Shibuya, Japan

Japan’s Wrong Way Out

Financial markets were surprised by the Bank of Japan’s recent introduction of negative interest rates on certain commercial bank reserves. The problem is that neither negative interest rates nor further expansion of the BOJ’s already huge program of quantitative easing will be sufficient to offset strong deflationary forces.

LONDON – Financial markets were surprised by the Bank of Japan’s recent introduction of negative interest rates on some commercial bank reserves. They shouldn’t have been. The BOJ clearly needed to take some new policy action to achieve its target of 2% inflation. But neither negative interest rates nor further expansion of the BOJ’s already huge program of quantitative easing (QE) will be sufficient to offset the strong deflationary forces that Japan now faces.

In 2013 the BOJ predicted that its QE operations would deliver 2% inflation within two years. But in 2015, core inflation (excluding volatile items such as food) was only 0.5%. With consumer spending and average earnings falling in December, the 2% target increasingly looks out of reach.

The unanticipated severity of China’s downturn is the latest factor upsetting the BOJ’s forecasts. But that slowdown is the predictable (and predicted) consequence of debt dynamics with roots going back to 2008.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/CDzaMRZ;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.