Summary: The Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), who correctly predicted the slow recovery, explains the slow growth in which the US and Japanese economies are mired, and the fantastic monetary experiment waged by central banks to prevent them slumping into recessions.
Appreciate the wonders of our time.
The recovery since 2008 has been difficult for predictions, both by bulls and bears. The bulls have repeatedly predicted accelerated growth and rising inflation. But the bears too-often predicted a recession (boldness is often expensive for forecasters). In September 2011 the ECRI staff predicted a recession in 2012. They repeated that call in the following months, and in November 2012 said the recession had began in July.
A few of us correctly predicted continued slow growth — no boom, no recession (e.g., see this from August 2013) — and our similarity to Japan (see this of mine from September 2014).
On balance the bears have more accurately seen the big picture than the bulls. Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, and the ECRI (me, too) saw this secular stagnation (see this from November 2013). And growth has been slow. Over the past 10 years (Q1 2006 to Q1 2016) real growth in gross domestic income (GDI) has been 2.3%/year. More importantly, growth in GDP per capita has been only 1.2%/year. As for the future, the Fed expects even slower long-term growth in real GDP — only 2%.
So we should listen to the ERCI’s perspective on the US economy, the Fed’s efforts to stimulate it, and the global economic context. The West is running one of the greatest economic experiments in history, with high stakes.
Summary: Japan was the first nation to enter a period of secular stagnation, deflationary tendencies, and fertility collapse. Now Europe and America are following (in our own ways). Decades of extreme monetary and fiscal stimulus have stabilized the economy, but at the cost of falling incomes for many of its people. Since we are on the same path, watch Japan to see the challenges we’ll face in the future. Abenomics’ failure gives Japan’s leaders nothing but harsh choices, but they appear paralyzed.
A State of Paralysis in Japan
Stratfor, 6 June 2016
Political and economic constraints at home and abroad have brought Japan’s government to a standstill, unable to enact the policies it needs. This paralysis reflects, in part, the limited options available to solve the country’s endemic economic problems. But it also is driven by the interests of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to bolster his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in July elections for the upper house of the Diet. Those factors have prompted a series of delays and avoidance of policy decisions that underscore the difficulties in tackling Japan’s economic woes in a charged political environment.
Political and economic considerations played a part in the decision, announced May 31, to delay plans to increase the consumption tax from 8% to 10%. Authorities had planned to implement this tax increase in April 2017 but will now do so in October 2019. In the past, Abe stressed the need for Japan to push ahead with the hike — barring major financial crisis or natural disaster — to address the country’s high national debt (around 245% of gross domestic product). But growing political opposition to the tax increase, not to mention economic indicators showing that the hike could push Japan’s sluggish economy into recession, left Abe with few options.
Summary: 2016 is the breakout year for cybercrime. Ransomware went global, the third major theft using the global banking SWIFT system, and a multi-million attack on Japan’s ATM’s network. Here Stratfor looks at the mechanics of crime-fighting against cyberthevies.
To Catch a Cyber Thief
Stratfor, 3 June 2016
- South Africa’s Standard Bank, so far the only institution to come forward as a victim of fraudulent withdrawals by an organized network, will not be able to recoup all of its $12.7 million in losses.
- Arresting the street criminals associated with unlimited operations will do little to stop future strikes, which will continue until the hackers behind the heist are found and detained.
- Nevertheless, authorities will likely apprehend the hackers behind the latest unlimited operation in Japan, though it may take years.