Japan sets negative interest rate in hopes of boosting economy


The Bank of Ja n on Friday introduced a antagonistic interest policy for the first time, seeking to shore up a stumbling pick-up in the world’s third-largest economy.

The surprise move rattled stock superstore investors, with the Nikkei 225 index swinging between close in ons and losses after the announcement. It closed 2.8 per cent higher. The Ja nese yen skidded, with the U.S. dollar rising to about 120.70 yen from about 118.50 earlier in the day.

The pre-eminent bank said it is imposing a 0.1 per cent fee on some new commercial bank leaves with the BOJ, effectively a negative interest rate. It hopes that disposition encourage commercial banks to lend more, rather than fence in cash at the BOJ, and stimulate investment and growth.

The BOJ said in statement that Ja n’s control is still recovering, but risks from volatile global financial demands could undermine confidence and slow progress toward the central bank’s 2 per cent inflation aim.

Bank deposits with the BOJ will be divided into three files. Existing current account balances will earn a 0.1 per cent explicit interest rate. Required reserves held at the central bank by monetary institutions will earn zero interest. Any additional current account stash aways would incur the minus 0.1 per cent rate, the BOJ said.

The bank “bequeath cut the interest rate further into negative territory if judged as important,” it said.

It said the policy would continue as long as needed to realize its inflation target. In the meantime, the BOJ pushed back its timeframe for achieving that target from late 2016 to mid-2017.

The European Central Bank has already interfered negative interest rates, after leaving interest rates close zero failed to entice banks into seeking higher resurfaces through lending.

In Ja n, keeping interest rates near zero has furthermore failed to yield the desired results, raising doubts about the credibility of the quantitative and qualitative nummular easing policies announced by BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda in April, 2013.

Data on Friday swaggered Ja n’s core inflation rate for 2015, excluding volatile provisions prices, at 0.5 per cent.

That and other figures show the saving remained anemic last year, as stagnant incomes, the slowdown in China and the confused blessing of lower oil prices hobbled Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s restoration strategy.

Consumer spending fell 4.4 per cent in December from a year earlier, as households determined to save rather than splurge on any gains from the low oil prices that are slowing inflation. It was the fourth reorganize tidy up month of year-on-year declines.

Industrial output fell 1.6 per cent in December from a year earlier, rtly due to slower cry out for for machinery and electronics components and devices in China.

“Today’s activity details were disappointing and suggest that Ja n’s economy barely flourished last quarter,” Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics mentioned in a commentary.

Abe took office three years ago vowing to get growth following on track through massive injections of cash by the government and central bank, and by all-inclusive reforms to boost competitiveness.

The central bank said Friday it commitment also persist with its “quantitative easing” purchases of about 80 trillion yen (not far from $660 billion US) of government bonds a year.

The aim is to end a long spell of deflation, or plunge prices, that is thought to be discouraging corporate investment. But while corporate profits beget soared as massive stimulus weakened the Ja nese currency, making earnings come to termed abroad worth more when converted into yen, investment and wages be dressed lagged.

Average incomes fell 2.9 per cent from a year earlier in December. Upright though unemployment was steady at 3.3 per cent and the job market remained precarious, com nies wary over the economic outlook are opting not to raise y.

Some economists contend that the “Abenomics” core on inflation as a spur to growth is misplaced. Pushing the banks to lend on only work if com nies borrow and invest.

“Corporate Ja n has assembled substantial cash on balance sheets, while the Ja n labour market is de rt tighter,” Ajay Kapur of Merrill Lynch said in a new report.

“The key is to recirculate Ja n’s corporate cash to Ja n’s household-labour sector via wage extensions. Otherwise, ‘Abenomics’ is likely to fail in generating self-sustaining ex nsion,” he said.

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