I wanted to test the correlations and interrelations on Japan. As it went through a different experience to the USA over the last half a century, did the same correlations in assets and the economy hold true? Data history is more limited than for the US, but sufficient to test. Correlation coefficients over +0.5 are considered strong positive correlations between two datasets, and some datasets have been scaled to share the same chart, where e.g. *3 or /10 is shown. Click on a chart to see it larger.
Firstly, I found the same five-way block correlation between interest rates, bond yields, money velocity, real commodities and inflation. Here are two pairings from that group:
As per for the US, I found this five-way block then produced the correlated-two of recession and unemployment. Below it can be seen how recession followed spikes in inflation, even if the spikes were low.
I also discovered the asset pairings are again found in Japan, with bond yields and commodities related, whilst real house prices and real equities go their own shared path. I show here real stocks and real house prices:
Uniting those two assets into a composite in the next chart, demographic trends again appear to have played a key role in their secular trending.
That Japan did not participate in the secular stocks bull through to 2000 and the secular housing bull through to 2005 that the USA did, makes sense in light of the demographic trends in the period from 1990 to 2005. Additionally, the speculative peaks in Japanese stocks and housing circa 1989/1990 (around the human excitement solar maximum of 1989) were fairly extreme ‘greed’ overthrows, which then need time to washout on the other side.
However, demographic trends overall collectively turned up again from around 2005 and should continue positively until circa 2020. Japanese equities effectively made a triple nominal bottom in 2003, 2008/9 and 2011/12, whilst real estate has been basing since 2010, but a sustained rise in risk assets in Japan did not materialise until November 2012 onwards and I believe this sharp move is a belated catch up to the demographics. If 2013-to-date was added to the above chart we would see a significant pull-up in the stocks/housing composite.
Drawing in bond yields and real commodities to make a 4-way risk asset composite, and as per the USA comparing against the quadruple-agent composite of sunspots, geomagnetism, demographics and real interest rates, there is again a notable mapping between the two (again, 2013 should provide a belated pull-up to the model: a divergence being rectified):
The prediction will be refined over time to validate or invalidate those underlying assumptions and patterns, but the overall uptrend is due to the demographic trends that stand to boost risk assets until circa 2020 and then the next solar maximum should continue the upwards pull until circa 2025, implying there is a good chance of an overall secular bull in stocks and real estate in Japan for the years ahead.
I therefore suggest that the government’s recent doubling down on stimulus is in fact not required, and so it has the potential to supercharge proceedings. So far the yen has dropped sharply, bonds yields have taken off and inflation expectations have risen significantly:
As Japan is a net commodity importer, the sharp drop in the Yen pushes up import prices for energy and other resources, so they already have commodity price inflation despite commodities recently underperforming. If commodities now rise, as per my forecasts, then there is a danger that Japan suffers major commodity-based inflation, which should be correlated with money velocity soaring, and an inflationary feedback spiral develops. The government should then accordingly raise rates, but cannot raise them too fast or too far because of the record debt servicing. That, collectively, is why there is a hyperinflation risk. If problematic inflation does erupt then eventually the risk is of a stock market crash. However, until then (and maybe it does not come to pass), stocks are likely to do well based on demographics and a belated catch up, and they should also perform well under ‘some’ inflation. So the question is whether stocks will pullback sufficiently to offer an opportunity to get in or add more. I am long the Nikkei, but do not feel comfortable adding more on the long side at this point when stocks have risen almost 100% in 6 months. Conversely, despite the trade doing very well at the moment, I do not wish to take profits as I believe the major rally to be justified, and expect more gains ahead. So I stay put for now and we’ll see how things develop.