Going negative: The Bank of Japan ponders the monetary frontier
For monetary authorities across the developed world, a type of central bankers’ Twilight Zone has become the operating reality, a topsy-turvy wonderland in which interest rates are negative and bankers balloon money supplies — but all without inflationary consequence.
While central bankers scratch their heads and ponder more-exotic options, the economics textbooks will have to be revised, and institutional property buyers may have to reassess opportunities.
Negative interest rates were once thought to be an economic near-impossibility. In Asia, nowhere is the new monetary reality more prominent than in Japan; the island nation has tried to shrug off persistent deflation and sluggish economic growth for more than two decades, with mixed success. In January, the Bank of Japan implemented a 10 basis point negative interest rate policy for new deposits from banks. Though unusual, it is a less extreme position than that of the European Central Bank, suggesting the BOJ h