston and Pugh of the legal department of the University of Sheffield discusses the legality and the effectiveness of QE and its relatives, including the ECB’s OMT “whatever it takes” promise. The background to this is the German Constitutional Court’s ruling that OMT amounts to monetary financing of government deficits and is therefore […]
This is a brief update to my last member post from this morning. Just reviewing what the ECB has done here, we see them taking four out of the five easing measures I outlined in May. The ECB could lower rates. Check The ECB could allow its balance sheet to rise. The ECB has been sterilizing the 170 billion euros […]
This is an abbreviated post from our subscription series at Credit Writedowns Pro. Yesterday and today, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung had interesting articles on the ECB’s dilemma from a German perspective. I want to use these as a jumping off point for a discussion about Europe. The question is how much leeway will the Germans give the ECB […]
I am skipping the news links today to go right to the daily commentary. I want to continue my thoughts on what’s happening in Europe and why I think the ECB will become more activist. There are a number of policy options on the table for the ECB including continuing to stand pat. But given both what ECB board members are saying and what the Lisbon Treaty defines as the ECB’s mandate, I believe we are about to see a big shift in policy toward greater activism. I’ll explain why below.
What is the ECB likely to do come June? There has been a lot of speculation in the media about the ECB’s next move but the ECB has yet to make definitive statements on which way it is leaning and why. I believe quantitative easing is out of the question but I also believe the ECB is likely to ease in some manner come June.