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Sunday, December 23, 2012 8:46 PM


Yen Declines Following Shinzo Abe's Threat to Change Japanese Law; An Idle Threat?


A very serious question that investors face today regards whether Japan is or isn't serious about politicians taking over Japan's central bank.

Personally, I think the politicians are serious, as well as "seriously wrong".

If you think that I am wrong, please consider Yen Declines After Abe Says He May Change BOJ Law.

The yen declined versus its peers after incoming Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said he will consider changing the law on the central bank unless it boosts its inflation target to 2 percent next month.

Abe said on Japan’s Fuji Television yesterday that he will consider revising the law governing the Bank of Japan if it fails to increase its inflation target from 1 percent at its January meeting. He is poised to become prime minister after his Liberal Democratic Party’s coalition secured a majority in elections on Dec. 16.

Abe has called on the BOJ to pursue “unlimited easing” to help end deflation and revive growth. BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa and his board last week refrained from doubling the central bank’s 1 percent inflation target, while expanding its asset-purchase program by 10 trillion yen ($118 billion) to 76 trillion yen.
Idle Threat?

I see no indication whatsoever this is an idle threat. The counter-argument in the form of a question is "what good did a 1% inflation target by the Bank of Japan do?"

The real question pertains not to the target but actual actions. After all, policy could be 20% instead of 2% but unless either the government or the central bank backs up the pronouncement with actions, talk is meaningless.

I happen to think Shinzo Abe is nuts enough on this go around, to do what he didn't do the first time he was prime minister.

Moreover, my general belief is that statements by politicians regarding what they will or will not do are likely to be most accurate at times their policies will do the most damage.

In this case, Shinzo Abe's threat, if carried out, would destroy Japan.

I take that threat very seriously.

You are free to disagree, but first consider ...


Bear in mind that nothing moves in a straight line. The Yen has declined significantly, and a snapback rally may (or may not), happen at any time. Longer term, I see no reason to change my forecast of a declining Yen.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

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