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IT’S THE EUROZONE THAT’S TURNING JAPANESE…OR MAYBE WE ALL ARE

By George Wannabe, MacroWonders

Earlier today the headline *GERMAN TWO-YEAR NOTE YIELD DROPS BELOW JAPAN’S FOR FIRST TIME* hit the wires and, yes currently sitting at below 0.1%, it is indeed very close to turing negative. As illustrated below it took 20 years for the German Bund to go Japanese so forgive me for trying to make a comparison.

German 2 year yield drops below Japan’s for the first time

Much has been written about the US Economy going Japanese and there are indeed some worrying signs. And for all the Bernanke bashing, that is one thing he really understands and will fight aggressively.

Unfortunately, Euro zone policymakers and the German’s inflation phobias are making all they can for Europe to get into an entrenched deflationary spiral.

As shown below (via FTAlphaville), every time there is the slightest form of relief the Bundesbank calls for an exit strategy!

Bundesbank making sure Spanish yields do not come in

And listening to the likes of Axel Weber or successors you might think inflation for Europe “as a whole” is in runaway mode. Well it is not. Like the case for German bond yields, inflation in the Euro zone is sitting at a Japanese style 20 year low.

Eurozone Core Inflation at 20 years low

Since there no real signs of inflation, the German Hawks say you cannot inject such liquidity in the system without creating runaway inflation at some point. And for all those trillions injected and that explosion in the monetary base, M2 for the Euro zone is also sitting at a multi decade low. And as you can see in the chart below, the white line and white circle shows the Money Supply crash Japan experienced in the 90s while the orange line and red circle shows the EXACT same thing happening to the EU M2 growth in 2008. In the case of  Japan it never came back!

Eurozone M2 growth crashed in the exact same way that Japanese money supply did in the 90s

The ECB policy is not creating asset bubbles either. In the Eurozone as whole real estate is horrendous.

FTSE EUROFISRT REAL ESTATE INDEX

While Equities are in Total NIKKEI mode:

EURO STOXX 50

Not even in Germany have inflation expectations run out of control. They are well in check and in fact well below the ECB or Bundesbank mandates and going lower…

German 10 year inflation expectations (breakevens)

And no the economy is not showing signs of overheating… leading indicators appear to be rolling over while already sitting at a decade low…

EU leading indicator

PMIs are already below 50…

EUROZONE PMI

 And to those who think Germany’s ecomony is overheating, its latest PMI was also below 50 and even below the Euro Zone average “as a whole”:

German PMI

And it is no surprise since most of Germany’s exports are going to the Euro Zone itself….So yes, I do think the savage austerity and the Bundesbank members lack of solidarity could push the Euro Zone into deflation.  In fact, it looks like it has started already and this is probably why the EURO is resilient despite the increasing risk premium. Because, as we have explained on many occasions, should the Euro Zone go Japanese, deflation would cause both Real Interest Rates and the Euro to spike.

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