Feb 16, 2015
John writes, "Global capital is looking for a place to hide. But after decades of enthusiastic currency creation and financial engineering, there’s way too much of it for any one country to accommodate. This mismatch between money knocking at the door and available space is leading the handful of remaining safe havens to put up “no vacancy” signs in order to avoid being swamped. Among the things they’re trying is negative interest rates. That is, if you want to deposit money in a Swiss or Danish bank or lend money to the Japanese or German governments you now have to pay them for the privilege.
This sounds a little crazy, and from a historical perspective it is indeed highly unusual. But it’s exactly what you’d expect in a world of ever-increasing debt and ever-more-exotic financial speculation: Too much bad paper gets created which eventually blows up, causes instability and leads worried investors to value return of capital over return on capital. They all pile into whatever seems most likely to still exist a decade hence, forcing (or enabling) the managers of those assets to charge rather than pay interest."