BoJ move shows limit of central bank powers
TOKYO: Japan’s central bank has revealed yet another exotic weapon to generate growth, but sceptics say all it shows is that the armoury is empty and a long battle against deflation is being lost.
With the European Central Bank apparently set to embark down a similar path and the Federal Reserve treading very lightly, some analysts are saying the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) move is an admission of defeat and a warning of the limits of central bank power.
After a hotly anticipated meeting yesterday, the BoJ said it would switch its emphasis from interest rates and concentrate its firepower on 10-year government bonds.
Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the bank would buy as many or as few of these benchmark instruments as necessary to ensure the yield – the interest rate paid to holders – remained steady at around zero.
He also pledged he would cut back on the number of longer dated bonds the bank holds. That should reduce the price of long-term securities, which in turn, should increase their yield.
This so-called steepening of the yield curve is the latest effort to convince Japanese consumers that the price of goods and services will rise in the future.
The idea is that if people think prices will rise, they’ll rush out to spend their money, causing prices to actually increase.
But the problem, say analysts, is that after more than three years of bootlessly insisting that inflation is coming back (it has barely budged) Kuroda is low on credibility.
“It’s hard not to see the BoJ statement as a further sign that it it is running out of ideas,” said George Magnus, an adviser to UBS Group AG, Bloomberg reported. – AFP
People walk past the teller counter inside Indonesia’s central bank, Bank Indonesia, in Jakarta yesterday.