- Safes Sell Out In Japan, 1,000 Franc Note Demand Soars As NIRP Triggers Cash Hoarding
by Tyler Durden, www.zerohedge.com
Negative rates may not have found their way to bank deposits in most locales (yet), but that doesn’t mean the public isn’t starting to see the writing on the wall.
When NIRP failed to resuscitate global growth and trade, the cash ban calls began. The thinking is simple (if crazy): if you do away with physical banknotes, the effective lower bound is thereby eliminated. You can make rates as negative as you like because the public has no recourse as people aren’t able to push back by eschewing their bank accounts the mattress.
If that seems far-fetched, consider that the ECB is seriously considering pulling the €500 euro note and the calls are growing louder for the Fed to drop the $100 bill. Of course officials are pitching the big bill bans as an attempt to fight crime – because only a criminal would pay with a $100. But the underlying push is for a cashless society wherein monetary authorities can effectively force citizens to spend and thereby boost the economy by simply making interest rates deeply negative.
“Look no further than Japan’s hardware stores for a worrying new sign that consumers are hoarding cash–the opposite of what the Bank of Japan had hoped when it recently introduced negative interest rates,” WSJ wrote this morning. “Signs are emerging of higher demand for safes—a place where the interest rate on cash is always zero, no matter what the central bank does.”
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, circulation of the 1,000 franc note soared 17% last year in the wake of the SNB’s move to NIRP.