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Largest Central Banks Now Hold Over 15 Trillion in Fictitious Capital

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 - 8:40am

I could not help noticing that China’s imports from Japan fell 16.2pc in December. Imports from Taiwan fell 6.2pc. The strong yen strikes again: Honda decides to build a high-performance hybrid Acura in Ohio – instead of its home nation of Japan. The firm’s continued shift in production to North American capacity signals a wider trend of Japan’s automakers to battle currency-related losses by moving operations.

Japan is on life support. The largest buyers of their debt are now sellers. Japan Post Holdings holds almost 3 trillion dollars of JGB’s and GPIF, the retirement fund, holds over $1 Trillion of JGB’s. Japan Post is the largest financial institution in the world and has 75% of assets in JGB’s and now wants to diversify. The retirement fund is liquidating $80+ billion per year to pay out benefits. Just read that the banks across Japan have 25% of assets in JGB’s and the IMF is coming over this summer to do an interest rate risk analysis if rates were to move 1% (double) what would be the impact to the capital of the banks? Are the banks going to move to 30%, no.

The insurance companies are big holders and the people are getting old and dying. The savings rate is at 2% and headed negative (also demographics). The trade surplus has turned to deficit. The budget for this year was to have more JGB issuance than government revenue (about 50% of spending to be borrowed), then the earthquake hit. There are projections that the end total may approach two thirds of total spending will be borrowed for the current fiscal year. There are no new large buyers to replace the above and to sell bonds outside of Japan would require much higher rates. The Japanese people have trusted their financial institutions to the government and the trust has been violated. The money is gone and the government is not fiscally responsible. This party is about to end. John Mauldin called Japan, “A bug looking for a windshield” and Kyle Bass, “A giant ponzi scheme that is running out of time”.

This chart is actually dated, these CB own these markets, use thin capital bases, and are going to be handed the losses on the fictitious capital they hold. Tattoo this on your forehead, CBs hold well over 15 trillion in securities and loans to banks of various and often dubious quality, an immense gamble. These are all ultimately the responsibility of the sponsoring country, and represents a monster contingent liability. That will be the end game.

Barry Ritholz has each CB chart.

eight central banks balance sheets

eight central banks balance sheets 2

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