Japanese hedge fund managers share insider views on Abenomics
Following the LDP's landslide victory in the 2012 general election, Shinzo Abe became Japan's Prime Minister again on 26 December 2012. In March 2013, he appointed Haruhiko Kuroda as the governor of the Bank of Japan. Kuroda is viewed as “an independent thinker, light-years from the consensus-seeking bureaucrats who have dominated Japanese policymaking for 20 years.” Already in the first meeting of the Bank of Japan council, Kuroda announced a monetary stimulus roughly three times larger relative to the size of the Japanese economy than the Fed’s quantitative easing in the U.S.
Abe describes his economical policies (“Abenomics”) using the analogy of the ”Three Arrows": monetary policy, fiscal policy and structural reform with the ultimate aim of encouraging private investment and consumption. The third arrow will be fired only if Abe wins the Upper House election in July.
In the first quarter of 2013, Japan's economy grew at an annualized pace of 3.5%, possibly the highest growth rate in the G7. The Nikkei index is up almost 80% since bottoming six months ago, and during this time the yen has been in a downward slide against the dollar.
At the 2013 Opalesque Japan Roundtable on April 24th in Tokyo, local Japanese hedge fund managers put the success of Abenomics in a historical background, explaining why it does not really surprise them. The group also discussed:
What’s “different” about Japan this time?
Is the current boom sustainable? What are the drivers, and how long will it run?
Which sectors offer the best opportunities?
When exactly did the market sentiment towards Japan change?
Why can Abe, other than most of his preceding prime ministers, actually succeed in bringing about the much needed structural reforms, the Third Arrow?
Why should investors consider Japanese hedge funds?
How do the Japanese themselves view and react to Abenomics?
Will the yen continue to depreciate and with what consequences?
Which investors were in this current “Japan trade”?
But what about Japan's debt time bomb? Peter Tasker's scenario lays out what could happen at the point when the BoJ holds “a very large” amount of government bonds.
Meet the participants of the Roundtable:
Chris Wells, White & Case (now with Bingham McCutchen)
Masahiro Koshiba, UMJ
Peter Tasker, Arcus Research
Rory Kennedy, Rogers Advisory
Yasuhito Doi, Astmax Asset Management
The Opalesque 2013 Roundtable Series is sponsored by Eurex and Taussig Capital.
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