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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lessons from Japan

Krassimir Petrov looks at the Japanese experience of deflation - 17 years and counting. A monetarist view would require the following steps to end it:

• Condition 1. Bad loans made during the boom years must be written off as losses during the bust. This cleanses the banking system from the toxins of the boom.

• Condition 2. Weak businesses should be liquidated during the bust, rather than propped up by the government or the banks. These bankruptcies and liquidations shift scarce resources to more productive uses

• Condition 3. Finally, Interest rates must rise sufficiently to restore proper valuations in the capital markets, and therefore allow stocks and bonds to fall in value relative to consumer goods. This realigns properly the price ratio of capital goods to consumer goods.

Now, I suppose, it's our turn.

Money has poured out of Japan over the years, looking for better yields elsewhere, but Petrov is not at all sure that when the "carry trade" reverses, the Japanese market will rise. He thinks a more interesting bet is on the rise of the Yen in the foreign exchange market. And that's a poker game I don't have the confidence to join.


AntiCitizenOne said...

One more thing.

Bank reserves, they have to be rebuilt.

Sackerson said...

Wouldn't calling in some loans and becoming more reluctant to lend out, tend to adjust that ratio?