201805.16
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And Now For Something Completely Different

Back in February, Japan’s Cabinet Office reported that Real GDP in Japan had grown in Q4 2017 for the eighth consecutive quarter. It was the longest streak of non-negative GDP since the 1980’s. Predictably, this was hailed as some significant achievement, a true masterstroke of courage and perseverance. It was taken as a sign that…

201803.06
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What About IDR?

On October 31, 1997, the IMF announced a rescue for Indonesia. Though it was Thailand who caught the Asian flu first, it was this latter country where a monetary line in the sand was drawn. Nobody wanted to find out what a complete wipeout of the Indonesia rupiah might mean for financial conditions across Asia….

201803.06
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Questions Not of Success, But of the Effectiveness of Illusion

Last week, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda unleashed a mini-controversy with remarks he now claims were taken somewhat out of context. On March 2, speaking before Japan’s parliament, the central banker sure sounded quite confident: Right now, the members of the policy board and I think that prices will move to reach 2 percent…

201704.19
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Numbness Is How It Happens

The more I look back the more I am convinced that this version of “reflation” was born Japanese. It all seemed to turn around in early July 2016, the very week that whispers of the, for some, long-sought “big one.” It was all over the financial press all around the world. Having gone as far…

201703.31
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Systemic Depression Is A Clear Choice

Looking back on late 2015, it is perfectly clear that policymakers had no idea what was going on. It’s always easy, of course, to reflect on such things with the benefit of hindsight, but even contemporarily it was somewhat shocking how complacent they had become as a global group. In the US, the Federal Reserve…

201611.18
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The Established Root Of So Many Lost Decades

After being pummeled by a concurrent stock and real estate crash, Japanese officials by late 1992 felt that enough was enough. The Nikkei 225 stock index that was nearly 40,000 toward the end of 1989 had crashed to below 15,000 by August 1992. From that point, however, Japanese stocks had started rising again. Through the…

201602.19
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NIRP Backlash…In Japan

Maybe after a couple generations the Japanese have finally had enough. Perhaps QQE was large enough so as to leave no doubt that not only did it fail, but that it was the same result registered time and again before. The Bank of Japan has promulgated eleven QE’s dating back to 2001, but this last…

201602.08
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Why Japan Went NIRP: No More Doubts About QQE

When real household spending fell by 4.6% in April 2014 it was cause for concern. That was the first month after the tax hike hit and the decline in spending was much larger than anticipated (by economists, at least). Despite the heavy toll, Bank of Japan officials remained (outwardly) wholly unconcerned over what was believed…

201510.21
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Kuroda’s Rebuke Came Awfully Swift

There must be a universal speech template included in the monetary textbook that is shared among the various central banks. On September 28, 2015, Haruhiko Kuroda, Governor of the Bank of Japan, delivered a speech that wasn’t just similar to the press conference Janet Yellen had endured only a week or so before, it was…