February, 02 2016 by lsr team

The BoJ followed through on recent threats to loosen policy by cutting its interest rate on new reserves to -0.1% last Friday. A comparison to Europe pushing into negative territory is misguided at best. Japan has a government deficit of 6% of GDP to finance and a huge pile of public debt to service so it needs to keep its investor audience captive. The increase in reserves each year is huge because of the BoJ’s asset purchase programme. If a central bank buys 80trn yen of JGBs then by definition, this eventually creates 80trn yen of reserves. Reserves at the BoJ incr...

November, 24 2015 by lsr team

Beginning in the early 1970s, Japan embarked on a long quest to reform its financial sector. Liberalisation in one area brought unintended consequences in others. Excessive leverage and regulations that failed to keep up with changes inevitably led to a crisis. Today, China has come to a point where financial reform is critical. While China does not have Japan’s luxury to pursue financial reform gradually, Japan’s experience however could shed some light. We visit Japan’s story and look at its implications and what China could do to avoid Japan’s...

October, 29 2015 by lsr team

Japan’s central bankers are locked in the same vicious cycle as the rest of the world. The US in isolation could easily have raised rates by now, but the rest of the world is not ready and is now big enough to give the Fed cause to pause. However, unwilling to relinquish their grip on America’s coat tails, central banks outside the US have responded to Fed hesitation by lowering the bar, pushing interest rates below zero and devaluing currencies. The result is a race to the bottom. Japan’s QE is already huge and expanding the programme would hasten the...