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Never Go Full-Kuroda: NIRP Plus QE Will Be Contractionary Disaster In Japan, CS Warns

Never Go Full-Kuroda: NIRP Plus QE Will Be Contractionary Disaster In Japan, CS Warns

In late January, when Haruhiko Kuroda took Japan into NIRP, he made it official.

He was full-everything. Full-Krugman. Full-Keynes. Full-post-crisis-central-banker-retard.

In fact, with the BoJ monetizing the entirety of JGB gross issuance as well as buying up more than half of all Japanese ETFs and now plunging headlong into the NIRP twilight zone, one might be tempted to say that Kuroda has transcended comparison to become the standard for monetary policy insanity. 

The message to DM central bank chiefs is clear: You’re either “full-Kuroda” or you’re not trying hard enough.

But as we’ve seen, the confluence of easy money policies are beginning to have unintended consequences. For instance, it’s hard to pass on NIRP to depositors without damaging client relationships so banks may paradoxically raise mortgage rates to preserve margins, the exact opposite of what central banks intend.

And then there’s the NIRP consumption paradox, which we outlined on Monday: if households believe that negative rates are likely to crimp their long-term wealth accumulation, they may well stop spending in the present and save more. Again, the exact opposite of what central bankers intend.

In the same vein, Credit Suisse is out with a new piece that explains why simultaneously pursuing NIRP and QE is likely to be contractionary rather than expansionary for the real economy in Japan.

In its entirety, the note is an interesting study on the interaction between BoJ policy evolution and private bank profitability, but the overall point is quite simple: pursuing QE and NIRP at the same time will almost certainly prove to be contractionary for the Japanese.

Here’s how the chain reaction works.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

HSBC Looks At “Life Below Zero,” Says “Helicopter Money” May Be The Only Savior

HSBC Looks At “Life Below Zero,” Says “Helicopter Money” May Be The Only Savior

In many ways, 2016 has been the year that the world woke up to how far down Krugman’s rabbit hole (trademark) DM central bankers have plunged in a largely futile effort to resuscitate global growth.

For whatever reason, Haruhiko Kuroda’s move into NIRP seemed to spark a heretofore unseen level of public debate about the drawbacks of negative rates. Indeed, NIRP became so prevalent in the public consciousness that celebrities began to discuss central bank policy on Twitter.

When we say “for whatever reason” we don’t mean that the public shouldn’t be concerned about NIRP. In fact, we mean the exact opposite. The ECB, the Nationalbank, the SNB, and the Riksbank have all been mired in ineffectual NIRP for quite sometime and the public seemed almost completely oblivious. Indeed, even the financial media treated this lunacy as though it were some kind of cute Keynesian experiment that could be safely confined to Europe which would serve as a testing ground for whether policies that fly in the face of the financial market equivalent of Newtonian physics could be implemented without the world suddenly imploding.

We imagine the fact that equity markets got off to such a volatile start to the year, combined with the fact that crude continued to plunge and at one point looked as though it might sink into the teens, led quite a few people to look towards the monetary Mount Olympus (where “gods” like Draghi, Yellen, and Kuroda intervene in human affairs when necessary to secure “desirable” economic outcomes) only to discover that not only has all the counter-cyclical maneuverability been exhausted, we’ve actually moved beyond the point where the ammo is gone into a realm where the negative rate mortgage is a reality.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Demand For Big Bills Soars As NIRP-Fearing Japanese Stuff Safes With 10,000-Yen Notes

Demand For Big Bills Soars As NIRP-Fearing Japanese Stuff Safes With 10,000-Yen Notes

Earlier this week, we were amused but not at all surprised to learn that Japanese citizens are buying safes like they’re going out of style.

The reason: negative rates and the incipient fear of a cash ban. “Look no further than Japan’s hardware stores for a worrying new sign that consumers are hoarding cash–the opposite of what the Bank of Japan had hoped when it recently introduced negative interest rates,” WSJ wrote. “Signs are emerging of higher demand for safes—a place where the interest rate on cash is always zero, no matter what the central bank does.”

Put simply, the public has suddenly become aware of what it means when central banks adopt negative rates. The NIRP discussion escaped polite circles of Keynesian PhD economists long ago, and now it’s migrated from financial news networks to Main Street.

Although banks have thus far been able to largely avoid passing on negative rates to savers, there’s only so long their resilience can last. At some point, NIM will simply flatline and if that happens just as a global recession and the attendant writedowns a downturn would entail occurs, then banks are going to need to offset some of the pain. That could mean taxing deposits.

As we noted on Monday, circulation of the 1,000 franc note soared 17% last year in Switzerland in the wake of the SNB’s plunge into the NIRP Twilight Zone. As it turns out, demand for big bills is soaring in Japan as well.

“Demand for 10,000-yen bills is steadily rising in Japan, even as the nation’s population falls and the use of credit cards and other forms of electronic payment increases,” Bloomberg writes.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Disturbing Reasons Why The Bank Of Japan Stunned Everyone With Negative Rates

The Disturbing Reasons Why The Bank Of Japan Stunned Everyone With Negative Rates

As we noted earlier, in a paradoxical U-turn, one which caught everyone by surprise as a result of Kuroda’s own promise just one week ago not to engage in NIRP

… and two months after the ECB’s December 3 disappointing announcement led to a historic surge in the EUR, today countless macro hedge funds have been left reeling with huge losses once again, as many had recently turned bullish on the Yen…

… only to be eviscerated by the BOJ’s negative rates announcement.

So what happened? Reuters has an amusing take, one which we doubt many macro HFs will find quite entertaining:

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda used classic shock tactics on Friday to push through his latest unconventional monetary policy of negative rates: deny, then strike.

The paradox, of course, is that by “striking”, Kuroda slammed precisely those who were meant to benefit the most from the BOJ’s action: financial institutions. To be sure, it is not just hedge funds who will be left reeling but Japanese banks themselves, because as a result of negative rates, their NIM will go horizontal and lead to even more pronounced losses, something European banks – such as Deutsche Bank – have discovered the hard way over the past year and a half.

There are other problems with the BOJ’s seemingly chaotic, if not panicked, decision: as Reuters adds, “a razor-thin 5-4 vote underscores the difficulty Kuroda had in winning enough board backing for his shock tactic, and illustrates the doubts among board members about the governor’s line that by sticking to a 2 percent inflation goal the BOJ can make people believe prices will rise.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Europe Is About To Plunge Further Into The NIRP Twilight Zone, And What It Means For Depositors

Why Europe Is About To Plunge Further Into The NIRP Twilight Zone, And What It Means For Depositors

In some respects, today’s ECB presser was a snoozer. Reporters asked the same old questions (some of which we’ve been asking for years) and, more importantly, there were no glitter attacks.

Our ears did perk up however, when Mario Draghi admitted that, unlike the governing council’s last meeting, cutting the depo rate further into negative territory was indeed discussed. 

This is significant for a number of reasons. At the general level, it shows that DM central bankers are ready and willing to plunge the world further into the Keynesian Twilight Zone. As we outlined last month, this means the Riksbank and the SNB are now on watch. If the ECB cuts again, the Riksbank will be forced to act as well and as Barclays recently opined, the SNB may be compelled to go nuclear on depositors, as removing the negative rate exemption for domestic banks would force them to pass along the “cost” to customers:

“In contrast, a cut in the ECB’s deposit rate further into negative territory likely would have a significant impact on the EURCHF exchange rate and provoke a more immediate response from the SNB. Indeed, we expect that a cut in the ECB’s deposit rate may have a greater effect on EURCHF than on other EUR crosses. Switzerland applies its negative deposit rate to only a fraction of reserves, currently about 1/3rd of sight deposits by our calculation. In contrast, negative deposit rates apply to all reserves held at the ECB, Riksbank and Denmark’s Nationalbank. Consequently, a cut to the ECB’s deposit rate likely has a larger impact both on the economy and on the exchange rate than a proportionate cut by the SNB. An SNB response to an ECB deposit rate cut could take one of two forms: 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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