Ich habe oft auf die Parallelen zu Japan verwiesen. Das Land ist uns einfach 20 Jahre voraus und wir werden dort am ehesten sehen, wie das Endspiel aussieht. Auch für uns. Quasi die Auflösung unserer Eiszeit-Falle. Hier ein Beitrag, auf den mich ein Leser hingewiesen hat. Mit der entscheidenden Frage: Japan Debt Mountain: does it matter?
- „For almost 25 years, Japan’s debt burden has been the poster child of what would happen to others if capital is misallocated, bubbles burst and then clearance and required reforms are either delayed or not implemented. Indeed, at more than 5x GDP, Japan is shouldering a greater debt burden than other key jurisdictions. It is also facing severe demographic challenges, while its labour market remains constrained and the state maintains a sway over the private sector.“ – bto: nicht so viel anders als die Lage bei uns!
- „(…) as the rest of the world joined Japan in secular stagnation and unorthodox monetary policies, it is no longer perceived as an exception but rather as a pointer to the future. Japan’s success in navigating disruption, deep financialization and permanent overcapacity is now studied and imitated. While there are local nuances, Japan shows the way forward. QEs associated with the Fed were invented in Japan more than a decade earlier. The same applies to fiscal stimuli, collapsing velocity of money and strong disinflation. Whatever are the policies, Japan has already tried them.“ – bto: und blieb in der Eiszeit gefangen!
- „Japan is far more advanced in fully monetizing its debt by utilizing multiple asset classes, from bonds to equities. It also accepts that normalization is not feasible, and unlike the Fed, it has no illusions that rates could ever rise or that immigration and deep labour market reforms are either possible or desirable. When the US is focusing on returning outdated factories, Japan is building for the future, when labour inputs would no longer be the key.“ – bto: Ich habe immer schon gesagt, dass es smarter ist, auf Automatisierung zu setzen!
- „Even financial repression that Japan practised for decades is becoming a global norm, nowhere more so than in Eurozone. We expect BoJ to quietly abandon its inflation targets while maintaining flexibility in asset acquisitions to keep cost of finance close to zero. This would be a recipe for continuing twilight for years to come, with debt burden neither derailing the economy nor financial markets, even as BoJ assets rise beyond 100 % of GDP (~45 %+ of JGBs).“ – bto: was bedeutet: Es geht für immer? Und auch die Assetmärkte fallen nie?
- „Given that the CBs are not economic agents, their bids and bond acquisitions are not designed to discover appropriate pricing levels, but rather to support governments’ objectives (usually to simulate economies by lowering cost of capital). In the past, such aggressive interventionist policies were unique and infrequent events (accompanying wars or other major dislocations), but over the last two decades, they have become an increasingly acceptable tool in the governments’ armoury. Japan has been leading from the front for more than two decades, followed by the rest of the world after GFC.“ – bto: Es ist die Wunderlösung über die Notenbankbilanz. Schmerzfrei.
- „As can be seen below, despite massive rise in the governments’ gross and net debt burden, the proportion of state spending that is dedicated to servicing interest has declined significantly over the last decade and is now below 5% of total expenditure.“ – bto: Und bei uns sieht es ähnlich aus:
- „The extent to which BoJ has become the key to Japan’s perceived longer-term sustainability can be seen from the explosion of its balance sheet and how its asset base increased at a pace much faster than state requirements. BoJ has by now accumulated almost 45 % of the entire JGB’s market (vs 10 % only five years ago), and its balance sheet is rapidly closing on 100 % of the country’s GDP (vs 37 % G4 average). Also, BoJ is not just buying state paper but it has become actively involved in the corporate and ETF (equities) markets. BoJ already controls 75 % of all of Japanese ETFs (although only 4 % of overall equities) and as much as 15 % of the Japanese corporate bonds.“ – bto: Das ist doch super. Die BoJ kauft alles auf mit Geld, welches sogar noch akzeptiert wird.
- „If public sector did not step in, the country would have undergone a massive and uncontrolled deflationary bust. Instead, Japan had simply kept its nominal demand intact, despite the private sector sustaining losses (real estate and equities) of equivalent to 100 % of Japan’s GDP in ‘90/91 (or ~US$5 trillion). For perspective, consider that the GFC caused initial contraction of only around 1/3 of the US GDP. In other words, bursting of an asset bubble in the ‘90s Japan was at least three times more powerful than the GFC’s impact.“ – bto: was sicherlich beeindruckend ist. Richtig ist, dass es sonst eine Depression gegeben hätte.
- „It has become a land where the central bank has been effectively cancelling national debt by acquiring more securities than the government needed to fund its deficits. While this poses many questions (such as ability of life and insurance companies to price their products, in the absence of a viable JGB market), it also implies that Japan is shifting closer to embracing far more extreme (but necessary) policies, such as minimum income guarantees and abandoning any further consumption taxes.“ – bto: Es kostet ja auch nichts!
- „In the world where labour inputs are becoming increasingly less relevant and where robotics, automation, AI and social capital are likely to play an increasingly important role, even the traditional argument of a negative impact of demographics no longer dooms Japan to oblivion and collapse. It also implies that the conventional arguments in favour of large-scale increase in immigration is not only irrelevant but is likely to be faulty on both theoretical and practical grounds.“ – bto: Genauso ist es! Es ist dumm, auf Immigration zu setzen. Aber unsere Politiker checken das nie.
- „The objective in Japan is to maintain per capita income rather than generating growth to accommodate a rising population and keeping society intact. The extent to which Japan would be able to achieve this objective would depend critically on Japanese corporates and its overall economy maintaining productivity gains.“ – bto: Und die werden kommen. Denn Japan investiert in Bildung!
Vorher beschreibt der Autor, weshalb Japan so gut dasteht, allen Unkenrufen zum Trotz. Schauen wir doch mal, ob wir die so einfach auf Europa übertragen können:
- Japan is a homogeneous society, with relatively egalitarian income and wealth distribution, and hence, pain has been shared fairly evenly, thus preserving economic and societal coherence. – bto: Wir bestehen aus verschiedenen Ländern mit sehr ungleichem Wohlstand!
- Japan maintained credibility by selectively boosting and adjusting national commitments to elderly and medical care while irregularly pushing up consumption tax. Although some of these measures were counter-productive on a longer-term basis, they have placated global markets. – bto: Hier hätten wir es mit Umverteilung auch zwischen Ländern zu tun. Machbar?
- Japan borrows in its own currency and the bulk of JGB holders are Japanese residents (over 88%). This massively reduces the degree of external vulnerability. – bto: Die EZB ist zwar die Eurozonen-Notenbank, die Eurozone ist aber nicht homogen.
- BoJ has been exceptionally aggressive in driving money supply up and cost of capital down. This aggressiveness coincided with the growing global disinflationary trend, which eroded bond yields and significantly reduced the proportion of the government spending that is spent financing interest commitments. – bto: Bleibt die Frage, ob der Trend zur Disinflation weiter besteht?
Fazit: Japan mag den Weg weisen. Doch können wir ihn auch gehen?