China To Use Pension Funds As $300 Billion “Plunge Protection Team”

One of the more troubling stories to hit the tape last week was that despite, or rather due to, roughly $100 billion in losses in the past 5 quarters, Japan’s gargantuan $1.4 trillion state pension fund, the GPIF, which has desperately been selling Japan’s best performing asset – Japanese Government Bonds – in order to buy local stocks and the Nikkei at its decade highs only to see its equity investment plunge, is now forced to buy even more stocks, i.e. double down, as part of a ridiculous rebalancing which will lead to even more losses.

Japan is not alone.

After China did everything to prop up its own stock market, including arresting hedge funders, sellers, “rumormongers”, halting short selling, eliminating futures trading, and ultimately culminating with the “Buttonwood SPV” in which the PBOC finally threw in the towel and admitted it was directly buying stocks,  we now learn that Chinese pensioners are about to become unwitting stock funds. Continue reading

Japan Is Fast Approaching the Quantitative Limits of Quantitative Easing

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Time for a Plan (Perpetual) B, says Jefferies.

The Bank of Japan is running out of government bonds to buy.

The central bank’s would-be counterparties have become increasingly unwilling to sell the debt that monetary policymakers have pledged to buy, and the most recently issued 30-year Japanese bond didn’t record a single trade during a session last week as existing owners opted to hoard their holdings.

The central bank in the land of the rising prices sun has set a target of 80 trillion yen ($733 billion) in government bond purchases per year in its continued attempts to slay deflation, an amount that’s more than double the pace of new bond issuance planned by the Ministry of Finance and about 16 percent of gross domestic product. Continue reading

Central Planners Are In A State of Panic

The central planners are in a state of fear and panic.  They are trying everything and anything to create market validation for their policies, watching with trepidation as their favored economic metrics fail to respond to all of their frenzied efforts.

They are so far over the tips of their skis right now that there’s nothing they won’t do. They’ve summarily thrown granny under the bus because they have this idea that negative real interest rates are the cure.  The cure for what?  The massive amounts of debts and imbalances their prior policies caused.  So savers are punished in the pursuit of policy.  You know, ‘for the greater good’ and all that.

They’ve spurred the greatest wealth gap ever in US history, greater even than at the extremes of the Great Depression, apparently without the slightest concerns for Plutarch’s ancient admonition that “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”

They’ve even gone so far in Europe as to now force negative nominal interest rates on savers, dispensing with their usual slight-of-hand of letting inflation steal from each unit of currency in their system.  When you’re panicking, there’s no time for subtlety.

They look the other way as “someone” dumps huge amounts of gold contracts into the wee hours of the night, seeking one thing and one thing only: lower prices.  But that’s okay because the central banks destroyed price discovery a long, long time ago. First by invalidating the price of money itself (by driving interest rates to zero), and then in everything else — most importantly risk. Continue reading