- July 1, 2016: Vol. 8, Number 7

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Going negative: The Bank of Japan ponders the monetary frontier

by Benjamin Cole

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

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