The fall in retail sales should not be surprising. Workers just endured a tax increase and are cutting back in response. Economists like to say that the consumer is being more cautious because of a lack of confidence, but this is not the way a household works. If that was the case, savings would rise as sales fell. People just have less money to spend. There is no need to over think this. The drop in consumer confidence highlighted in the chart above confirms this.
Commentators are giving this statement much more significance than it deserves. The reason the U.S. put Japan on notice is because it had to do something. American unions believe that the cheaper yen will destroy jobs in the U.S., while the South Koreans are certainly in Obama’s ear about the yen’s depreciation. None of this will change the BoJ’s policies or permanently halt the fall of the yen.
Moreover, the move in the yen has a lot to do with the economic fundamentals as we addressed months ago: Yen Weakens in Line with Fundamentals | DARECONOMICS.
Just because Greece’s review has been completed does not mean that the crisis-stricken country will receive the next bailout payment. If you read the article, the eurocrat in charge actually said that conditions still needed to be met. The next payment is €2.8bn in cash to support the government with the balance being bonds necessary to recapitalize the banks. Note that the bank restructuring was supposed to happen in December, the last time that we endured this nonsense. As a reminder to everyone, the Greek economy is still contracting with no end in sight:
This plan is not exactly radical. The use of the euphemism “ring-fence” obscures the true nature of the plan. Basically, 10% of GDP will be reallocated from other budgetary needs and given to the banks. Since there will be an uproar, the taxpayer will have to receive something for his hard-earned money. This would entail ownership making this a large bank nationalization plan. Nationalization is not radical and has happened in Europe fairly recently.
Will it be enough?