Tag Archives: japan

A Lonely Suicide

29 Feb

A 30% over-valued, speculator-driven Aussie Dollar white-anting whole swathes of the non-mining economy, with the RBA’s blessing.

A government and opposition united in not wishing to do anything about it.

A World’s Biggest (and highest price) CO2 Derivatives Scam set to hollow out what’s left.

A minority government defying the will of the people in implementing it, and an opposition powerless to stop it.

Sounds great, right?

After all, we are going to “lead the world” in the “greatest moral challenge of our time” … despite no global warming in a decade … right?

And all the other lemmings are going to follow us off the cliff, as enthusiastic human sacrifices to the Green cargo cult … right?

Uh … no:

Japan has become the latest major world polluter to rule out introducing a carbon price or carbon tax in the near future, as it struggles with power shortages and a rising yen caused by the euro crisis.

Senior Japanese diplomatic officials in Tokyo have told The Australian there is “no chance” of the country adopting a scheme similar to Australia’s carbon tax or emissions trading scheme in the foreseeable future.

Japan, the world’s fifth-largest carbon emitter, joins the US and Canada in backtracking on the introduction of a carbon price.

Our impending national economic suicide is becoming lonelier by the day.

Europe?

They went over the cliff years ago.

Now we’re just watching the entrails gush out, and the blood spatter.

At least we can feel all noble and holy though … right?

UPDATE:

The AFR reports that electricity generators are warning of price blowouts in excess of that predicted by the Green-Labor-Wind-Shott gubbermint –

The head of Australia’s largest power generator has warned that electricity prices will rise more than the federal government predicts under an option to ration output in order to stay ­profitable under the carbon tax.

The comments by Macquarie Generation chief executive Russell Skelton highlight warnings by the power industry that distressed generators will start to manipulate the price of power in the National Electricity Market in order to stay afloat.

The price threat also casts doubt on the government’s tax cuts and ­welfare payment rises for consumers.

The compensation package is based only on the Treasury estimate of a 0.7 per cent rise in prices due directly to the carbon tax in 2012-13.

Figures released by the government yesterday show some generators will need to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to buy permits in advance to cover emissions when the scheme starts on July 1.

“We expect to go from a profitable business to an unprofitable business partly as a result of the carbon price,” Mr Skelton told The Australian Financial Review.

“Most of the analysis and modelling done indicates we will not be able to pass through somewhere between 20 to 40 per cent of the cost [of the carbon price],” he said. “If you have a $500 million bill you have to absorb 20 per cent, so there is $100 million right there and our projected profits this year are $100 million.”

As a result, Macquarie is considering options to stay profitable which include reducing output to increase the price of power on the National Electricity Market. “We have done it in the past to respond to varying market circumstances,” Mr Skelton said. “To the extent wholesale prices increase, you would expect it would increase the price to consumers.”

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Our Second Biggest Market Slumps, “Fundamentally On A Downward Slope”

30 Dec

Started out, just drinkin’ beer
I didn’t know how or why
Or what I was doin’ there
Just a couple more
Made me feel a little better
Believe me when I tell you
It was nothin’ to do with the letter

Sometimes I wonder
What all these chemicals
Are doin’ to my brain
Doesn’t worry me enough
To stop me from doin’ it agai-ai-ain
Wipin’ out brain cells
By the millions but I don’t care
It doesn’t worry me
Even though
I ain’t got a lot to spare-are-are

– The Nips Are Getting Bigger, Mental As Anything

If Treasurer Swan had enough grey matter to comprehend what is happening in the global economy Ponzi, then he’d probably be turning to the drink by now.

Because Japan’s economy is getting smaller.

From Bloomberg:

Japan’s rebound from the March earthquake and tsunami sputtered in November as production and retail sales tumbled, deepening the nation’s return to the deflation that first took hold a decade ago.

Industrial output slumped 2.6 percent from October, more than all the forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey of 29 economists, a government report showed today in Tokyo. Retail sales slid 2.1 percent…

“Fundamentally, Japan’s economy is on a downward slope,” said Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief economist at Itochu Corp. “Exports are falling and negatively impacting Japan’s economy due to the global slowdown.”

“Industrial production is unlikely to recover to” levels seen before the 2008 global financial crisis, Junko Nishioka, chief Japan economist at RBS Securities Japan Ltd., said before today’s reports.

Other data also suggest Japan’s recovery may be stalling. Exports fell for the second straight month in November from a year earlier and capital spending in the third quarter dropped 9.8 percent.

Japan is our second biggest export market.

According to DFAT, as of October 2011 … before the November slump reported by Bloomberg … our exports to Japan were worth 62% of our exports to China:

The world’s third largest economy is also the most debt-laden nation on the planet:

Click to enlarge

Back in June we brought you the warning that our biggest economic danger could be hiding in plain sight.

It’s worth recapping:

Buy a farm house in the middle of nowhere, pick up a gun or two, prepare for hyperinflation and brace for a catastrophic bankruptcy. Thirty minutes with hedge-fund manager J. Kyle Bass has you wanting to do all of the above.

The head of Dallas-based Hayman Advisors LP isn’t thinking about Greece or even Spain but Japan, the world’s third-biggest economy. He says his bet against Japanese government bonds is even “more compelling” than his gamble to sell short U.S. subprime-mortgage debt, which earned him $500 million in 2007.

Shorting Japan has been a losing proposition in recent years. But the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis altered the outlook for a nation whose debt is more than double the size of the economy. Bass says a collapse is inevitable, making Japan’s 10-year bonds — they yield 1.3 percent, among the lowest in the world — a natural for a bear investor.

His argument is this: Japan now spends half of its central- government revenue on servicing debt. This task won’t get any easier as the country’s population ages and shrinks — provided rates stay the same. What’s more, the price tag for the earthquake and its effects will far exceed Japan’s initial $300 billion estimate, pushing the country over the edge. In Bass’s view, the biggest asset bubble ever is hiding in plain sight.

Feel like a drink?

It’s almost NYE after all.

Is Our Biggest Economic Danger Hiding In Plain Sight?

14 Jun

In recent days we’ve looked at threats to Australia’s economic future from China and the USA.  And, we’ve looked closely at the internal threats from our over-indebted government, massively risky banking sector, and housing market bubble.

Now, a genius short-seller who made $500 million betting against the US housing market in 2007 has pointed out what may be Australia’s biggest external economic threat of all.

From Bloomberg:

Buy a farm house in the middle of nowhere, pick up a gun or two, prepare for hyperinflation and brace for a catastrophic bankruptcy. Thirty minutes with hedge-fund manager J. Kyle Bass has you wanting to do all of the above.

The head of Dallas-based Hayman Advisors LP isn’t thinking about Greece or even Spain but Japan, the world’s third-biggest economy. He says his bet against Japanese government bonds is even “more compelling” than his gamble to sell short U.S. subprime-mortgage debt, which earned him $500 million in 2007.

Shorting Japan has been a losing proposition in recent years. But the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis altered the outlook for a nation whose debt is more than double the size of the economy. Bass says a collapse is inevitable, making Japan’s 10-year bonds — they yield 1.3 percent, among the lowest in the world — a natural for a bear investor.

His argument is this: Japan now spends half of its central- government revenue on servicing debt. This task won’t get any easier as the country’s population ages and shrinks — provided rates stay the same. What’s more, the price tag for the earthquake and its effects will far exceed Japan’s initial $300 billion estimate, pushing the country over the edge. In Bass’s view, the biggest asset bubble ever is hiding in plain sight.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Japan is our second largest export market, and trading partner.  Not far behind China:

DFAT - Australia's Top Export markets and Trading Partners to April 2011

If J. Kyle Bass is right … and remember, he made a cool half a billion from correctly picking the weakest link back in 2007 … then we can chalk up Japan on our Ever-Present Threat board as well.

Possibly at the top of the list.

Japan: ‘Extremely Little’ Room For Stimulus

20 Mar

From Bloomberg:

National Strategy Minister Yoshito Sengoku said Japan has “extremely little” room for further stimulus spending because of the country’s financial condition.

“From a fiscal point of view, there’s extremely little room for such a thing,” Sengoku said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday when asked about the prospects for another spending plan. “We need to carefully watch whether the situation would go to such lengths.”

His remarks contrast with comments made this week by Financial Services Minister Shizuka Kamei, who urged the government to compile a stimulus package to bolster the deflation-plagued economy. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said on March 17 that he hadn’t discussed such a proposal.

Standard & Poor’s cut its outlook on Japan’s AA sovereign rating to “negative” in January, a move Sengoku described at the time as a “wake-up call” to repair the nation’s finances. Japan’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product is approaching 200 percent, the highest among developed nations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Japan is closer to the edge than any other major economy,” said Julian Jessop, chief international economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. “There is the risk that the higher the debt numbers are, the more another stimulus package is going to backfire by pushing up interest rates or by making people worry about the need for even bigger fiscal tightening in the future.”

Japan is Australia’s second largest trading partner.

While China has become our largest trading partner in recent times, it is interesting to note the latest trade figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

It seems our export trade with China has fallen sharply from Dec ’09 to Jan ’10.  And has been in slow decline since March 2009. That is a trend to watch closely.

There are many grave questions being raised about the sustainability of the China boom. And Japan’s economy is clearly in very deep trouble indeed.

So it is gross incompetence for our financial authorities – such as RBA Governor Glenn Stevens and Treasury Secretary Ken Henry – to continue to plan on our two largest trading partners being able to sustain our economy and get us out of debt in the years ahead.

Japan PM: Nation’s Fiscal State ‘Quite Severe’

5 Mar

From Reuters:

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said on Thursday there is no doubt that the nation’s fiscal state is quite severe.

“There is no doubt that the current situation is quite severe,” Hatoyama said in a parliamentary committee meeting.

Japan is Australia’s second largest trading partner.  In the December 2009 quarter we sold $38.2bn in exports to Japan. China is our largest trading partner – we sold $42.2bn in exports to China in the same quarter.

A further deterioration in Japan’s ‘quite severe’ financial situation, and/or the predicted bursting of the China real estate bubble, would have disastrous impacts on the Australian economy.

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