Has Japan Just Signed Its Own Death Warrant?
Japan just went all-in on quantitative easing.
The Bank of Japan’s expansion of record stimulus today may see it buy every new bond the government issues.
The BOJ said it plans to buy 8 trillion to 12 trillion yen ($108 billion) of Japanese government bonds per month under stepped-up stimulus it announced today.
The central bank is already the largest single holder of Japan’s bonds, and the scale of its buying could fuel concerns it is underwriting deficits of a nation with the heaviest debt burden. The BOJ could end up owning half of the JGB market by as early as in 2018, according to Takuji Okubo, chief economist at Japan Macro Advisors in Tokyo.
“Kuroda knows when to go ALL in,” Okubo wrote in a note. “The BOJ is basically declaring that Japan will need to fix its long-term problems by 2018, or risk becoming a failed nation.”
Indeed, the architect of Japan’s quantitative easing program said that QE harms the economy in the long-run. The original inventor of QE – and the former long-term head of the Federal Reserve – say that QE has failed to help the economy.
Economists also note that QE helps the rich … but hurts the little guy. QE is one of the main causes of inequality (and see this and this). And economists now admit that runaway inequality cripples the economy. So QE indirectly hurts the economy by fueling runaway inequality.
Postscript: Japan almost appears to be acting suicidally these days.