More Evidence BoJ Desperate To Steepen Yield Curve

Two days ago, we highlighted how Bank of Japan officials have been briefing Reuters about reducing its monetary stimulus earlier than markets had been expecting – around 1Q 2018 rather than later in the year. In particular, the yield curve control (YCC) is likely to be eased from the current target of zero percent for 10-year JGB yields. It seems the BoJ became frustrated that markets had failed to respond to his hints about the “reversal rate”, i.e. that central banks can lower rates too far and damage financial institutions and the provision of credit in the economy. The one (former) BoJ official who was prepared to go on the record explained.

“Reversal rate is a pretty shocking word to come out of the mouth of a BOJ governor. It’s unthinkable the BOJ would insert it in Kuroda’s speech without any policy intention,” said Takahide Kiuchi, who was a BOJ board member until July.


The BOJ may allow long-term rates to rise more by shifting its long-term rate target to five-year yields from 10-year yields around the first quarter of next year, Kiuchi said. “The BOJ could put a positive spin on the move by saying it can more effectively reflate growth by keeping short-term borrowing costs low while allowing longer yields to rise.”

We might assume that the BoJ is becoming obsessed with steepening the yield curve and we got confirmation of this overnight. A story which flashed up on Bloomberg about the BoJ tapering bond purchases at the super long end.

BOJ Bond Cut Shows Desire to Steepen Yield Curve: Merrill Lynch


Bank of Japan’s slight cut in buying of bonds maturing in more than 25 years suggests its desire to steepen the yield curve, says Shuichi Obsaki, chief rates strategist for Japan at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.


Yield curve has been flattening of late and the BOJ is probably sending a message that it wants the super-long yield curve to steepen.

In terms of the mechanics, the BoJ today cut its purchases of bonds maturing in more than 25 years to 90 billion Yen from 100 billion yen at the previous offer on 17 November 2017. This was the first cut since March. JGB yields rose on the news in Friday trading, as Bloomberg reports.

JGB yields rose across the curve after the BOJ trimmed outright debt purchase in the super long sector.


BOJ reduced purchases of bonds with maturity of more than 25 years by 10b yen to 90b yen; it was the bank’s first cut in the sector since March.


Purchase volume for the 10-to-25-year zone was unchanged at 200b


JGB futures closed regular day down 0.13 at 151.02; key futures suffered the biggest intraday loss since Oct. 2, losing as much as 0.21


10-year cash bond yield rises 0.5bp to 0.025%; 20-year yield gains 1bp to 0.57%; 30-year climbs 2.5bps to 0.830%


Falls in JGB futures were exaggerated by sharp rise on Wednesday

It appears that the BoJ had become panicked by the yield curve flattening after reports that the government might reduce the issuance of super-long bonds in the next fiscal year, i.e. to March 2019. On Wednesday, there was a meeting between officials from Japan’s Ministry of Finance and primary dealers to discuss the plans for issuance in the next fiscal year.

While inflation is remains far below its 2% target, the BoJ is being forced into a policy reversal due to the damage its NIRP/ZIRP policy is doing to the financial sector. However, it’s portraying its defeat as  a victory via the supposed reflationary signalling of steepening yield curve. It’s utter nonsense and a shameful reflection on the depths which central bankers will stoop to.


MaxThrust Fri, 11/24/2017 - 19:39 Permalink

The adjective desperate is more appropriate for someone with the "runs" trying to find a key to the bathroom. Not the  molasses motional movements of the yield curve.This can be added to the shocking no-video of Norks running to freedom.I am getting to the stage that if I see a headline like these I don't click on it. 

Late onset ADHD Fri, 11/24/2017 - 20:01 Permalink

good luck with that... globally, when it finally lets loose and happens it'll start in asia - and be 'less than' a 24 hour event... reap the whirlwind... keep stacking...

Nomad Trader Fri, 11/24/2017 - 21:00 Permalink

I suppose I'm a contrarian here but I honestly think it's a good idea for govts and CBs to actively steepen their yield curves. That, more than anything, would produce the confidence/confirmation needed for a surge in GDP. Indeed, despite arguments that, "they can't afford higher rates," I happen to believe they can. That's because it only takes a few good years to dramatically increase the base and put a serious dent in GDP/debt ratios. 

LetThemEatRand Nomad Trader Fri, 11/24/2017 - 21:41 Permalink

"I suppose I'm a contrarian here but I honestly think it's a good idea for govts and CBs to actively steepen their yield curves."Good idea for whom?  If you mean the average guy, yes.  If you mean the people who own the CBs (and the governments), not so much.  Which is why it won't happen.  This is the phase where they print money and buy real assets for themselves, while starving out savers among the middle class.  Yes, some upper middle stock holders and real estate owners are going to benefit, but no doubt there is a plan for them later.

In reply to by Nomad Trader

buzzsaw99 Sat, 11/25/2017 - 08:20 Permalink

In terms of the mechanics, the BoJ today cut its purchases of bonds maturing in more than 25 years to 90 billion Yen from 100 billion yen...look at me, i'm relevant!  i'm still relevant!  pathetic.we live still!  [/evil dead 2]