Will Japan Be the Next Debt Crisis?

Japan may spark the next global debt crisis unless the nation’s new leader addresses its widening fiscal deficit, Kusano Global Frontier Co. said.

What is bothering foreign investors the most is Japan’s debt issue and the related risk of Japan triggering the next sovereign debt crisis,” Kusano said in an interview.

Japan’s 10-year yields have stayed mostly below 2 percent in the past decade partly because domestic investors hold over 90 percent of government debt, according to Kusano. Overseas investors will start avoiding Japanese bonds as the supply of the securities exceeds local demand, Kusano said.

Japan’s inability to finance its debt sales domestically is approaching,” Kusano said. “And when that time comes, you can’t expect foreign investors to accept Japanese debt with such a low coupon

My Time at Lehman

I started at Lehman Brothers on June 1st, 2007 as a first year analyst. It was my first job out of college. Dick Fuld, the CEO at the time, publicly discussed “the road to two-hundred,” in which he would not retire until the stock reached $200 per share, almost three times the price when I arrived. Everyone at the firm believed this as though it were a fact – that there was something special about Lehman Brothers stock – it always went up.

I joined Lehman for a few reasons. The first was personal. My mother worked on Wall Street and passed away when I was a teenager. I felt, somewhat misguidedly, as though following in her footsteps would bring me closer to her. The other reasons were simpler. I had been interested in the stock market as a kid (though I went to work trading bonds and credit derivatives), I wanted to make good money, and I thought maybe, just maybe, it would be a bit of fun. (more…)

Writing your trading plan?

  1. Why am I trading? This is not a trivial question to ask; and you must answer it honestly. Are you trading to make money? Or are you trading for the thrill? In other words, are you trading like an investor or like a gambler?
  2. What are my trading goals? Again, not a trivial question. Are you trying to gain a few dollars for extra spending money? Trying to fund your retirement? Trade for a living? Or are you trying to amass a fortune and retire early to a life of luxury? How you answer this question will identify the level of risk that you will have to endure.
  3. What is the size of my trading account? An obvious question.
  4. What is my skill level? Be honest.
  5. What is my tolerance for risk? And does that tolerance bear any relation to my skill level? It’s no good having a high tolerance for risk if your skills are inadequate.
  6. What must I do to improve my skill level?
  7. If my skill level is low, what trading size can I use to ensure that a single bad decision will not wipe me out? Preserving capital and staying in the game long enough to LTP good trading practices is crucial.
  8. What is my preferred trading instrument and have I familiarized myself with the behavior, range and velocity of that instrument? Some trades, like bonds and the ETF’s can move at a glacial pace.
  9. What indicators will I use to identify my entries and exits? Here, “the more, the merrier” may not be the wisest choice. Remember, there can be paralysis by (over)analysis.
  10. Where will I place my initial stop; and how will I manage them? You may have a trailing stop strategy, or you may plan to just exit when your indicators say, “Get out!”

Niall Ferguson, the Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

NiallThe Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson
“The shadow world of derivatives, credit-default swaps, the sales of U.S. bonds to China ; all seem to bring brilliant results, until they get too big.”
Great book ; go out there and buy it, thank me later 🙂

Spain Sells 3 Year Bonds At 3.717%, 119 bps Higher Than Prior Auction

For a demonstration of the unsustainable course that European sovereign funding is on, look no further than Spain, where earlier the government auctioned off €2.468 billion in three year notes for a whopping 3.717%. The bid to cover was 2.27 compared to 2.16 in October, and it was reported that foreign buyers bid above 60% of the auction (which means the ECB funded domestic banks bought about 40%). However, the same issued priced at 2.527% at the last sale on Oct. 7, a 119 bps difference. Still it wasn’t all bad, considering the bond had traded at almost 4% in recent days. As Reuters reports: “Analysts and bond market players had predicted a leap of as much as 2 percentage points in yields, but Madrid’s situation has been helped by mounting expectations the European Central Bank will step up extraordinary measures to contain the crisis.” The problem for Spain is that it has minimized the amount of debt it is issuing during turbulent times: “The Treasury had cut the amount of bonds on offer in order to trim financing costs as it faces down market doubts on whether it can bring down its deficit due to sluggish economic growth and persistent concerns it might need to bailout its debt-laden banks.” And the problem for the ECB is that it most likely, as many analysts are predicting, will not announce anything of substance, as otherwise the ECB will have to monetize up to €1.5 trillion in total debt and interest through the end of 2011. The result for the EUR will inevitably be disastrous in either case, and if in 25 minutes JCT indeed announces nothing, look for all those who bid up the bond auction earlier to be tearing out their hair as the 3 Year promptly passes 4%.

ECB Purchases Of Sovereign Bonds Surge Tenfold Compared To Prior Week, Hit €1.4 Billion

After dropping to a modest €134 million last week, ECB purchases of sovereign debt exploded tenfold in the last ended week to €1.384 billion, confirming that the ECB continues to bid up all Portuguese and Irish bonds available for sale, so the market does not crash. As Reuters notes, this is the highest weekly amount purchase since early July. Once again it is up to the European Fed-equivalent to be the buyer of only resort. And Europe’s continued central bank facilitated life support comes on the heels of the latest joke in recession timing: per Dow Jones, the Center for Economic Policy Research Monday said its Euro Area Business Cycle Dating Committee had determined that the currency area’s recession began in January 2008 and ended in April 2009, lasting a total of 15 months and reducing gross domestic product by 5.5%. Some recovery there, when half the PIIGS have no access to capital markets, have their Prime Ministers mocked during conference calls, and are fighting with an exchange rate last seen long before Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland had to be rescued. We wonder what the CEPR’s timing on the end of the European depression will end up being?

Grade 3 Math Assignment

Grade 3 Math Assignment

Tom has 1 apple.

Tom has promised to give Robbie, Jim, Anne and Mary, half an apple each.

How does Tom get 4 half apples from 1 apple?

Bonus Question:

While Robbie, Jim, Anne, and Mary are waiting for their half apple, Tom gets hungry and takes a couple bites out of the apple.  How does Tom now turn a half eaten apple into 4 half apples?

And you aren’t allowed to call it an iApple and say it can do anything.

Here is the basic problem and why Italian and Spanish bonds are getting crushed again today (ignoring horrific unemployment data out of Spain).

If Italy defaults with a 40% recovery, there  is 1.613 trillion euro of debt affected (that is up about 10 billion in about a month).  That means creditors would lose 970 trbillion.   Spain with 663 billion would cost almost 400 billion (its debt has shot up about 15 billion in a month). 

The problem is that EFSF doesn’t take default off the table.  It may delay the time to default (by helping roll debts as they mature), but all it mainly does is shift who would take the loss.  The guarantors can’t handle losses that big. (more…)

Biggest Bubble Ever? 2017 Recapped In 15 Bullet Points

Here are his 15 bullet points that show why in 2017 we may have seen the biggest bubble ever (and why we can’t wait to see what 2018 reveals).

  1. Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for staggering record $450mn
  2. Bitcoin soared 677% from $952 to $7890
  3. BoJ and ECB were bull catalysts, buying $2.0tn of financial assets
  4. Number of global interest rate cuts since Lehman hit: 702
  5. Global debt rose to a record $226tn, record 324% of global GDP
  6. US corporates issued record $1.75tn of bonds
  7. Yield of European HY bonds fell below yield of US Treasuries
  8. Argentina (8 debt defaults in past 200 years) issued 100-year bond
  9. Global stock market cap jumped1 $15.5tn to $85.6tn, record 113% of GDP
  10. S&P500 volatility sank to 50-year low; US Treasury volatility to 30-year low
  11. Market cap of FAANG+BAT grew $1.5tn, more than entire German market cap
  12. 7855 ETFs accounted for 70% of global daily equity volume
  13. The first AI/robot-managed ETF was launched (it’s underperforming)
  14. Big performance winners: ACWI, EM equities, China, Tech, European HY, euro
  15. Big performance losers: US$, Russia, Telecoms, UST 2-year, Turkish lira

As Hartnett summarizes, “2017 was a perfect encapsulation of an 8-year QE-led bull market”

  • Positioning was too bearish for either a bear market or a correction in risk assets.
  • Profits were higher than expected (global EPS jumped 13.4%) this time thanks to a synchronized global PMI recovery.
  • Policy was aggressively easy, as the ECB and BoJ bought a massive $2.0tn of financial assets; fiscal policy also easy (e.g., US federal deficit up $81bn to $666bn).
  • Returns were abnormally high in 2017 (Table 3); corporate bonds and equities soared, but the biggest surprise was stubbornly low government bond yields: thematic leadership of scarce “growth” (e.g. tech stocks), “yield” (e.g., HY, EM and peripheral EU bonds) and “volatility” once again remained the core of the bull.

Erin Burnett yells at guy, saying he is 'so rude!'

To be honest, we’re not sure what EuroPacific’s Michael Pento did during this debate that was so out of the norm for CNBC, where yelling and talking over each other is common… but obviously he touched a nerve with Erin Burnett who yelled at him YOU ARE SO RUDE right at the :37 mark.
Then after he finishes he point, she lectures him some more, prompting the eye-roll seen here.
As for the debate? It was about the US bond market and whether the massive US debt load will turn bonds into toilet paper. We guarantee nobody makes a point you haven’t already heard several times.


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