Bank of Japan

Chart of the Year – CAPE Index signals negative S&P 500 returns to 2030

Each year, it seems there is only one candidate for Chart of the Year. And 2020 is no exception. It has to be the CAPE Index developed by Nobel Prize winner, Prof Robert Shiller.  As the chart shows, it is nearly at an all-time high with Tesla’s addition to the S&P 500. Only the peak

Interest rates and London house prices begin return to reality

Global interest rates have fallen dramatically over the past 25 years, as the chart shows for government 10-year bonds:   UK rates peaked at 9% in 1995 and are now down at 1%: US rates peaked at 8% and are now at 2%   German rates peaked at 8% and are now down to 0%: […]

Chemical industry downturn challenges stock market optimism

Stock markets used to be a reliable indicator for the global economy, and for national economies. But that was before the central banks started targeting them as part of their stimulus programmes.  They have increased debt levels by around $30tn since the start of the Crisis in 2008, and much of this money has gone […]

Monetary policy reaches sell-by date for managing the economy

Monetary policy used to be the main focus for running the economy.  If demand and inflation rose too quickly, then interest rates would be raised to cool things down.  When demand and inflation slowed, interest rates would be reduced to encourage “pent-up demand” to return. After the start of the Financial Crisis, central banks promised […]

Central bankers create debt, not growth, by ignoring demographic reality

The world’s 4 main central bankers love being in the media spotlight.  After decades climbing the academic ladder, or earning millions with investment banks, they have the opportunity to rule the world’s economy – or so they think. But their background is rather strange preparation to take on this role – even if it was […]

US 10-Year interest rates suggest Great Reckoning may be near

 ”History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes“, Mark Twain Bob Farrell of Merrill Lynch was rightly considered one of the leading Wall Street analysts in his day.  His 10 Rules are still an excellent guide for any investor.  Equally helpful is the simple checklist he developed, echoing Mark Twain’s insight, to help investors avoid […]

Bank of England’s new stimulus policy creates bankruptcy risk for corporate pension funds

The Western BabyBoomers (born between 1946-70), have been one of the luckiest generations in history.  By and large, they have escaped the major wars that have plagued society down the ages.  They have also lived in a world where living standards and material wealth have made astonishing gains.  Equally priceless has been the rise in […]

Boom/Gloom Index suggests volatile August may lie ahead

It may be an idea to keep your smartphone charged and within reach, if you are planning a trip to the beach this month.  Certainly market behaviour since June has been more and more skittish.  The experts, after all, were telling us that central banks were certain to do more major stimulus efforts to boost […]

Oil market speculators profit as central banks hand out free cash

Oil markets are entering a very dangerous phase.  Already, many US energy companies have gone bankrupt, having believed that $100/bbl prices would justify their drilling costs.  Now the pain is moving downstream. The problem is the central banks.  Hedge funds have piled into the oil futures markets since January, betting that there would be lots […]

$1.8tn of stimulus later, Japan’s household spending unchanged

3 years of massive stimulus spending in Japan has had no impact on the problem it was supposed to solve.  This is highlighted by new government data on household spending for 2015, as the charts above confirm – they compare 2015 data with that for 2012, before Abenomics began: Spending was almost exactly the same […]

If only the central banks could print babies

The Financial Times has kindly printed my letter below, arguing that central bank stimulus can’t restore growth to previous Super Cycle levels. Sir, John Plender’s excellent analysis “Central banks’ waning credibility is the real threat to confidence” (Insight, February 17) highlights the need for a new narrative to explain the economic slowdown of recent years. […]

Tokyo, Shanghai stock markets crash; yen rises 8% in 2 weeks

Pity poor Janet Yellen, you might say.  The head of the US Federal Reserve told the Senate this week that she had been “quite surprised” by the collapse of oil prices since mid-2014.  And she added that the rise of the US$ was similarly “not something that we had expected” (you can see the testimony […]

Great Unwinding sees oil fall 65%; US$ rise 22%; US 10-year rates rise 25%

The Great Unwinding of policymaker stimulus was the major issue in financial markets in 2015.  And it is set to have even greater impact in 2016 once Phase 3 begins.  The chart above highlights the astonishing changes that have taken place since the Unwinding began in mid-August 2014; Phase 1 has so far seen Brent […]

Commodity price fall pushes Japan back towards deflation

The combination of ageing populations and declining fertility rates means the world is following the Japanese model into deflation – despite all the efforts of policymakers to artificially induce price rises via their money-printing.  As discussed last November, under the title. ”Oil price fall set to push Japan back into deflation“, it was already clear then that […]

Bank of Japan admits stimulus policy is modelled on Peter Pan

‘Peter Pan’ is one of the world’s most-loved children’s stories.But I hadn’t realised it had also become an economics textbook, at least in Japan.  Yet the Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), Haruhiko Kuroda, described his stimulus policy last week as follows to an invited audience: “I trust that many of you are familiar with […]

Gloom turns to boom as US economic data disappoints, again

“If only US GDP growth could remain negative in Q2, what a lot of money we could make”.  You could almost hear the excited chatter in financial markets on Friday, as news spread that revised data showed the US economy had seen negative growth in Q1. This is yet another example of the upside-down world […]

Oil price fall set to push Japan back into deflation

Could Japan actually go bankrupt at some point in the future?  This was the question left hanging in the air after Friday’s panic at the Bank of Japan, when its Governor forced through his new stimulus policy on a 5 – 4 vote. Financial markets’ first reaction was to assume this was a coup de théâtre on […]

Oil price fall set to push Japan back into deflation

Could Japan actually go bankrupt at some point in the future?  This was the question left hanging in the air after Friday’s panic at the Bank of Japan, when its Governor forced through his new stimulus policy on a 5 – 4 vote. Financial markets’ first reaction was to assume this was a coup de théâtre on […]

US dollar rises as investors worry low-cost money may disappear

Nobody knows how the Great Unwinding of central bank stimulus policies will develop.  The world has simply never been in this position before.  Thus the senior economics and business correspondent of the Financial Times, John Plender, began an article this week: “In a market where asset prices are comprehensively rigged by central bankers, rational investment […]

You can’t print babies to create new demand

What would you have done 5 years ago, in 2009, if you had been given $16tn to restore global economic growth? Would you have boosted spending in areas such as education, health and infrastructure in the belief this would create a sustained boost to economic capability?  Would you have cut taxes in order to encourage entrepreneurs to develop new businesses and promote […]

Oil markets risk rapid repricing – Part 2

As the blog discussed yesterday, central banks have now kept oil prices above the historical $10-30/bbl range for 10 years.

But can they remain there forever?

What might bring them back in line with the fundamentals of supply/demand? And what would…

Central banks pop champagne corks as stock markets soar

Central bankers mean well. But, of course, good intentions do not guarantee good results.

Their intention since the start of the 2008 crisis has been to boost financial markets. They have therefore provided $tns of liquidity, which has indeed produc…