Friday, October 8, 2010

Japan, Currency Wars and Gold

Once again, the Japanese government has announced foolish plans to re-inflate the economy.  When will these people ever learn? They keep trying this (and have been for the last twenty years) and we keep getting the same results: deflation and stagnation. See  "Japan's Two Lost Decades About to Become Three."

The New York Times reports:

Japan's Cabinet on Friday approved 5.05 trillion yen ($61 billion) in new economic stimulus, the latest in a string of measures to shore up the country's lethargic economy that has been battered by a surging yen.
The plan also called for funding to secure rare earths needed for Japan's advanced manufacturing after China last month imposed a de facto export ban on the minerals amid a territorial dispute between the two Asian giants.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan's new package aims to boost Japan's gross domestic product by 0.6 percentage points, create or save up to 500,000 jobs and take other steps to help small and medium sized businesses.
It comes just days after the central bank cut its key interest rate to virtually zero. Last month, the Bank of Japan also intervened in the currency market in what appears to have been a fruitless attempt to rein in the strong yen — which hit another 15-year high against the dollar this week.

It's the same old tried and failed policies of the past. This chart shows just how futile Japan's currency intervention was the other day over the longer term view of things:

In Japan, exports are down, factory output is down and the yen is rising. Throw on top of this, the Japanese government adding onto our already massive debt burden.

Mish writes:

Japan is in debt to the tune of 200% of GDP, which is all it has to show for all its Keynesian and Monetarist stimuli over the past decade. So what does Japan do but toss another $61 billion into the fire, fresh on the heels of an $11 billion stimulus plan.

$72 billion total may not sound like much these days, but it is a sizable chunk of money for Japan's economy. Supposedly these stimuli will "boost employment, help small and medium sized businesses, and support regional economies".

If you live in Japan and you don't have gold, then maybe now is a good time to buy

The currency wars that are going on now mean that gold will rise and people like you and me will have to foot the bill for these failed policies.

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