Category Archives: Japan

China Will Get Old Before It Gets Rich

By Leith van Onselen, Chief Economist of Macro Investor, Australia’s independent investment newsletter covering trades, stocks, property and yield. You can follow him on Twitter at @leithvo. Cross posted from MacroBusiness

Yesterday, Houses & Holes stated that he was a long-term China bull, largely because of its status as an industrial powerhouse. Today I want to outline the reason why I am a long-term China bear: China’s rapidly ageing population.


Philip Pilkington: Inflation-Targeting Experiment May Start in Japan… But at What Cost?

By Philip Pilkington, a writer and journalist based in Dublin, Ireland. You can follow him on Twitter at @pilkingtonphil

Rumors abound that a deal is fomenting in Japan that might lead to the inflation targeting proposal that so many progressives champion on their blogs being put in place.


Daniel Alpert: Earth to Paul Krugman

By Daniel Alpert, the founding Managing Partner of Westwood Capital. Cross posted from EconoMonitor

This past Sunday, Paul Krugman penned a screed in the New York Times Magazine (entitled, somewhat unflatteringly in my opinion, “Earth to Ben Bernanke”) that expanded on the content of an ongoing debate in the economics blogosphere over the contents of the mind of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Professor Krugman has posited for months now that Bernanke has come up short…..


Philip Pilkington: Is QE/ZIRP Killing Demand?

em>By Philip Pilkington, a journalist and writer living in Dublin, Ireland

Warren Mosler recently ran a very succinct account of why the Fed/Bank of England’s easy monetary policies – that is, the combination of Quantitative Easing and their Zero Interest Rate Programs – might actually be killing demand in the economy.

Warren Mosler recently ran a very succinct account of why the Fed/Bank of England’s easy monetary policies – that is, the combination of Quantitative Easing and their Zero Interest Rate Programs – might actually be killing demand in the economy.


Yes, Virginia, Servicers Lie to Investors Too: $175 Billion in Loan Losses Not Allocated to Mortgage Backed Securities (and Another $300 Billion on the Way)

he structured credit analytics/research firm R&R Consulting released a bombshell today, and it strongly suggests that prevailing prices on non-GSE (non Freddie and Fannie) residential mortgage backed securities, which are typically referred to as “private label” are considerably overvalued.


What if We Focus on Boosting Employment Rather Than Growth?

Although it is remarkably difficult to come up with decent data, from what I can tell, the Japanese bubble was considerably bigger relative to the size of its economy than the US debt binge was. Yet even though the Japanese aftermath has been remarkably protracted, and arguably worsened by a slow and cautious initial response, visitors to Japan find the country wearing its malaise remarkably well.

One of the reasons may be the Japanese preoccupation with employment. Entrepreneurs are revered not for making money but for creating jobs. Japanese companies went to great lengths to keep workers, cutting senior pay to preserve manning. That was done largely for cultural reasons, since companies are seen as being like families.

But was this preoccupation also good economic policy, and might it have played a more direct role in buffering the worse effects of the bubble aftermath?


Extreme Predictions 2012

I tend to avoid the year end retrospective/forecast blizzard, although some of the more creative compilations can be fun.

However, some 2012 forecasts crossed my screen, and two were such striking outliers that I thought I’d call them to your attention and seeing if readers have come across other Extreme Predictions for the new year (aside from the Mayan end of the world sort).


Wray: Krugman has shined the headlights on the crucial currency issuer-currency user difference

Edward Harrison here. The post by Randall Wray below is an interesting one because it points out how the world has changed since the end of the gold standard and why the sovereign debt crisis is centered in the euro zone. While I have an Austrian bias overall, for me, MMT is the best way […]


Turning Japanese is a Boon

By Rumplestatskin, a professional economist with a broad range of interests and a diverse background in property development, environmental economics research and economic regulation. Cross posted from MacroBusiness.

What few seem to appreciate, either inside or outside of Japan, is just how strong the resulting Japanese recovery from 2002-2008 was. It was the longest unbroken recovery of Japan’s postwar history, and, while not as strong as pre-bubble Japanese performance, was in fact stronger than the growth in comparable economies even when fuelled by their own bubbles.

How on Earth did Japan manage that with their ageing population and zero population growth?


From QE to Communism

By Zarathustra, who is the founder of Hong Kong blog Also sprach Analyst. He was educated at the London School of Economics and the Chinese University of Hong Kong and was once a Hong Kong-based equity research analyst focusing on Hong Kong real estate (which he did not really like), with a secondary coverage on China real estate sector (which he actually hated). Cross posted from MacroBusiness

Zero interest rate policy and quantitative easing is not working to stimulate the real economy. No country has succeeded. The pioneer of quantitative easing, the Bank of Japan, failed (and Japanese yen is uber-strong). The Federal Reserve has failed, and the Bank of England has failed.


Dimon Says US Banks Should Dictate to Regulators

Now that Steve Jobs has retired from Apple, Jamie Dimon seems determined to assume his role as the CEO with the most effective reality distortion sphere. You can infer that from the magnitude of the whoppers he is telling and the size of the audience he is trying to bamboozle.

But while Jobs’ Svengali tendencies have gotten more than occasional mention, they weren’t a major failing. Jobs not only saved Apple, but he spearheaded the development of important new product categories. By contrast, Dimon has long been a bully, a smart and capable bully, but a bully nevertheless (I have reports going back to his first year at Harvard Business School, and it takes some doing to be memorably obnoxious by dint of the competition in that category).

Now on the surface, Dimon’s latest brazen statement isn’t quite as gross as my headline suggests. He is merely saying that US banks should not be subject to the new incoming international bank rules, known as Basel III. That might seem to be a narrower statement, but as we show, when you parse his logic, it amounts to banking uber alles.


Marshall Auerback: Are We Approaching the Endgame for the Euro?

By Marshall Auerback, a hedge fund manager, portfolio strategist, and Roosevelt Institute fellow. A version of this post appeared at New Economic Perspectives.

Forget about the S&P downgrade, which has had ZERO impact on the global equity markets. The downgrade was supposed to mean that it would be more likely that the US government would not be able to pay its debt than previously assumed. IF the markets took this warning seriously, then they would have attached a higher risk premium to US government bonds. Of course, the opposite occurred. US bonds soared in price. In other words, investors, both here and abroad, voted with money as loudly as possible that they view the US government debt as a very safe haven in a time of financial turmoil

So if it wasn’t the S&P downgrade which caused this downward cascade in the global equity markets, then what was it? By far, the most important factor currently driving the market’s bear trends is Europe or, more specifically, the future of the euro and the European Monetary Union. Systemic risk has migrated across the Atlantic to the euro zone.


Market Rout Continues

After a very bad day in the US, Asian markets swooned and European markets fell again, but their declines are less gut wrenching. 2-3% falls in most Euromarkets at the opening (2.5% for the FTSE, 2% for the Dax, and 3.5%.for the Milan’s FTSE-MIB) but for the most part, they have come back somewhat as of this hour. The FTSE is now down 2.2%, the CAC 40 a mere 1.2%, the DAX 2.7%, and the FTSE-MIB has is in positive territory, up 0.25%. This follows plunges of 3.7% for the Nikkei and 4.5% for the Hang Seng indexes.