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Ian R. Campbell  -  Mar 18 01:00 PM 66 Posts 1 Follower 0 Following
Japan - Going Forward

In yesterday's e-mail I said I am increasingly focusing on what might be some of the 'specifics' of the economic consequences of the Japanese earthquake in both the near and longer term, and that I would include my current thoughts in today's e-mail.  Here they are:

·        nuclear power issues are obviously going to be debated going forward, not only Japan but broadly across many countries.  This may have a long-term impact on uranium prices on the downside, although I think the bigger issue is more likely to be cost on the nuclear reactor build side;

·        Japan will almost certainly face escalated national debt levels, which already are about two times Japanese GDP;

·        Japanese banks may face escalated loan defaults and savings withdrawals;

·        Japan's oil and natural gas imports are likely to increase for the foreseeable future;

·        Japan will face manufacturing plant shut-downs and slow-downs during the rebuild period and until rolling electrical blackouts are a thing of the past;

·        the Japanese populace will face a reduced standard of living until the electrical blackouts cease, and until food and water supply 'normalcy' are restored or largely restored;

·        some production may move permanently from Japan, to the benefit of other developed and developing countries;

·        if what has happened and is happening in Japan results in a slowdown of the world economy, base metal prices may be negatively affected.  If it doesn't, base metal prices might escalate from here;

·        Japan may be forced into an increased dependency on food imports, which could push food prices higher than they otherwise would be, with in turn could have other global 'social unrest' implications;

·        the U.S. Fed may be forced to continue to buy U.S. Treasuries after June of this year, the time frame it currently is committed to.  U.S. National debt issues are likely to exacerbate further;

·        heavy equipment companies such as Caterpillar are likely to see positive developments from the Japanese situation; and,

·        overall, I think risk to what I see as the fragile macro-economic and individual country (particularly the U.S. and EuroZone countries) has escalated on the negative side.

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Christian Jean  - Mar 18 01:14 PM4 Posts0 Followers0 Following
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In regards to:

"the U.S. Fed may be forced to continue to buy U.S. Treasuries after June of this year, the time frame it currently is committed to U.S. National debt issues are likely to exacerbate further"

I agree that the U.S. Fed will have no choice but to continue to buy treasuries for the following reasons...

  1. If I'm not mistaking, only nations are now currently buying treasuries and U.S. citizens are no longer buyers.  This drop in demand will force the Fed to intervene.
  2. From what I've heard, Japan will not sell its U.S. treasuries and contradictory to common belief, they may actually be buyers.  If so, I think this is an impossibility in the long run and will eventually be sellers, putting even more pressure on the Fed.
  3. The U.S. economy is not picking up as the government has lead to believe so in order to keep it going - at least according to Ben's plan - they will start QE3 some time before 2011.

But, my question to anyone knowledgeable in this field is in regards to the U.S. national debt ceiling.

Can the Fed continue to buy U.S. treasuries even though the U.S. is nearing its debt ceiling?  As most expect, congress will simply vote up the debt ceiling in a month or two to probably around $21 trillion or so.  But is the Fed constrained by that vote or could they declare QE3 before the debt ceiling is increased.







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