It's finally happened. The pool of free, or nearly free, money from Japan is drying up. Almost. The Japanese central bank raised the benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to a whopping 0.5%. If that seems like nothing, remember that the rate was actually just about nothing for more than half a decade. (My colleague and Global Gains teammate, Nate Parmelee, who lived in Japan, remembers overnight rates actually going negative.) It was only last July that the rate moved from 0 to 0.25%.
At that time, there was a bit of fear that global stock markets, fueled in part by borrowing cheap yen, might shrivel along with the dwindling liquidity. Obviously, that hasn't happened. In fact, the rising rate should probably be taken as a sign of health for the Japanese economy -- something the Japanese market appears to agree on, having barely budged on the news.
Is the shrug an indication that higher costs of borrowing won't really matter for companies like Toyota
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