If you needed another reason to buy stocks, trust in the growth meme, and have your faith in Abenomics confirmed… look away. Japanese Machine orders for December just printed -15.7% in December – the biggest MoM plunge since 1992. This is the biggest miss to expectations since 2006 and what is considerably more problematic for Abe et al. is that YoY expectations of a core machine order rise of 17.4% was hopelessly missed with a small 6.7% gain (and this is data that excludes more volatile orders).
As Bloomberg notes, core machine orders are an indicator of future capital expenditure and it seems, just as in the US, that thanks to “stocks” now being considered central bank policy tools that capex no longer means productive capital use… it means buybacks, dividends, and shareholder recaps in any which way we can. How was the weather in Japan in December?
But while collapsing machine orders are “completely irrelevant”, even if a plunge of this magnitude usually portends a recession, what should be far more troubling to the Kool aid addicts is if the BOJ were to announce that just like the Fed, it too is tapering its Open-ended QE ambitions. Considering this is precisely what BOJ board member Kiuchi just did, that relentless USDJPY meltup overnight may not be such a slamdunk.
From Market News…
Bank of Japan board member Takahide Kiuchi, who is against a rigid two-year timeframe for achieving 2% inflation, said side-effects of an additional easing would be bigger than its positive effects if the economy were deviating only slightly downward from the BOJ’s recovery scenario, the Nikkei reported. Kiuchi, a former Nomura Securities economist, told the daily in an interview that it is difficult to predict how much a further easing would push up consumer prices, and that wages should rise in line with price gains.
He also said the BOJ “should make a cautious decision as to whether to continue or scale back” the current aggressive easing at the end of the target period to hit stable 2% inflation in about two years from April 2013.
No Panic yet but JPY and NKY are fading…