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2012-12-28 - Shinzo Abe

2012-12-28 - Shinzo Abe - Shinzo Abes monetary-policy...

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Shinzo Abe’s monetary-policy delusions By Stephen S. Roach December 28, 2012 — Project Syndicate The politicization of central banking continues unabated. The resurrection of Shinzo Abe and Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party — pillars of the political system that has left the Japanese economy mired in two lost decades and count- ing — is just the latest case in point. Japan’s recent election hinged critically on Abe’s views of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy stance. He argued that a timid BOJ should learn from its more aggressive coun- terparts, the US Federal Reserve and the Eu- ropean Central Bank. Just as the Fed and the ECB have apparently saved the day through their unconventional and aggressive quantita- tive easing (QE), goes the argument, Abe be- lieves it is now time for the BOJ to do the same. It certainly looks as if he will get his way. With BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa’s term ending in April, Abe will be able to se- lect a successor — and two deputy governors as well — to do his bidding. But will it work? While experimental mone- tary policy is now widely accepted as standard operating procedure in today’s post-crisis era, its efficacy is dubious. Nearly four years after the world hit bottom in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, QE’s impact has been strikingly asymmetric. While massive liquidi- ty injections were effective in unfreezing cred- it markets and arrested the worst of the crisis — witness the role of the Fed’s first round of QE in 2009-2010 — subsequent efforts have not sparked anything close to a normal cycli- cal recovery.
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