“By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.” --Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Japanese Equities closed down -2.1% last week and have been making a series of lower-highs from their leverage-cycle peak for more than 2 decades. Japanese housewives are not happy.
In an especially interesting survey from the Sompo Japan Life Insurance Companylast week, it appears that Japanese housewives are getting plugged by global inflation. Their secret savings (or what the Japanese called hesokuri) fell -18% in 2010 to their lowest levels since late 2007. Not ironically, that’s also when US Consumption rolled into the red for the 1st time after 64 consecutive quarters (or 13 years) of being positive.
As Ludwig von Misessaid, inflation is a deliberate policy that government people choose without openly stating it to the public. Whether or not a humble looking man with a beard calls it that or not from his perch upon-high at the US Federal Reserve is of no concern to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, the large majority of the world’s population doesn’t consider US owner’s equivalent rent (42% of US CPI) inflation.
Whether they be Japanese housewives or folks in India and Indonesia (the 2nd and 4th largest country populations in the world, respectively), energy and food prices matter – big time.
In the Japanese survey, vegetable prices, energy bills, and higher tobacco taxes ranked #1, #2, and #3 as top concerns. In Japan, don’t forget that it’s the women who make most of the budgeting decisions in Japanese households (my colleague Darius Dale and I scoured the survey looking for all of the offsetting goodies Japanese women found associated with Japanese style Quantitative Guessing (QG), but couldn’t find any).