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The price of Japanese reconstruction

Robert Peston | 08:18 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

More than £400bn has now been wiped off the stock market value of Japan's bigger companies since the quake and tsunami hit on Friday.

A man walks past a stock price board in Tokyo

On one measure, Japanese shares have fall more over two days than since the crash of October 1987.

Shares in some of the country's biggest and best known international companies - such as Toyota, Sony and Panasonic - plunged again. The price of the country's mega banks also dropped sharply.

The contagion spread to the price of Japanese government bonds, which fell - rather than benefiting, which is what often happens, from a shift by investors out of assets, such as shares, perceived to be riskier.

Because of the sheer size of the Japanese national debt (more than 200% of GDP and rising) and the magnitude of the government's deficit (see my post of yesterday for more on this), fears are increasing about the cost of any programme to rebuild the devastated areas and national infrastructure - and what impact that will have on the health of the nation's finances.

The risk that a wide area around the Fukushima nuclear plant may have been contaminated is now weighing heavily on markets.

Although Japan's central bank yesterday doubled the size of its programme to buy financial assets, including government bonds, to $121bn or £76bn, that programme remains a fraction of what the US Federal Reserve has been deploying to stimulate domestic economic activity - so some are saying the Bank of Japan is not doing enough to bolster investors' confidence.

On the basis of the cost of insuring state debt, the credit of the government of the world's third biggest economy and second biggest exporter is now perceived to be as risky as that of nations on the fringes of Europe such as Estonia and the Czech Republic, according to Bloomberg, which cites data from CMA.

So what will be the impact of all this on the rest of the world? Although the Japanese economy and markets are vast, its almost 20 years in the doldrums after 1990 did not prevent something of an economic golden age elsewhere (at least till 2007).

But this time it may be different. Growth in the developed economies of the West remains fragile. The global financial system is not fully restored to health.

There cannot be total insulation elsewhere from the sheer size of the market movements in Japan. At the very least share prices in Europe are likely to weaken and assets traditional seen as safe - gold and US government bonds - will probably rise.

As for oil, if the perception grows that Japanese manufacturing activity will remain depressed for a while, its price will weaken - although the instability in the Gulf continues to exert upward pressure on the oil price. And to state the bloomin' obvious, shares in those businesses with a huge stake in expanding nuclear generation, such as the UK's Centrica and France's Areva and EDF, will remain under pressure.

What remains shrouded in fog is whether the combination of the Japanese debacle, with the momentous and uncertain events in the Middle East, will derail a worldwide economic recovery which is neither entrenched nor particularly robust.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Robert,

    It wouldn't surprise me to find out that an enormous amount of short selling has been going on in the japanese market, not just by the 'native' hedge fund traders but by a small but determined international 'elite' who seem to manage to successfully profit time after time from those in suffering. What makes this all the more sad (if my theory is correct) is that the 'salaryman' will still have a significant %age of his life savings invested in 'safe stocks'. this disaster is going to be a treble blow to those who've suffered from the earthquake, then the radiation and now the prospect of their life savings ebbing away session after session on the tokyo exchange.

    sad times...

    [edit] - sorry if duplicate, seems to not be posting

  • Comment number 2.

    There were sufficient negative forces that were already in play to trip the world recovery up and special factors in countries like the UK, Ireland, Greece and Spain etc so that the impact of the Japanese crisis will marginally worsen prospects for these and other countries. There is a specific issue inherent in the wide use of Just in time (JIT) supply processes that may have an impact on our manufacturing performance. Maybe Japan will be another excuse for Osborne if our 1st quarter figures are poor or even negative as there will be no widespread snow this month!

  • Comment number 3.

    Robert,
    A couple of questions in relation to your post.

    Do you have an insight to the relative strengths of the Japanese economy before this horrendous natural disaster and before the second world war?
    By all accounts this is the only comparable level of devastation for Japan, with the rather unfortunate coincidence of what looks like could be become a full nuclear disaster.

    Secondly, how is a breakdown in the Japanese economy likely to compare to say the collapse of mid-tier European economy on Britains and other economies? Personally I'm amazed we've avoided a double dip recession thus far; with interest rate rises to follow perhaps we havent. What I don't have a feel for is what impact/connection the Japanese economy has on Britains. Thanks and regards
    Ian

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 4.

    My short positions continue to rake it in. It doesn't take a genius to see that an earthquake is followed by significant losses in the stock market. I just wonder why so many can't be bothered to take action.

    The nuclear leak is a worry and it seems obvious to me that Japan needs to invest in coal burning power stations. I read the other day about waste incineration as an effective method of power generation and it counts as a renewable resource because waste continues to be amassed. Better to burn the old telly than shove it in a landfill.

  • Comment number 5.

    The Japanese debt may not be directly financed by non-Japanese, but the risk is that there will be substantial repatriation of oversees investment and loans by the Japanese. This may depress the price of US debt and the US stock market and similarly the UK debt and UK stock market as there will be increased selling pressure and I agree with Robert Peston's view in this.

    Now this contagion has another effect it will push up the yield on government bonds in the USA ans UK (as the price drops, due to selling, but the yield in nominal terms remains the same). This in turn will have the effect of pushing up interest rates.

    I do not agree with Robert Peston's assessment that US bonds will rise, as the sentiment about a move to safety will be far smaller than the need to repatriate overseas investments to fund home(Japanese) rebuilding needs.

    All of these effects depend on how bad and how long the crisis takes to be resolved!

  • Comment number 6.

    Dear Jimi _ T
    Outright short sale of Japanese equities is banned by the Japanese FSA...you have to actually locate shares to borrow and then short. FYI at one stage there were 200 to 1 sell to buy orders on Tokyo Electric stock today... everyone wants out at the same time - market is only going one way....

  • Comment number 7.

    'the japanese debacle'

    I think the word you were looking for was trajedy.

    I dont think anything is shrouded in fog in terms of a recovery, it will further precipitate the demise of the west, the east and emerging largely self sufficient nations will progress.

    'global recovery' is way too simplistic, it is more of a global re-balancing that is occuring. I can not see how the west will recover, the best it can do is flatline and re-organise along a more sustainable social model if working while the rest of the world develops.

    That is the only thing that is physically possible to happen if you look at economics in real instead of abstract terms.

    Suggest you change 'debacle' to trajedy.

    Surprised the moderators let your post through Robert.. a bit insensitive do you not think??

  • Comment number 8.

    What remains shrouded in fog is whether the combination of the Japanese debacle........

    Debacle : Noun: A sudden and ignominious failure; a fiasco

    Do you have some kind of issue with Japan ?

  • Comment number 9.

    "My short positions continue to rake it in. It doesn't take a genius to see that an earthquake is followed by significant losses in the stock market. I just wonder why so many can't be bothered to take action" .....

    Lindsay from Hendon perhaps you could go and help with the relief effort I'm sure you could find rings to pull off the dead peoples fingers you could sell them on e-bay and treat yourself to those expensive shoes you've always wanted...

    Oh dear genuinely glad I'm not you....

  • Comment number 10.

    @5. At 09:27am on 15th Mar 2011, John_from_Hendon wrote:

    "All of these effects depend on how bad and how long the crisis takes to be resolved!"


    How bad? How long? I think you can probably make a reasonable guess at that.

  • Comment number 11.

    #4 Lindsay from Hendon
    'My short positions continue to rake it in'

    'It doesn't take a genius to see that an earthquake is followed by significant losses in the stock market'
    Maybe that is why you are so 'succesful'

    'I just wonder why so many can't be bothered to take action.'
    Could it be that 'so many' find it wrong to make money out of millions of people's misery.

    Do you realise how objectionable the majority find your boasting.

    I suspect that someone in your family will be unhappy over what you are doing....
    Or maybe you don't tell them.

    Do you wish for a nuclear explosion or a further tsunami ? I am Interested to know when your conscience kicks in. What exactly are your limits ?




  • Comment number 12.

    Roberto - i wholeheartedly agree with your sentiment:

    "..
    Oh dear genuinely glad I'm not you...."

    there will (whether officially via FSA or not) be many who see this as a 'tremendous opportunity', a 'one in a lifetime' chance to bolster their personal wealth.

    pity those...

  • Comment number 13.

    "What remains shrouded in fog is whether the combination of the Japanese debacle"

    Wrong choice of word Mr. Peston. I think this needs to change.

  • Comment number 14.

    My post elsewhere where I name the UK and US companies apparently involved in the design and build of these reactors has been removed, as off topic.

    However, a possible claim by the Japanese against these companies or their governments might contribute towards reconstruction, so would seem quite relevant to me.

    They're easy enough to research.

  • Comment number 15.

    4. At 09:17am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    I read the other day about waste incineration as an effective method of power generation and it counts as a renewable resource because waste continues to be amassed. Better to burn the old telly than shove it in a landfill.

    I think you should stick to your share dealings the last thing people would need to add to the radiation hazard is a chemical one.

    9. At 09:50am on 15th Mar 2011, Roberto wrote:

    I'm sure you could find rings to pull off the dead peoples fingers:

    I was thinking they wouldnt wait for death.

  • Comment number 16.

    MrSnail_100 is correct, that locating stock-loan and short selling on the Japanese markets is not an easy thing to set up even for Japanese based professionals.

    The poster that claimed that she was raking it in on Monday from shorts must have put on those shorts on Friday. Given that the earthquake struck at 2:46pm JST and the stock exchange closes there around 4pm, and that this was early morning in Milton Keynes, this poster must have been sitting there with the borrowed stock located and finger on the trigger to have been able to put on these shorts when she said she did.

    This implies that this particular poster is a not only a liar, and a very poorly witted wind-up-merchant, but is completely detached from any human morality to repeatly boast about profiting from other's misery when in fact they are not even doing so.

  • Comment number 17.

    13. At 10:23am on 15th Mar 2011, Arrrgh wrote:
    "What remains shrouded in fog is whether the combination of the Japanese debacle"

    Wrong choice of word Mr. Peston. I think this needs to change.
    ===========================

    Agreed

  • Comment number 18.

    16. At 10:43am on 15th Mar 2011, Reticent_Trader wrote:

    "The poster that claimed that she was raking it in on Monday from shorts must have put on those shorts on Friday. Given that the earthquake struck at 2:46pm JST and the stock exchange ..."

    if shorting is/was going on, then it would have been the monday/tuesday sessions that would have had the biggest action. Not trying to 'validate' poor wits post, just trying to point out that the wiondow of opportunity was far larger than the 90 minutes following the quake...

  • Comment number 19.

    4. At 09:17am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "My short positions continue to rake it in. It doesn't take a genius to see that an earthquake is followed by significant losses in the stock market. I just wonder why so many can't be bothered to take action."

    Thats funny - because only last week you were recommending buying equities and commodities.

    were you?
    a) Giving out deliberate bad advice (which you weren't following yourself)
    b) Changing your fictional portfolio to 'suit' the curent story.

    I think b - but luckily nobody listens to your warbling anyhow.

    The only winners are those who do not participate.

  • Comment number 20.

    At a time like this there are many influences and my heart goes out to those suffering in Japan right now. I feel that there are many influences facing us but notice that there are calls in this blog post for the Bank of Japan to maybe do more.

    Looked at from another more thoughful perspective I read this today on possible asset purchases by the Bank of Japan from the economist Shaun Richards.

    "These are by no means a fine-tuning operation and even supporters of such a policy are likely to feel that a period of thought and reflection is required before any such programme is started. If nothing else how can anybody be sure what would be the right amount at a time of such great uncertainty? We plainly do not know."
    http://t.co/SWBig7W

    This seems wise to me as many of the calls for more Quantitative Easing seem to be from those who want it to bail out their loss-making share portfolios when there are people in much more serious distress right now...

  • Comment number 21.

    #14. 1, Eddy from Waringe:
    My post elsewhere where I name the UK and US companies apparently involved in the design and build of these reactors has been removed, as off topic.

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Mine too, Eddy. Off topic? I think not. If there is a meltdown then the cost of a cleanup will be inestimable. It may never be completed.

    We are in good company. There were about 115 posts and now there are twenty. Is this the heavy hand of censorship?

    The truth will out.

    However, a possible claim by the Japanese against these companies or their governments might contribute towards reconstruction, so would seem quite relevant to me.

    They're easy enough to research.



  • Comment number 22.

    16. At 10:43am on 15th Mar 2011, Reticent_Trader

    It must be desperately sad living in Milton Keynes....

    "This implies that this particular poster is a not only a liar, and a very poorly witted wind-up-merchant, but is completely detached from any human morality to repeatly boast about profiting from other's misery when in fact they are not even doing so."

    Yep - desperately sad...

    Anyway - the reality.

    With all this rebuilding (and insurance payouts) due - a lot of financial reptriation is going to occur.
    ..now who was supporting the US treasuries? China? EU? JAPAN??

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/treasury-cash-drops-just-142-billion-and-no-bond-auctions-until-next-week-america-about-run-

    Luckily his morning the dollar has retained it's 'flight to safety' status - but don't hold your breath this will last long - it's merely a flight to RELATIVE safety.

    This is the problem with running the world Economy 'on the brink' for 3 years....you cannot afford ANY shocks - and when in history have we had a period of 3 years 'wihout incident'?

    It was inevitable.

    Looking at the oil price the speculators are as dim as the sunset. They flooded in when Lybia happened, rushed out when the oil refineries exploded in Japan (reduced demand for crude) - then they 'remembered' about the middle east when Saudi tanks moved in, now they're fleeing again.

    Don't they realise that a) the middle east escalates and b) Japan nuclear shutdown means increased demand for alternative energy source (quickest replacement being fossil fuels)

    Short termism - and what 'value' is being created in profits taken by speculaors on oil volatility?
    No technological impovements in oil production - and yet there is 'moeny' being created??
    Just sucking blood from the system....

  • Comment number 23.

    17. At 10:53am on 15th Mar 2011, Reticent_Trader wrote:

    13. At 10:23am on 15th Mar 2011, Arrrgh wrote:
    "What remains shrouded in fog is whether the combination of the Japanese debacle"

    Come on Robert - get it changed - it's a disaster not a carry on film.

    On the 'short debate' - I think it's nice to see Capitalism in it's ugliest form so we recognise it for what it is. Japan suffers a terrible earthquake so the capitalist reponse is not to 'stretch out a hand' to assist - but to profit from their demise and increase the cost of the Governments credit which they will need to rebuild.

    Luckily in the long term - all market tools will end up blunt - humanity will prevail, history (an alien concept to the capitalist) has taught us that much.

  • Comment number 24.

    23. At 11:21am on 15th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    On the 'short debate' - I think it's nice to see Capitalism in it's ugliest form so we recognise it for what it is. Japan suffers a terrible earthquake so the capitalist reponse is not to 'stretch out a hand' to assist - but to profit from their demise and increase the cost of the Governments credit which they will need to rebuild.

    ===========================================================

    can you just change "the capitalist" to "some capitalists such as LfH" as personally i would be ashamed to profit from this and im not just the only one. the company i work for has gotten out of its japanese postitions and has now frozen all trading there in order to not mess around with their recovery.

    if my comments hadnt all been randomly deleted on previous blogs you would see that im not just jumping on your bandwagon.

    PS i think your right about the moderation

  • Comment number 25.

    Remember what happened the last time Japan had a major earthquake?

    Nick Leeson brought down Barings.

    Given recent banking history - do you think they have learnt from their lessons?

    ....just waiting for the next 888888 account to come to the surface!

  • Comment number 26.

    23. At 11:21am on 15th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "On the 'short debate' - I think it's nice to see Capitalism in it's ugliest form so we recognise it for what it is."

    the sad truth is that a huge proportion of those that 'capitalise' on events such as these (which thankfully, are few and far between) actually don't see it in its true human hardship form. it's purely perceived as a trend that 'has to be followed' (and then 'bucked', when the trend recedes).

    in a perfect world, none of this would be happening. in our brken one, all of this is possible.

  • Comment number 27.

    On the 'short debate' - I think it's nice to see Capitalism in it's ugliest form so we recognise it for what it is.

    I couldnt agree more , and only bankers and traders do.....it would be no loss to totally outlaw the practice worldwide imho.

    I asked yesterday why they allowed the markets to open at all, i am still unable to fathom out why having them open is doing any good.

  • Comment number 28.

    24. At 11:26am on 15th Mar 2011, avalanche-jersey

    How about Capitalists except avalanche-jersey? The movements in the markets show you would be the exception rather than the rule...

    Meanwhile - back in the land of 'false economy' - they're trying to make inflation look good again.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12744400
    ...because of course Dating agency fees are more reflective of the wider economic spending patterns than pork shoulder!

    We may all end up starving - but at least we can do it together.

  • Comment number 29.

    4. At 09:17am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:
    My short positions continue to rake it in. It doesn't take a genius to see that an earthquake is followed by significant losses in the stock market. I just wonder why so many can't be bothered to take action.

    =======================

    Because many people find the thought of making large sums of money from the misery of others a step too far in their own personal morality which they transfer to their way of doing business. You have no such morality obviously but that is not a prerequiste (it is a disadvantage for sure) to work in financial trading, however by repeatedly displaying it for all to read you simply reinforce the view that the whole sector is worthless and the world would be a better place without it.

    Rather than focussing on some of the useful aspects, the your extreme "wad waving" statements show no respect for social mores or in this case for the dead.
    Better perhaps you were quiet about it , after all, all this money you are raking in is coming directly from the pension funds losses, mostly of Japanese pensioners, who right now have other things to worry about. I am sure they will be full of thanks for your addition to things they need to be concerned about in their lives.

  • Comment number 30.

    16. At 10:43am on 15th Mar 2011, Reticent_Trader wrote:
    The poster that claimed that she was raking it in on Monday from shorts must have put on those shorts on Friday.

    - Not sure how this follows. Why couldn't she place the shorts on late Sunday or early Monday? I think you have a suppressed premise.

    Given that the earthquake struck at 2:46pm JST and the stock exchange closes there around 4pm, and that this was early morning in Milton Keynes, this poster must have been sitting there with the borrowed stock located and finger on the trigger to have been able to put on these shorts when she said she did.

    - How do you know she lives in Milton Keynes? If she lives in Milton Keynes, couldn't she be elsewhere? Could she have used some other method? The simplest investor has spread betting firms to hand. Who are you talking about anyway? I haven't read about any lady with a short position here.

    This implies that this particular poster is a not only a liar, and a very poorly witted wind-up-merchant, but is completely detached from any human morality to repeatly boast about profiting from other's misery when in fact they are not even doing so.

    - The lady didn't cause the tsunami, she only profited from it. The car mechanic didn't cause the speed bump, he only profited from repairing the damage.

  • Comment number 31.

    4. At 09:17am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon

    Please tell us Lindsay - what 'position' do you recommend for 'all out revolution'?

    Look at this - those anarchists - making trouble - look at their faces - I hope they all get arrested.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-berkshire-12745429

    ...when the revolution reaches Berkshire - the revolution has truly arrived!

    What will your paper promises be worth then? Possibly as much application you put to thinking about the source of profit from speculation.

    sayonara Lyndsay - one day you will be free from your prison in MK.

  • Comment number 32.

    19. At 11:02am on 15th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    4. At 09:17am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "My short positions continue to rake it in. It doesn't take a genius to see that an earthquake is followed by significant losses in the stock market. I just wonder why so many can't be bothered to take action."

    Thats funny - because only last week you were recommending buying equities and commodities.

    were you?
    a) Giving out deliberate bad advice (which you weren't following yourself)
    b) Changing your fictional portfolio to 'suit' the curent story.

    I think b - but luckily nobody listens to your warbling anyhow.

    The only winners are those who do not participate.

    - When the facts change, I change my opinion. I did recommend buying equities last week but not Japanese ones. They were a hold at best. There's been a wobble in London too which actually creates buying opportunities. I'll put it in simple terms, if you go to the supermarket and beans are 1p a tin (branded not blue stripe!) then you'd fill your basket wouldn't you? Well maybe not you as that would be capitalism which is wrong. Well it's the same with investments, when they're cheap, snap 'em up. Beware of value traps though, Woolies did look cheap….

    I like this bit: "but luckily nobody listens to your warbling anyhow." You must listen Mr De Wall as you've replied!

  • Comment number 33.

    ...one good thing Lyndsay has done today, judging by the consistent comments, is PROVE that most people find the profiteering of the unfortunate appalling.

    This steels my conviction that when the time comes MOST people will 'do the right thing'.
    It's a affirmation of humanity over capitalism - as it should be.

  • Comment number 34.

    I would never condone making money by selling japanese stocks short; and boasting about it shows someone has serious problems but to say it's very difficult to do ignores the fact that companies such as Sony are on the USA stock market and if those shares can't be sold short certainly you can buy puts on those shares which is realy the same thing as selling the shares short; I think I would prefer to have less and sleep better

  • Comment number 35.

    29. At 11:40am on 15th Mar 2011, Whistling Neil wrote:

    > Lindsay_from_Hendon ... you simply reinforce the view that the whole sector
    > is worthless and the world would be a better place without it.

    He's rumbled us, Lindsay. The game's up.

    Listen up - Lindsay_from_Hendon is a radical, communist/anarchist who is fighting tooth and nail to abolish capitalism. And he's done far more than any of you lot to achieve it, so give him a break.

    Keep up the good work, Lindsay.

  • Comment number 36.

    30. At 11:43am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "The lady didn't cause the tsunami, she only profited from it. The car mechanic didn't cause the speed bump, he only profited from repairing the damage."

    Ah ha - so that's how you live with yourself.

    "I didn't shoot the gun....all I did was sell it to him"

    Don't worry Lindsay - I thought you were a woman too at first - then I realised that no woman on earth could be as self centered as you are.

    Capitalists always show their true colours in the end, it's just that some are better at covering it up than others.

  • Comment number 37.

    #30
    I am sure many were waiting with baited breath your response.
    And it was surely worth waiting for !
    'The lady didn't cause the tsunami, she only profited from it. The car mechanic didn't cause the speed bump, he only profited from repairing the damage'.

    Assuming that you consider yourself the 'Lady' in question then please explain what exactly are you repairing ? Do you consider that you are doing a service to the community ?

    Please go to post #11 and answer the questions posed there.
    'Do you wish for a nuclear explosion or a further tsunami ? I am Interested to know when your conscience kicks in. What exactly are your limits ? '

  • Comment number 38.

    24. At 11:26am on 15th Mar 2011, avalanche-jersey wrote:

    "can you just change "the capitalist" to "some capitalists such as LfH" as personally i would be ashamed to profit from this and im not just the only one. the company i work for has gotten out of its japanese postitions and has now frozen all trading there in order to not mess around with their recovery."

    You think that is purely for altruistic reasons? As the company has "gotten out of its japanese postitions" do you not think that this is one of the reasons for the drop on the market there?



    So LfH has made a profit because LfH acted quickly shorting - perhaps knowing that many companies would have "gotten out of its japanese postitions " so who is at fault - neither, both?

    Not a criticism of your company, jut an observation of facts

  • Comment number 39.

    30. At 11:43am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:
    - Not sure how this follows. Why couldn't she place the shorts on late Sunday or early Monday? I think you have a suppressed premise.
    The simplest investor has spread betting firms to hand. Who are you talking about anyway? I haven't read about any lady with a short position here.
    ============================

    I'm talking about you, the walter mitty on this blog. I assumed you were female from your earlier fixation with hairdressers.

    I know full well about spread betting and how it works in practice. I know as a fact that no market-maker on a spread betting site would have placed bids over the weekend at Friday levels in the full knowledge that the Japanese market would drop and that there would be no stock for them to hedge themselves with.

    Tell us which stocks you shorted and at what times (approximately)? Tell us which spread-better had liquidity in Japan over the weekend? Or if you shorted the stocks directly, what rate of stock-loan are you paying your prime broker / custodian?

    Like I said earlier, the Japanese market is extremely difficult to short for professionals, let alone amateurs in MK or Hendon or Switzerland. Your posting history implies you are either reasonably dim or a rather a mitty-esque WUM who makes pretty poor satirical points. I am almost certain that your "shorts" are fictional. You just sound sad and grasping for attention.

  • Comment number 40.

    When share in insurance companies and countries go down when a disaster occurs, what does that say about the horrid financial system in whoch we live. There really is no decency left, unless its done with a fistfull of dollars.

  • Comment number 41.

    Please change the word "debacle" or complaints will arrive on your bosses desk.

    The moderators are failing here.

  • Comment number 42.

    [It's a shame my post yesterday was removed.BBc moderators or the truth too much for some complaintives(again).
    Clearly, instead of being ''off-topic'', I was commentating on someone's view that we should sell Japan down. Selling Japan down, obviously has a direct link on the topic ''How does Japan pay off it's high debts''.
    But then again, eh? We are on the BBC HYS Forum.]

    The Japanese government and people are in the ''horns of a dilemma''.
    Take the ''bull by the horns'' and short-term, spend it's way out and risk long term debt worries.
    Or take the ''horn by the bulls(****)'' and the government is coy with the public and anyone else who enquires. Make ''sticking plaster'' attempts to rebuild on the cheap, keep debt levels down but risk a ''repeated-history'' future.

    Which one ,or a combination of both ??

    Eh?
    How much am I getting paid again ???

  • Comment number 43.

    For people to make money in the market they need movement. Static is not profitable in the short run.

    For the market to move, those with interests will try to make it move, the markets are being talked down, hence they will fall as some lose their nerve or are carrying higher risk / exposure. Some will lose, some will gain. The market is not perfect.

    Capitalism is amoral rather than immoral, it gives not a monkey's about anything other than the accumulation of wealth and will just as quickly capitalise on peoples fortune as misfortune.

  • Comment number 44.

    As a layman I can never quite understand why markets go into absolute panic mode when disaster strikes. Calm should be the order of the day but it always seems in short supply. I wouldn't want any of these dealers defending us on the front line in a war. The first sound of a paper bag bursting and all that would be left after the quickest mass evacuation in history would be an overwhelming smell of the brown stuff lingering in the air.

  • Comment number 45.

    I don't know why Lindsay is getting all the flak. Real or not, (s)he is representative of many vulture traders who are REALLY - as in, right now - participating in such sociopathic deals to fill up their personal financial wellbeing. Maybe Lindsay is doing us a favour by bringing to attention the grim realities of how the City works.

  • Comment number 46.

    32. At 11:52am on 15th Mar 2011, Lindsay_from_Hendon wrote:

    "When the facts change, I change my opinion."

    ...and your holdings - almost instananeously!

    "I did recommend buying equities last week but not Japanese ones. They were a hold at best."

    ...made that clear did you? - or were you just vague and added this clarification after the fact?

    "There's been a wobble in London too which actually creates buying opportunities."

    Classic mentality - you keep buying hose dips in the belief the markets will always rise (well enough for you to keep solvent)
    Speaking of 'buying the dips' - I presume you're lapping up the RBS and LLoyds shares today? or is that merely 'bull bravado'?

    "I'll put it in simple terms, if you go to the supermarket and beans are 1p a tin (branded not blue stripe!) then you'd fill your basket wouldn't you?"

    ..no - because I'm not greedy, why would I buy more beans than I need? we need a balanced diet Lyndsay - if we did our shopping on that 'simple' basis then we would all be eating corned beef and rice every day!

    Sometimes things are cheap for a reason Lyndsay - it's not simply because 'everyone else misses a trick and you're the clever one who works it out'

    Your strategy is clouded by your skewed view on 'value'.

    "Well maybe not you as that would be capitalism which is wrong."

    Obesity, health problems, social problems due to excessive flatulence - these are the unintended consequences of living off 'cheap beans' - but they're cheap Lindsay - so keep buying!

    "Well it's the same with investments, when they're cheap, snap 'em up. Beware of value traps though, Woolies did look cheap…."

    ...but that didn't matter because you have the advantage of changing your holdings after events. Face facts Lyndsay - there is logically no 'value trap' - you're talking rubbish. If woollies found a buyer then it would have been 'good value' - it's called THE FUTURE - and that's what you're GAMBLING ON.

    Making up words such as 'value trap' is like making up words such as 'I've got a failsafe system' down at the bookies - no difference.

    "I like this bit: "but luckily nobody listens to your warbling anyhow." You must listen Mr De Wall as you've replied!"

    ...maybe I should have said "take you seriously"
    Are you merely an attention seeker? - didn't you get enough love as a child from your father? - feelings of rejection perhaps? Out to prove Daddy he was sooo wrong about you - you're gonna make a million and show him - yes?

    Oh it's all so tediously predictable.

  • Comment number 47.

    ''Meltdown is imminent''.

    Hope you sold more stock yesterday Lindsay~from~Hendon.
    Have you also sold you I-Pod yet, or other mobile phone,car,camera al lthe goods from Japan ??
    If you are going to sell a country down like you did, (you sold every Japan stock you could) you must be professional about it.might as well drive down secondhand stock as well. Inventories you see, will fall in value.*)

    Mind you, my post got removed.(Although that was after you replied that you ''didn't understand what I said''
    Speechless, eh?

    ''We were a match for their untamed wit.but some of the boys said they wouldn't be back next week''.
    [Apologies to The Jam.]

    [[*Sorry about the long explanation, but these blasted BBC moderators don't know a thing and sometimes you've no choice but explain every part of the workings of the world to them.
    Chin up !!]]

  • Comment number 48.

    "What remains shrouded in fog is whether the combination of the Japanese debacle, with the momentous and uncertain events in the Middle East, will derail a worldwide economic recovery which is neither entrenched nor particularly robust."
    What recovery Robert. Oh, do you mean the fictional one based on printing money. You have to wonder if this disaster will expose the "recovery" for what it was, a massive fraud. Is this the final nail in the coffin?

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    46. At 12:27pm on 15th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    "Well it's the same with investments, when they're cheap, snap 'em up. Beware of value traps though, Woolies did look cheap…."

    ...but that didn't matter because you have the advantage of changing your holdings after events. Face facts Lyndsay - there is logically no 'value trap' - you're talking rubbish. If woollies found a buyer then it would have been 'good value' - it's called THE FUTURE - and that's what you're GAMBLING ON.

    ===========================================================

    i think we should ease up on lindsay a bit, clearly being an accountant hasnt taught him the difference between cheap and good value. im sure that he has a huge portfolio of tiny little penny stocks backed up with a holding of HMV as i mean at the moment theyre looking very cheap.

    im so glad that the people i work with are a bit more responsible than certain bloggers.

  • Comment number 52.

    Those who have pointed out Robert's use of the word 'debacle' are right to be angered. This is a shameful way to describe such a catastrophic natural disaster. I can only hope this was a slip of the word processor and that Robert doesn't really think of it in this way. I've always assumed he is a decent bloke so I'm sure that's the case.

    But it's partially true that the larger a disaster the harder it is to appreciate the effect on individual lives. For example, let's assume a madman went on the rampage and shot a dozen innocent people, including schoolchildren and pensioners. I think we'd all rightfully call that a tragedy and I doubt if the BBC's economic staff would be so insensitive to be blogging on the financial impact of such an event within 48 hrs.

    But when upto 10,000 people die in a tsunami suddenly it's fair game to worry about the effect on GDP whilst they're still searching for bodies in the wreckage. Maybe it's because to us they don't yet have faces or names, it can only be considered as a mass of crushed humanity. Even so, I think I'd feel ashamed to be blogging on the economics of this so quickly and I'm surprised that Robert is able to. When I saw the tsunami live on TV on Friday morning, I thought about the loss of life, the terror, the panic and the suffering. The likes of LFH were ringing their stockbroker. Perhaps that's why I'm not a professional economist or trader and why I'll never be very rich, but I can look myself in the mirror.

    Sorry for not commenting on the actual blog content, I couldn't care less about the cost of reconstruction right now.

  • Comment number 53.


    There seems to be a lot of over reaction / hysteria / informed debate (depending on your point of view) to the nuclear issue, with countries in geologically stable areas suddenly starting to question the need for Nuclear power in light of the unfolding specific Japanese experience. Tsunami's and earthquakes in Northern Europe?

    When the dust settles, the need for nuclear power will be unchanged, the lobbyists may have to fight a bit harder though, but it certainly won't go away.

    Just an excuse for some market movements?

    Must be a mixed bag of emotions for the green lobby around the world at the moment.

  • Comment number 54.

    Personally I have absolute faith in the Japanese to repair their economy and bring their industry back into production.

    Unlike the miserable, short termist, visionless we live in the Japanese are industrially patriotic, ambitious and already have an active "big society". We shouldn't worry about their future.

  • Comment number 55.

    given that japan is the 2nd biggest lender to the US (after China via the holding of US treasury notes). I think we can see Japan calling in some of these or selling them. Which will lead to the US having to increase interest rates. So you can see the ripples spreading.

    From a long term perspective maybe now is a good time to pick up quality Japanese stocks. Lets not forget that Japan's advantage is in its people (highly educated etc) not the infrastructure (with much manufacturing now done in china).

    For the safe folks gold might be a better investment (as Brian Cox said on sunday all the gold ever mined could fit into 3 olympic swimming pool) so Gold is finite, hence holds its value whereas money seems to be printed for fun

  • Comment number 56.

    38. At 12:10pm on 15th Mar 2011, yam yzf wrote:
    So LfH has made a profit because LfH acted quickly shorting - perhaps knowing that many companies would have "gotten out of its japanese postitions " so who is at fault - neither, both?
    ==============================

    The issue is that the long-holders of the stock, like Avalanche Investments, get a worse sell price because short-sellers have beaten them to it and sold higher bids. Assuming the short sellers have borrowed the stock (naked ss is impossible/illegal in Japan) then it is the myopic companies lending them stock for an extra 0.5% yield a year, usually investment managers like A.I, are the ones losing out. However as these managers call back their stock loan so they can sell themselves, this reduces the capacity for short selling and the short sellers get squeezed in buying back the stock.

    Basically short selling does not enhance price discovery as its proponents claim but causes a vast increase in volatility and information assymetry that benefits only the largest, most informed traders with the fastest execution systems.

  • Comment number 57.

    The first country to default on it's debt is likely to tip the world back into recession/depression. The markets are watching for signs of the repatriation of Japanese funds.

  • Comment number 58.

    39. At 12:11pm on 15th Mar 2011, Reticent_Trader wrote:

    "........Your posting history implies you are either reasonably dim or a rather a mitty-esque WUM who makes pretty poor satirical points. I am almost certain that your "shorts" are fictional. You just sound sad and grasping for attention."
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What took you so long? That's why I never reply to him.

    To be honest he is the master or paradox though, add a dose of sarcasm and you have quite an entertaining recipe providing you stick your tongue in your cheek as well. His first angle was to totally oppose John_From_Hendon hence the name then started to broaden his wings. Urine taker from the start and very good at it.


  • Comment number 59.

    So here's the scoop as I see it.

    Japan faces one it's worst natural disasters, with estimated fatalities in the tens of thousands, added to which additional issues with infrastructure possibly causing radiation poisoning of a very large area which could last for give or take 500 years? Is that about right?

    And people are worried about making money out of it and how much it will cost?

    Is the the cost of capitalism? Our very souls? We are human and should be helping our fellow humans rather than worrying about whether we can scrape some money out of this and how much it will cost all of us to repair.

    We should be there, adding our shoulder (either literally or figuratively) to help these unlucky people, what do we do instead? Worry about how this will affect us financially.

    How would you feel if someone you loved died and people came to the funeral more worried about how much money they would get in the will? Snatching the rings from your loved ones cold dead fingers?

    This is what we are doing to these people. Instead of helping we're robbing. This is what capitalism means, it drives us to this.

    People are not naturally this selfish and self centred. At least the majority aren't.

    So why do we allow it?

  • Comment number 60.

    I think we need to be mindful to seperate cause and effect here - I don't think anyone is suggesting that the current situation in Japan is anything less than catastrophic in terms of 10s of thousands of lives lost, livihoods destroyed and the impending nuclear issues. None of this is in question and I do not beleive it was ever Mr Pestons intention to suggest otherwise.
    The issue is how this affects the global economic perception and effectiveness of a 'recovery'. The fragility of the current global economy is very apparent in the poor growth figures reported and in some cases (UK) contraction or 'negative growth' as it is commonly referenced.
    Much of the evidence for a recovery being underway is rhetorical, driven for the most part by politicians desperate to talk up the economy and instill an increased level of consumer confidence. What Japan and the middle east shows us is the fragility of that stance and hoe easily market confidence is damaged. Personally I struggle to see the basis for the recent market confidence in the FTSE 100, ideed there appears to be disconnect between this marketplace and the 'real world' where jobs and income sit in a precarious state. Yes we created 200,000 jobs last year, but 90% of them were part time, yet these people are now counted as employed.
    Fragile, in need of extreme TLC and based on rhetoric, such is the current global economic position.

  • Comment number 61.

    And let me make it clear that covered short-selling is not of itself immoral, but as a practice in benefits only the financial elite.

    Most of the selling pressure in Japan has been that of owners wanting to get out of their "longs". The short seller is able to borrow the stock from an owner who by definition takes the view that the stock price will continue to rise, otherwise he would also sell and not have to stock to lend out. The long holder chooses to receive a fee as compensation for allowing someone to bet against him. The higher the risk the higher the fee. The long-holder has the right to call back his stock at any stage, and many a dimwitted short-seller has been squeezed out in this manner, Volkswagen being the famous example.

    All good in theory but the problems with covered short selling in practice come from the same reason why bank shareholders don't care if dividends are slashed due to bonuses to bankers: The largest shareholders are the passive investment companies who are mandated to hold the stocks against some benchmark. They would lend out the shares in order to enhance yield even if nuclear war broke out in Japan. Cut off the nose to spite the face.

    I have no issue with short-sellers making money out of this because they took a bet against a long-holder who was too stupid not to lend the shares and sell them himself. The long-holder had/has the choice not to lend but hold or sell, however the system is flawed due to passivity of most share-ownership. The outcome is not price discovery but volatility.

    What is distateful is the boasting about these gains no matter the morality involved. Gains from a long position are by definition down to success and no one should begrudge a well worked success. Gains from shorting are by definition down to failure/tragedy. You made your money, have some humility and decency.

    I think the likelihood is that this poster wanted to make the point short-selling is not intrinsically immoral but made up some sad sounding fantasy and boasted about it. Weird.

  • Comment number 62.

    58. At 13:29pm on 15th Mar 2011, NorthSeaHalibut wrote:
    To be honest he is the master or paradox though, add a dose of sarcasm and you have quite an entertaining recipe providing you stick your tongue in your cheek as well. His first angle was to totally oppose John_From_Hendon hence the name then started to broaden his wings. Urine taker from the start and very good at it.
    ==========================

    I disagree. He (she) is master of nothing, just noise. I understand it's all tongue in cheek but it's just not that witty at all. You can let off bad taste if it's genuinely satirical/ironic but he usually offers cheap sarcasm. I think the joke went a bit far this time.

  • Comment number 63.

    33. At 11:54am on 15th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    ...one good thing Lyndsay has done today, judging by the consistent comments, is PROVE that most people find the profiteering of the unfortunate appalling.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I believe you mean demonstrated. To prove this you would need:
    -everyone in the world to weigh in once (and only once) and to tally up the responses.

    As there had only been 32 responses (seeable anyway), and several were both WOTW and LfH, thsi isnt the case.

    Considering sample sizing and bias against LfH (deserved or not), I think its a small leap to say this demonstartes anything of the sort, let alone prove it.

    (btw, i believe that was a little soon for such a callous remark from LfH. Give it a week at least...)

  • Comment number 64.

    If you read my HYS comments, I am much further in front than BBC reporters etc.

    While BBC TV and other news media ask victims and so called experts ridiculous questions to fill extended news air time, the event itself is having a tsunami affect around the world with regards to finances and economys.

    As I have previously mentioned, this WILL affect UK economy and also both UK private pensions and public pensions.

    The essential and factual reality of present government austerity policys/plans and budgetry/economic plans, is that they are hugely reliant on stability and include no/little relativity to variables, hence they are relatively as factually reliable as a nuclear facility in an earthquake zone.

    The world is a complete mess, many countrys are basically bankrupt, the only thing proping the whole system up is "confidence". That confidence has just taken a big knock, or punch, to the tune of £112 billion which Japan put into the markets to "maintain confidence" but which far over this amount is also being wiped off share prices and values of whatever etc around the world. Also there is already the insurance costs which are also reportedly to be well over £100billion. London is a main insurer, as are many UK insurance companys and UK investors in insurance companys, hence UK may take quite a large financial hit.

    Uk pensions companys also have huge investments in these big safe Japanese companys which are being damaged by this.

    While ordinary people in UK & around the world are being advised via propaganda to not lose confidence, the "big" money men etc, are just ignoring this & running away with their money by selling off shares etc which undermines remaining investments, especially of smaller people who do not fully understand the realitys.

    If ALL the smaller public people investors acted like some of these "huge" investment companys, then the whole world economic system would go into meltdown, let alone the nuclear facilitys.

    I see it like this.

    The variables to UK austerity policys/plans etc, such as Icelandic volcanic disruptions is like a poke in the ribs, the snow before xmas is also another poke in the ribs, in the same spot, the Middle East is actually more of a punch to the economic ribs as is this event in Japan which is also resulting in quick follow up punches.

    Now even if you just poke someone in the ribs just with a single finger, not too hard, but keep repeating it, then it is not long before it gets painful resulting in bruising & evidential damage. Throw in a few larger punches, then the damage significantly worsens.

    This is the reality UK economy and other economys are facing/experiencing.

    I keep on and on about people needing to take personal action to prepare themselves for the prospect of much worse economic/social conditions as I have personally undertaken, due to the "fact" that governments/states do not have the capacity/ability to protect everyone from detrimental outcomes, especially unseen variables.

    This event in Japan may or may not be a deciding factor in a quick deterioration of world economy, "but" the damage is already growing very significantly, in Japan and beyond, though commentors/experts are running out a tirade of "confidence" boosting statements.

    1. Japans food production (which is tiny in comaparison to its import requirement)is under serious threat from radiation, hence prospective more preasure on world food prices especially "rice" which are already rising and increasingly under strain, especially for Middle East/Asian/African countrys and all those who do not have the money to pay for higher prices and which rising prices kicked off the rebellions.

    2. Due to significant damage to nuclear electricity generation, Japan will have to rely upon greater and increased use of "oil" for its immediate economic/social/industrial electricity needs, thus with already increased pressure and price rises due to instability ect in Middle East, this will also force up oil/petrol and hence add to UK economic and inflation problems, as well as to other countrys.

    3. Potential and real losses to world supply chains of hi tech components = higher prices for those components and losses to world production.

    4.Worldwide insurance losses, especially to UK & other nations insurance companys & private investors.

    5. Losses to pensions funds and wealth of investments in major Japanese companys.

    6. Damage from sharks/hyenas who will look to gain substantial financial and economic advantage from this carnage.

    7. If just the wind changes direction and blows towards China in any event of major radiation leakage then the consequences will be "huge" and may/could result in significant dispute, especially regarding financial compensation and further huge damage to Japans finances, which will of course have much greater negative realitys to the whole world economy.

    I do not suggest to prepare to meet thy doom, but just to act responsibly and be self-responsible to be able to meet/counter the reality of so many dangers.

    Events around the world affect us in UK and they affect everyone else in the world.

    Ultimately the Japanese nation and people are well ahead in this respect and it is this preparedness for catastrophy which will be a huge deciding factor in their ability to come through this. Even their major international companys have an endemic national loyalty which greatly greatly surpasses that of British companys, as do Japanese citizens who also hugely and endemically save their money and invest it long term for less return in their own nations national debts and hugely reduce reliance on world markets for national debts and rather than make bigger quicker profits abroad.

    No nation is perfect, not even Japan, but especially in this time of such a horrendous event(s) we can learn much from Japan and also about ourselves and our loyaltys to ourselves and nation and especially the loyaltys of those in UK who own & control much/most wealth and who have the financial ability to make huge changes for our nations wellbeing and future.

    The price of Japans re-structure is on the minds of those who own and control/manipulate movement of vast sums of wealth.

    The Warren Buffets of the world are lying in wait to gain predatory advantage.


    Lets see if they have any moral decency at all, or if they will just hit & run, like thieves in the night, as they so often do in times of natural or economic/financial disaster.



  • Comment number 65.

    61. At 13:58pm on 15th Mar 2011, Reticent_Trader wrote:

    They would lend out the shares in order to enhance yield even if nuclear war broke out in Japan. Cut off the nose to spite the face.


    So it would be good to see all "lending/borrowing" of shares stopped ??? and only allowing them to be bought and sold ???


  • Comment number 66.

    59. At 13:32pm on 15th Mar 2011, GingerSpam wrote:
    So here's the scoop as I see it.

    Japan faces one it's worst natural disasters, with estimated fatalities in the tens of thousands, added to which additional issues with infrastructure possibly causing radiation poisoning of a very large area which could last for give or take 500 years? Is that about right?

    And people are worried about making money out of it and how much it will cost?

    Is the the cost of capitalism? Our very souls? We are human and should be helping our fellow humans rather than worrying about whether we can scrape some money out of this and how much it will cost all of us to repair.

    We should be there, adding our shoulder (either literally or figuratively) to help these unlucky people, what do we do instead? Worry about how this will affect us financially.

    How would you feel if someone you loved died and people came to the funeral more worried about how much money they would get in the will? Snatching the rings from your loved ones cold dead fingers?

    This is what we are doing to these people. Instead of helping we're robbing. This is what capitalism means, it drives us to this.

    People are not naturally this selfish and self centred. At least the majority aren't.

    So why do we allow it?

    ======================================

    We have no choice. Our system is endemically a gladitorial system, in which the winner takes all. Power corrupts.

    We pretend and deceive ourselves that we are better than other species, that we have moved on from "jungle mentality" and behaviour.

    Human morals are relatively just a very thin veneer of pretentious decency which covers over underlying foundations of predatory behaviours and species hierachy, in which our social structures are relatively no different to a group/pride of hyenas/lions fighting for best bits of a kill.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    Trying to stick to the questions posed in the original blog, I’m not convinced this will have a huge impact on Western economies. On the one hand Japan is having to close down a lot of manufacturing production so you would certainly expect global GDP to be slightly lower than it would have been and it would seem a high probability that Japan will slip into negative growth again as a result. However, if Japan is not building and exporting as much as it would have done this year and next, perhaps other companies in other jurisdictions pick up the slack.

    I do think people need to take a step back in terms of railing against market movements. Clearly the likes of Toyota et al are going to be making less money than previously thought. It therefore follows that the intrinsic value of their shares is lower. The sell-off in Japanese stocks is perfectly logical – markets after all are not sentient beings, they do not have consciences. As for the sell offs elsewhere? Technical and self-fulfilling largely – most large hedge funds and banks will automatically reduce risk when they see large negative movements in key indicators such as the Nikkei. The negative movement could be quite large ultimately – who knows? However, the fundamentals will prevail over the medium term and as such I would see the financial impact elsewhere as largely temporary.

  • Comment number 69.

    I agree with a previous poster, who benefits from having the markets open at this time other than those who indulge in speculation?

    Speculation is a word we rarely hear of course. Business reporters act as though all markets are perfect, and prices reflect market conditions rather than what it is, greed. These people are parasites.

    There is no need for a spike in the price of oil, when those who could increase output haven't done so yet. So its not as though there is concerns about supply. Yet we are told the rise in price is because of concerns about the middle east.

  • Comment number 70.

    63. At 14:08pm on 15th Mar 2011, A-N_other wrote:

    "Considering sample sizing and bias against LfH (deserved or not), I think its a small leap to say this demonstartes anything of the sort, let alone prove it."

    Is Roberts blog not a fair random sample? The majority of Roberts blog have been right so far....I say this is a reflection of society's awareness.

    We know it's all lies anyway - these stories of 'making a profit' are designed to ciculate the belief that "capitalism works - it's just that you're no good at it."

    RBS_temp did the same thing when he claimed that he made a profit to sell off his mortgage by buying RBS shares when the bank faced bankruptcy.

    However the combination of fees and taxes would have meant an investment that even Warren Buffet would baulk at.

    This is the desperation of capitalists - evetually they all go the same way, resorting to fiction rather than fact to support their claims.
    I mean they 'invented' mark to fantasy in an effort to keep the treadmill rolling......bu you cannot keep the facade up forever!

  • Comment number 71.

    We have no choice. Our system is endemically a gladitorial system, in which the winner takes all. Power corrupts.

    We pretend and deceive ourselves that we are better than other species, that we have moved on from "jungle mentality" and behaviour.

    66. At 14:41pm on 15th Mar 2011, MrWonderfulReality wrote

    "Human morals are relatively just a very thin veneer of pretentious decency which covers over underlying foundations of predatory behaviours and species hierachy, in which our social structures are relatively no different to a group/pride of hyenas/lions fighting for best bits of a kill."

    Let's take your analogy further shall we? Within a family group/pride/pack the emphasis is mostly on team work and sharing to ensure the survival of all. Both hyenas and lions hunt in packs and share kills and socialise and help each other, it is only when different packs/prides/groups compete that we see the bvehaviour that you discribe.

    Capitalism brings this behaviour out further by introducing competitioon that isn't always neccessary. If we looked at our society as a whole, the "global village", we can see that we could achieve more by working together to ensure all or our survival, at least as many as of us as is possible in a dangerous and unpredictable universe. Not just preying and the weak and unfortunate.

  • Comment number 72.

    "This is the desperation of capitalists - evetually they all go the same way, resorting to fiction rather than fact to support their claims.
    "

    Something has to drive confidence ;)

  • Comment number 73.

    67 RedHairedGirl

    `Oh and Hendon is not a place. Its a junction on the A41 on the way out of London.'

    I agreed with all of your post but this part. I grew up in Hendon. My grandfather moved there in 1919 when it was still considered a beauty spot. It was a vast improvement on his native Bethnal Green.

    I accept that Hendon is not as it once was which is why I left it but some people still like living there.

    I also like red haired women only Mrs. S, who is from Park Royal, is now grey which is still an improvement on this bald old git.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    Lyndsey from Hendon wrote:

    "My short positions continue to rake it in. It doesn't take a genius to see that an earthquake is followed by significant losses in the stock market. I just wonder why so many can't be bothered to take action."

    This sorry statement unfortunately sums up where we are as a nation / western world where the almighty 'market' and its 'forces' dictates who wins / loses and it seems to me who lives / dies. Profiteering out of misery.

    In such a human tradegy and resulting devastation all the news focuses on is economics and how the 'market' will react.

    I for one am at the end of my rope with this dogma and slavish devotion to capitalist market economics making profit out of misery. Perhaps (for once???) it could be a force for good in re-building a devastated Japan, without indebting it to ridiculous scales.

    Market knows best? Yeah right.......just look around the globe at the 'successes' the market has bestowed upon us all. And we're off down the road again of market dictatorship in ConDem Britain. What a wonderful world we are developing.

  • Comment number 76.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 77.

    "58. At 13:29pm on 15th Mar 2011, NorthSeaHalibut wrote:

    What took you so long? That's why I never reply to him.

    To be honest he is the master or paradox though, add a dose of sarcasm and you have quite an entertaining recipe providing you stick your tongue in your cheek as well. His first angle was to totally oppose John_From_Hendon hence the name then started to broaden his wings. Urine taker from the start and very good at it."

    So the real problem here isn't to do with LfH taking profit or not it's the fact that he (she?) chooses to try to wind people up over such a horrific event, very bad taste. Hope you're ashamed of yourself......

    Even if LfH didn't attempt to make money out of the catastrophe in Japan then others will, that's how Capitalism / markets work, there's always someone somewhere willing to stoop that low to make a buck.

    Welcome to the world of Captitalism....

  • Comment number 78.

    69. At 14:52pm on 15th Mar 2011, lukeneave wrote:

    There is no need for a spike in the price of oil

    This is another area where the price of a commodity bears no relation to its producer cost but to the "investors perception " of what they can make perhaps we should look at stopping all investment in the products apart from the people who will take delivery of the commodity , whilst i see why a refinery should be able to buy oil why is there any way that i can go out and buy a 1000 barrels of oil ? here again i see huge benefits from the stability this would provide but i am not able to see the down side perhaps a trader could tell me what i am missing .

  • Comment number 79.

    @ 51. At 12:59pm on 15th Mar 2011, avalanche-jersey wrote:

    > i think we should ease up on lindsay a bit,

    Yes - unlike him, we're all getting a lift off the bounce over here.

  • Comment number 80.

    35. At 11:59am on 15th Mar 2011, Jacques Cartier wrote:
    29. At 11:40am on 15th Mar 2011, Whistling Neil wrote:

    > Lindsay_from_Hendon ... you simply reinforce the view that the whole sector
    > is worthless and the world would be a better place without it.

    He's rumbled us, Lindsay. The game's up.

    Listen up - Lindsay_from_Hendon is a radical, communist/anarchist who is fighting tooth and nail to abolish capitalism. And he's done far more than any of you lot to achieve it, so give him a break.

    Keep up the good work, Lindsay.

    ======================

    That thought had crossed my mind, that that was precisely the case.

    However if so then rather than being an unpleasant financial trader , all it means is they are an unpleasant radical/communist anarchist.

  • Comment number 81.

    46. At 12:27pm on 15th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Are you merely an attention seeker? - didn't you get enough love as a child from your father? - feelings of rejection perhaps? Out to prove Daddy he was sooo wrong about you - you're gonna make a million and show him - yes?

    - Well if you were a boy and your father called your Lindsay, how would you feel?

  • Comment number 82.

    39. At 12:11pm on 15th Mar 2011, Reticent_Trader wrote:
    I'm talking about you, the walter mitty on this blog. I assumed you were female from your earlier fixation with hairdressers.

    - That's just sexist, you should apologise to all the ladies of the world.

    Tell us which stocks you shorted and at what times (approximately)? Tell us which spread-better had liquidity in Japan over the weekend? Or if you shorted the stocks directly, what rate of stock-loan are you paying your prime broker / custodian?

    - I didn't say I used spread betting firms (I do but only for fun, sports betting that is - when a no ball will be delivered, that sort of thing), I suggested that the lady might have used it. It now appears that you were calling me a lady. How childish, you should apologise.

    Like I said earlier, the Japanese market is extremely difficult to short for professionals, let alone amateurs in MK or Hendon or Switzerland.

    - Difficult, not impossible.

    Your posting history implies you are either reasonably dim or a rather a mitty-esque WUM who makes pretty poor satirical points. I am almost certain that your "shorts" are fictional. You just sound sad and grasping for attention.

    - Eat my shorts.

  • Comment number 83.

    This tragedy is indeed a Black Swan event.
    The news has been dominated by opinionated mouthpieces' giving their earnest contributions to what must be for the people of Japan a defining moment in their country. As time goes on more problems occur within the nuclear reactors, which common sense dictates should never have been built within the 'ring of fire'
    There is absolutly NOTHING to suggest that this earthquake could not happen again TOMOROW......

  • Comment number 84.

    51. At 12:59pm on 15th Mar 2011, avalanche-jersey wrote:
    i think we should ease up on lindsay a bit, clearly being an accountant hasnt taught him the difference between cheap and good value.

    - I am a Chartered Accountant in that I have the qualification but I don't practice. I know the difference between cheap and good value but you're right accountancy didn't teach me that. It also didn't teach me how to boil an egg or ride a unicycle - what was you're point?

    Could you try punctuation and capital letters please? I don't mind the odd typo, typing at speed and all that but honestly there is no excuse for "im" or "theyre".

  • Comment number 85.

    It wasnt necessary to short Japan, you could've shorted almost any listed stock over the last few days and made money.
    Aviva, for exmaple, has dropped almost 10% over 3 days and doesnt even have any Japanese exposure.

  • Comment number 86.

    85. At 17:33pm on 15th Mar 2011, VinChainSaw wrote:

    And conversely, this provides the rest of us an incredible opportunity to load up on stocks at a discount to what they were priced only a few days ago.

  • Comment number 87.

    #28. writingsonthewall wrote:

    Meanwhile - back in the land of 'false economy' - they're trying to make inflation look good again... because of course Dating agency fees are more reflective of the wider economic spending patterns than pork shoulder!

    If you read the full report you'll see exactly why the ONS believes that dating agency fees are more relevant in 2011 than pork shoulder.

    But why let inconvenient facts get in the way of yet another rant?

  • Comment number 88.

    #23. At 11:21am on 15th Mar 2011, writingsonthewall wrote:

    I think it's nice to see Capitalism in it's ugliest form so we recognise it for what it is. Japan suffers a terrible earthquake so the capitalist reponse is not to 'stretch out a hand' to assist - but to profit from their demise and increase the cost of the Governments credit which they will need to rebuild.

    Are you saying that none of the many people assisting in the aftermath of this catastrophe are capitalists? That no capitalist nation has offered assistance?

  • Comment number 89.

    Blowed if I will buy anything made in Japan since Sunami....think of the radiation risk!

    Buy European I say and use this as an opportunity to stem the flow of Japanese imports until they have sorted themselves out.

    Why they were allowed to build a dozen nuclear power plants in an area so susepticle to earthquakes is beyond comprehension.

  • Comment number 90.

    Having watched the recent events in horror - I'm not as far away from Japan as I'd like to be - I've 2 points to make:
    1. I can't believe the word "debacle" appears in this blog. Shame on you RP.
    2. Lindsay is living, typing proof that trolling works.

  • Comment number 91.

    Amongst all the suffering in Japan right now it seems mad that speculators are making money from it.
    I think this is so big ( a catastrophic event which is far from over ) that they should have closed the Tokya stock exchange , I believe they closed wall street when 9/11 happened? .Japan needs the world`s help right now and the haorrific situation seems to be getting worse by the hour when you listen/ watch the news.

  • Comment number 92.

    To quote Robert : "Japanese debalce"

    There speaks a true mercantile-economist-journalist.

  • Comment number 93.

    52. At 13:01pm on 15th Mar 2011, davidbrent wrote:
    But it's partially true that the larger a disaster the harder it is to appreciate the effect on individual lives.

    - "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." Do you know who said that? Your communist friend, Mr Stalin.

  • Comment number 94.

    Globalization is the way forward. The big Japanese companies have been active in world markets for decades.
    At the very least they have been spreading their risk.
    At the very best they are not influenced unduly by things that happen at home.
    Their revenue streams will continue abroad.

    I think they took their eye off the ball when it came to domestic energy however.
    But if your production is taking place abroad you don't need to look to your backyard. Advantage of globalization. Not for locals though.

  • Comment number 95.

    Mr Peston seems to be very fond of his new word. This is from yesterday's blog on the financing of the reconstruction:

    "There is enormous short and long term uncertainty about the impact of the nuclear debacle on health, the environment and the security of power supply."

    Robert, please revisit your dictionary. These are not debacles, and it is offensively inappropriate to keep using the word.

  • Comment number 96.

    At times like this we get to see the ugly face of capitalism. - "Lesson one of making money in the markets. Always kick a man when he is down. That way you will maximise profit." - Sample quote from an anonymous and very rich stockbroker.

  • Comment number 97.

    History books written in 100s of years time may well show that Robert used the word "Debacle" correctly.
    Prescient even.

  • Comment number 98.

    It is being reported that Japan has invoked something called Article 15 which apparently allows the Japanese government to stop other government departments from communicating with the media. This is being reported on zerohedge.com is this true, as I cannot see any reference to it on this site?

  • Comment number 99.

    Events in Japan should remind us all how petty most of our squabbles are. And whilst many countries quite rightly send support to try to find and help survivors I'm conscious that in other parts of the world there are people actively trying to destroy life. Bizarre.

    It's trivial and silly to use Japan's suffering as an argument against (or indeed for) capitalism. But I don't understand how those who reject capitalism and dislike methods of generating cheap electricity manage to contribute to this blog. Are there any bloggers out there who made their own computers at home, don't use Microsoft or a Mac OS, don't use one of the main ISPs, and generate all their electricity from solar, wind or tidal power? If so I am happy to recognise their absolute authority to lecture me as much as they like on the appalling consequences of capitalism.

  • Comment number 100.

    #99 Slessac

    Only a capitalist would say that. Guess I can't wear capitalist clothes, eat capitalist food and work in a capitalist country then. You have to be inside the game to beat it.

    So on those grounds I don't need to abide by Tory policy because I didn't vote for it. Cheers for the advice.

 

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