Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BoJ to provide emergency loans to banks

From Bloomberg:

The Bank of Japan said it will provide short-term loans to commercial banks amid pressure from Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s administration to address falling prices and the yen’s surge to a 14-year high.
Thus, BoJ's key overnight rate just became also the 3-month rate.  At first blush, it's not totally apparent whether this will take the yen down a few notches as the Japanese exporters desperately need it to. The most direct way to achieve the desired result would be for BoJ to boost its QE program, as many others have observed. Today's move may give some boost to the Yen carry trade, but, at least as of today, not so much against the dollar: at quick check, 3-months T-bills are still yielding barely above zero at only 4 bps. To make the essentially riskless trade, an institution could borrow from BoJ at the advertised 0.1% and use the proceeds to buy the equivalent duration T-bills. At today's prices, however, such a trade is a still a losing one (to make any money at all, the 3-months treasury yields would need to be above 0.1%). 

The participant banks can be happy though - here is another way to make a lot of money through very little effort with such cheap 3-months financing. All you need is to find a higher yielding asset that qualifies as collateral for BoJ and bingo! There are still many, many sovereign nations whose 3-months debt yields more than that. Traders would need to try really, really hard to loose any money these days....

When is the madness going to stop? Why to ALL efforts to boost the economy are so focused on monetary stimilus these days - which first and foremost result in banks making more money.

1 comment:

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