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Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

Why Would China and Japan Stop Buying Our Debt?

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 17th, 2010 12:19 PM |

Our wizards in Washington should not be so naive to think foreign buyers, especially from Asia, will continue to finance our debt at current rates and at current levels. News yesterday that China is no longer the largest holder of our Treasury debt should not be discounted.

What are the ramifications for our nation if China and other foreign buyers decline to purchase our debt or – even worse – actually start selling even more of their current holdings? A quick and violent move higher in our domestic interest rates.

Don’t think it could happen? Think again. (more…)

The Message of the 2yr Treasury, Deflation, and Japan

Posted by Larry Doyle on November 20th, 2009 2:20 PM |

Most eyes are fixated on the rise in equities and commodities and, in turn, point to those markets as indicators of an incipient economic recovery. In doing so, we neglect the movements within the bond market, specifically the U.S. Treasury market, at our peril. What is the Treasury market saying? A lot. Let’s look and listen.

The 2yr Treasury note specifically yields a paltry-like .71%. Why so little? I thought investors were more inclined to invest in risk-based assets? Why are they buying a 2yr Treasury note at such a miniscule return?

In my opinion, the front end of the Treasury curve, typically referenced by the yield on the 2yr note, is telling us the Fed will be on hold for a protracted period. This point we already knew. Tell me something I don’t know, LD. The 2yr Treasury note is indicating that inflation expectations are currently constrained. You probably knew that, also. Two strikes LD, you get one more pitch. The 2yr Treasury specifically and bonds in general are telling me that deflationary pressures in our economy are growing. What do you think? While most economists and analysts talk about inflation and inflation expectations, we have not heard much about deflation lately. Welcome to Sense on Cents. (more…)

David Einhorn Provides Sense on Cents

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 21st, 2009 11:52 AM |

David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital

David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital

In the midst of my ‘navigating the economic landscape,’ I thoroughly enjoy reading the work of intelligent people.  While I certainly never agree with all that I read, intelligent people force me to think and review my own opinions and beliefs. That process is always healthy. I also enjoy sharing the insights and perspectives of these people with those who read Sense on Cents. High five to KD of 12th Street Capital for bringing just such an individual to my attention.

David Einhorn runs Greenlight Capital, an investment management firm. He recently delivered an address entitled “Liquor Before Beer…In the Clear.” For those interested in an overview of David’s thoughts, I will clip those points I found most informative. For those with a keen interest in the economy and markets, the linked nine page document is a ‘must read.’  I agree with David’s views and welcome highlighting some of his points. Here are excerpts from David Einhorn’s speech:

1. The lesson that I have learned is that it isn’t reasonable to be agnostic about the big picture. For years I had believed that I didn’t need to take a view on the market or the economy because I considered myself to be a “bottom up” investor. Having my eyes open to the big picture doesn’t mean abandoning stock picking, but it does mean managing the long-short exposure ratio more actively, worrying about what may be brewing in certain industries, and when appropriate, buying some just-in-case insurance for foreseeable macro risks even if they are hard to time.

2. As I see it, there are two basic problems in how we have designed our government. The first is that officials favor policies with short-term impact over those in our long-term interest because they need to be popular while they are in office and they want to be reelected. In recent times, opinion tracking polls, the immediate reactions of focus groups, the 24/7 news cycle, the constant campaign, and the moment-to-moment obsession with the Dow Jones Industrial Average have magnified the political pressures to favor short-term solutions.

3. The second weakness in our government is “concentrated benefit versus diffuse harm” also known as the problem of special interests. Decision makers help small groups who care about narrow issues and whose “special interests” invest substantial resources to be better heard through lobbying, public relations and campaign support. The special interests benefit while the associated costs and consequences are spread broadly through the rest of the population.

4. Americans understand that the Washington-Wall Street relationship has rewarded the least deserving people and institutions at the expense of the prudent.

5. The proper way to deal with too-big-to-fail, or too inter-connected to fail, is to make sure that no institution is too big or inter-connected to fail. The test ought to be that no institution should ever be of individual importance such that if we were faced with its demise the government would be forced to intervene. The real solution is to break up anything that fails that test. (more…)

Are We Turning Japanese?

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 21st, 2009 4:08 PM |

Many market participants and economists are very concerned that the United States has made many of the same economic blunders experienced by Japan during the 1990s. Japan experienced a period known as “The Lost Decade.”

Are decisions now being made in Washington a precursor to a similar scenario here in the United States? Many people think so. A friend shared a piece which highlights some of the major social and economic problems in Japan. Obviously the United States has a far different culture, society, and economic base than Japan, but will our fiscal deficits and our current policies lead us in the same direction as Japan? This piece, written by Tom Dyson, touches upon some of the social and economic dynamics at work in Japan. I think it will cause you to pause and reflect on our situation here in the United States. Are we making decisions and enacting policies which will cause a similar outcome? (more…)






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