Response of Asset Prices to Monetary Policy under Abenomics



In this paper, I investigate the causes of the recent sharp response of the yen and Japanese stock prices to the discussion of, and the subsequent implementation of bold monetary easing by the Bank of Japan as demanded by Prime Minister Abe. I present statistical evidence that the response of the two asset prices have indeed been unusually large relative to the past experience with nonconventional monetary policy (NCM) even after allowance is given for the rise in global economic activity and asset prices. I also point out that the rally has been led by speculative trading by foreign investors, while domestic investors have largely stayed on the sidelines. I discuss possible reasons for such foreign investor behavior. Simply put, the unprecedented political pressure raised hopes of the adoption of bold measures by the Bank of Japan. I discuss, however, the possibility that the room for further action by the Bank is quite limited apart from what might be called a targeted helicopter drop of money. I also point out the possibility that investor behavior may have not been based on economic fundamentals. The asset price volatility since April 2013 is interpreted in the light of such discussions.