Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is determined to revive the country's faltering economy. Today he announced a $117 billion stimulus package and in less than two weeks the Bank of Japan will consider extending its easy monetary policy for the second meeting in a row—something it hasn’t done since 2003.
Under pressure from Abe, the BOJ is expected to expand its purchases of government bonds and double its inflation target to 2%. This move is expected to devalue the yen in an effort to boost exports and the broader Japanese economy.
Japan's monetary policies will hurt Japan's economy and the U.S. economy, says Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals.
“Japan doesn’t need more inflation," he says. "They actually need a stronger yen, higher interest rates. They need to allow their economy to restructure…to shrink government. Instead they’re simply going to do more of what’s been failing for the past two decades.”
Schiff tells The Daily Ticker that if inflation rises in Japan, Japanese citizens will likely unload low-yielding Japanese bonds in favor of higher yielding precious metals and other assets. That could force the BOJ to buy more Japanese government debt instead of U.S. government debt, says Schiff.
Related: "Obscene Stimulus" Will Trigger 'Made in Japan' Crisis in 2013: Mauldin
Why is this a big deal? Because Japan is the second biggest foreign owner of U.S. government bonds after China. If the BOJ cuts back on U.S. government bond purchases, the U.S. Treasury will be forced to pick up the slack, says Schiff.
“That means more money printing here …so we will have more domestic inflation,” Schiff adds. “Eventually none of the foreign central banks will want to buy more dollars when they figure out the game that we’re playing, continually creating money to buy products we can’t afford.”
Former Federal Reserve Governor Randall Kroszner says Japan needs to change policy but not in the way Schiff suggests. In a recent New York Times op-ed he writes, “The highest priority in the economic revival plan of the newly elected prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is to strong-arm the Bank of Japan into acknowledging that it will do simply 'whatever it takes' to reverse deflation there and allow a recovery to take root."
Kroszner recommends that the BOJ continue its aggressive Japanese government bond purchases without signaling that the policy is a temporary one, as it did after the Japanese economy fell into recession in the early 1990s.
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