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做空日本时机已到? Hedge funds say this time shorting Japan will succeed

来源:www.en369.cn  作者:英语作文网  时间:2012-12-03  

做空日本时机已到? Hedge funds say this time shorting Japan will succeed

Why would a hedge fund manager be interested in adult diapers? They are a clue to what growing numbers of hedge funds are now seeing as the next big trade: the bursting of Japan’s bond bubble.
This year, sales of adult diapers in Japan eclipsed sales of infant ones for the first time; a neat statistic that captures the huge demographic challenge the country faces – one big factor of several that bears believe are behind a crisis set to break in the coming months.
“What did Bernie Madoff’s titanic Ponzi scheme teach the world?” asks Kyle Bass, a Dallas-based hedge fund manager who has garnered a wide following for his contrarian – sometimes borderline apocalyptic – views, in his letter to investors this month.
驻达拉斯的对冲基金经理凯尔•巴斯(Kyle Bass)上月在致投资者的信中问道:“伯尼•马多夫(Bernie Madoff)的巨大庞氏骗局让世人明白了什么?”巴斯因其逆向投资观点而吸引了大批追随者,尽管他的观点有时显得危言耸听。
“A key takeaway should have been that you can make outlandish promises for the future as long as you maintain one key ingredient: more victims entering the scheme than exiting.”
His point is simple: social security costs in Japan have been rising steadily. The retirement age is 65. And the peak years for Japan’s birth rate were the four from 1947.
Japan is finally facing its reckoning, Mr Bass says, driven by insuperable demographic forces and triggered by a worsening current account – which has for the first time slipped into deficit – after years of widening debt to gross domestic product and falling government revenues.
And yet, we have been here before. Betting against Japan has been a persistent hedge fund favourite.
David Einhorn, founder of Greenlight Capital, for example, has been short Japan one way or another since 2009, and shorting the yen has been a failed trade for many of the world’s most seasoned macro hedge funds four years running.
例如,绿光资本(Greenlight Capital)创始人戴维•艾因霍恩(David Einhorn)自2009年起就一直以这样那样的方式做空日本。而对世界上许多经验极为丰富的宏观对冲基金来说,它们做空日元的交易迄今已连续四年折戟沉沙。
As if to underscore the point, Japanese government bond yields reached historic lows this week. As SocGen analysts have written, expecting them to rise seems tantamount to “chasing rainbows”.
仿佛是为了让人们更清楚的看到这一点,日本国债收益率上周达到历史低点。对此法国兴业银行(Société Générale)的分析师写道,指望日本国债收益率上升看起来就相当于是在“追逐彩虹”。
Jun Ishii, chief fixed-income strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley, describes an “unshakeable JGB absorption structure”, whereby the gap between loans and deposits at banks is filled by government bonds. Current data suggest the banks have plenty of room to buy more, he says. “We see no indication at all that the desire to buy JGBs on dips is weakening.”
三菱日联摩根士丹利(Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley)首席固定收益策略师石井纯(Jun Ishii)描绘了一种“无法动摇的日本国债吸收机制”,在这种机制下,银行存贷缺口由国债填补。石井纯表示,当前数据显示,银行仍有足够空间购买更多国债。“我们还没发现逢低买入日本国债的意愿有减弱的迹象。”
All of which is not deterring new hedge fund bear converts.
“We believe that things really are now set to shift,” says Christopher Rigg, a life-long Japan expert who runs a new dedicated Japan-short fund at UK-based activist Audley Capital. “We think it is all coming together now.”
Mr Rigg’s thesis is more moderate than Mr Bass’s: he says a catalyst for change will be the Japanese elections, set for December 16, which look set to usher in Shinzo Abe, head of the Liberal Democratic party, as prime minister.
一生都在研究日本问题的专家克里斯托弗•里格(Christopher Rigg)表示:“我们认为形势真的就要发生改变,现在已经万事俱备了。”里格目前在总部位于英国的奥德利资本(Audley Capital)掌管一支专门做空日本的新基金。
“Abe is defined by his desire for growth,” Mr Rigg notes. “It’s quite obvious that he wants the Bank of Japan to be more aggressive.”
里格的论点要比巴斯的更为温和:他表示,定于12月16日举行的日本大选将成为形势改变的催化剂,这次的大选有望将自民党(LDP)党魁安倍晋三(Shinzo Abe)送上日本首相宝座。
With the governor and two deputy governors of the BoJ set to be replaced early next year, an Abe administration could lead to a permanently more dovish BoJ, Mr Rigg says, which would be likely to break new ground in quantitative easing by buying foreign bonds.
Mr Rigg expects such a development could push JGB yields as high as 2 per cent – nowhere near the 6 or 7 per cent catastrophists see but enough to make short sellers huge profits.
“There are some people who look at the debt dynamics of Japan and go ‘oh boy’ – people who think this is a Greek-type situation with yields at 6 per cent. I’m not saying that it can’t happen but we don’t think it will,” he says.
And nor, crucially, do hedge funds need it to in order to make big returns.
Audley tells potential investors in the Japan fund to expect triple-digit percentage gains – based on current futures prices against Japanese debt – if its thesis is proved correct.
It is precisely the asymmetry of the Japan trade, as much as the fundamentals behind it, that is now making it so attractive to hedge funds once more.
“Japan’s situation is such that the question is no longer ‘why bet against it?’ but ‘why not?’” says one portfolio manager at a large global macro firm. The cost of taking out puts on Japanese bonds is negligible. The upside huge.
It might, nevertheless, prove to be a long trade, and one peppered with uncertainties.