January 29, 2016

"The BoJ's NIRP Will Result In More Currency Wars And Global Growth Slowdown"

As reported previously the Bank of Japan, which not even the most optimistic central bank watchers had expected would unleash anything remotely as aggressive to prevent price discovery, stimulate asset prices and boost the exporting of deflation, became the latest central bank who, after a 5 to 4 vote, unleashed the monetary neutron bomb of Negative Interest Rates in the process pulling an anti-Draghi and shocking markets, even if admitting it can no longer boost QE due to previously discussed concerns it would run out of monetizable bonds in the very near future.

The initial market reaction was one of shocked surprise, with the Yen crashing and risk soaring, subsequently followed by disappointment that QE may be now be officially over and the BOJ will be stuck with negative rates, and then euphoria once again regaining the upper hand if only for the time being as yet another central banks does all it can to levitate asset prices at all costs, even if in the long run it means even more deflationary exports from all other banks and certainly China which will now have to retaliate against the devaluation of its "basket" of currencies.

The BOJ's excuse was simple: everyone else is doing it: as Kuroda said quickly after the NIRP announcement, the BOJ’s monetary policy is “just the same as central banks in the U.S. and Europe,” and “doesn’t target currencies.” Well, it does target currencies, but he is right: it is the same as policy in Europe and the US, where as a reminder, NIRP is coming next.

The Japanese government loved it, of course, since recent Japanese data has been ugly and getting worse, and since it allows Abe to punt all reform policies to the BOJ. Sure enough, moments ago Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga spoke to reporters in Tokyo. He said that the BOJ made the appropriate decision and that he welcomes BOJ’s new method aimed at achieving 2% inflation target, adding that he "can sense the BOJ’s strong determination." He said that a delay in hitting price target due to factors such as lower oil prices than expected.

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