Monday, February 1, 2016
Negative Interest Rates are Negative for The Economy
The world must be "crazy" to give so much power to central bankers, famed bear Marc Faber told CNBC Friday, calling them "a bunch of professors" whose monetary policy programs have been a "complete failure." Marc Faber, the editor and publisher of the Gloom, Doom & Boom Report (earning him the moniker "Dr. Doom"), added that he questioned central bank policymakers and the quantitative easing (QE) programs they launched in the U.S., euro zone, U.K. and Japan. "We all agree on one thing, that the market economy functions best because the opposite is socialism, communism and central planning, which has been a complete failure, but now democracies have implemented a system that is basically run by a bunch of professors and they target inflation, they target exchange rates, they target the quantity of money, I mean, is the world crazy to give them so much power?," he told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box." QE has involved the central banks in those countries or regions buying bonds to boost the amount of money in the banking system, thereby encouraging more lending, spending and growth. The massive bond-buying programs have been accompanied in many countries by record low interest rates. Central banks have to strike a balance between kick-starting their economies and making sure prices don't get out of control. In Japan, for example, which was fighting to escape a deflationary spiral as consumers held off purchases in the expectation that prices will fall further, the central bank saw QE as a way to boost consumer prices. Faber said that central bankers' policies had been a "complete failure" and that pledges to extend stimulus measures would not work. "Their policies have been a complete failure over the last 20 years and now the same people are desperate because gradually their losing their prestige and credibility and they're doubling up on medicine that hasn't worked and it won't work as long as the central bankers that we have now are in power the economies in the world will go down and not recover," he said. The Bank of Japan et al The U.S. Federal Reserve wound down its QE program by tapering the purchases the bank made and introduced its first interest rate hike in almost a decade in December. The Bank of England has stood pat on its QE program. Last to the part was the ECB which introduced a trillion-euro bond-buying program last year. One year on and ECB President Mario Draghi has hinted at strengthening the program further, including more aggressive stimulus if necessary. Meanwhile on Friday, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) decided to extend its monetary stimulus program by introducing a negative interest rate policy. There was a surge in Asian markets in the immediate aftermath of the decision but that was short-lived, with the Nikkei see-sawing, while other markets extended losses or trimmed gains. Read MoreBank of Japan adopts negative interest rate policy Faber questioned a key tenet of Japanese monetary policy that deflation is "bad" and did not think that the BoJ's QE program would work. "I question the view that inflation is good and deflation is bad because as you've seen in history, say 19th century U.S. economic history, for most of the time the U.S. was in deflation but real wages went up." "In my view, his (the BoJ's Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's) ammunition is not working. It worked in the sense that the stock market went up in the last 12-18 months but the yen has been going down," he said, adding that most Japanese citizens were bearing the brunt of government economic policy. "If you're Japanese, eighteen months ago you had a certain net worth and now your currency is down 30 percent so are you richer or poorer? Of course you're poorer. These low interest rate in Japan, in my view, and especially now these negative interest rates, are rather more negative than positive for the economy and for the typical Japanese household," he said.
Marc Faber is an international investor known for his uncanny predictions of the stock market and futures markets around the world.Dr. Doom also trades currencies and commodity futures like Gold and Oil.
Posted by Nicole Bourbaki