Albert Edwards Says Watch Japanese Yen and Be Very Afraid

The Japanese yen goes into freefall.China’s fragile economy tips over the edge. A wave of profit-crushing deflation comes washing over the U.S. and Europe. Investors panic.

That’s the view of perennial pessimist Albert Edwards. The London-based analyst and his team at investment bank Societe Generale SA have been ranked No. 1 for global strategy in surveys by Thomson Reuters Extel every year since 2007, even with a history of saying unpleasant things that few want to hear.

“My role is to step back from the excessive enthusiasm that builds up in the market, and to just say, ‘This is wrong. This is going to go horribly wrong,’” the 53-year-old said by phone last week.

The cliche is that when the U.S. sneezes, Japan catches a cold. Edwards says Japan is just as apt to lead the way. After all, when the Internet bubble burst in 2000, Japan’s tech-heavy Jasdaq index started to slide weeks before the Nasdaq. Japan also pioneered the deflation that now threatens the West. In 1997, it was a plunging yen that helped trigger Asia’s currency crisis.

With the yen’s drop this week to a six-year low of 110 versus the dollar, Japan’s currency may once again be the first domino to fall in a chain of events that could be bad for everyone, according to Edwards.

Photographer: Rukhsana Hamid/Bloomberg

Albert Edwards, Global Strategist at Societe Generale SA.

Stock Rally

The U.S. stock market rally has been going for 66 months since the financial crisis bottomed in March 2009, a streak that’s already a year longer than average. A disconnect between buoyant equity prices and corporate profit growth in the low single-digits makes the situation especially precarious.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-02/albert-edwards-says-watch-japanese-yen-and-be-very-very-afraid.html

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