Tuesday, September 11, 2012


China has been reducing their exposure to US debt while Japan has been buying. The Fed, of course, has been printing money at insane rates, but that's another story. Here's the relevant chart from ZeroHedge.

We're spending lots of Japanese money on "infrastructure". Forward!

Japan is totally buried in debt. Their debt levels are not just unsustainable, they are positively unstable. When their house of cards falls apart, they're going to ... sell, Sell, SELL! And what do they have to sell? Well, for starters, they've got a trillion dollars of our bonds.

Not to worry, though. The Fed has been stocking up on lightweight oil to keep their printing presses humming at top speed. They'll be able to sop up all that excess supply of Treasuries with not problems at all!

We're saved!


tim eisele said...

That graph could be straight out of "How to Lie with Statistics". He's picked his y-axis to make it look like the Chinese holdings have dropped by almost half while the Japanese holdings have nearly tripled, when in fact it is just an 11% drop for the Chinese and a 22% increase for the Japanese. And what is the "difference between the two" bar graph supposed to prove, other than to make a "scary" fast-changing graph?

When I see people pulling this kind of crap, I think that they are trying to panic me. I don't appreciate it, and it doesn't inspire trust.

K T Cat said...

I can see what you're saying, but I didn't feel that way myself. I'm usually pretty attuned to that, too. I knew the Chinese were cutting back, but the fact that the Japanese have increased their holdings by $200B was a bit of a surprise.

Still, the overall issue stands. The Japanese are right on the razor's edge with their debt. Having someone who's going to need lots and lots of ready cash really soon and holds your debts is a recipe for problems.

tim eisele said...

That's the other thing. The Japanese have this huge debt. That's true enough. So why on earth would the Japanese government be buying US bonds? What do they get by going deeper into debt to buy somebody else's debt? This makes zero sense. Which makes me wonder whether things are being misrepresented here. Is that graph showing Japanese *government* holdings of US debt? Or is it showings holdings of US debt by people who *happen to be in Japan*? I can't tell, and he doesn't explain. And I'm not turning up any discussion anywhere of whether (or why) the Japanese government would do such a daft thing.

K T Cat said...

My bet is that the Yen had appreciated too much against the Dollar, so they sold Yen-denominated bonds and bought Dollar-denominated ones. Or something like that. I might have that backwards, but it looks like a currency value manipulation thing.