Is ‘Abeggedon’ Approaching?

by William Pesek
The Japan Times

Time to short the yen again? It’s tempting to wonder as none other than Mr. Yen, aka Eisuke Sakakibara, says the currency will strengthen to 100 by year-end.

A one-time Finance Ministry big shot, Sakakibara has long been a walking, talking (too much, actually) contrarian indicator. One quick example: During a panel I moderated in May 2010, I asked Sakakibara if the Bank of Japan might raise interest rates within five years. He laughed out loud, flailed his arms in the air and dismissed the idea as “just stupid!” His conclusion: “Of course the BOJ will be raising rates by then! Everyone knows that!”

Not so much. Six years on, the BOJ is pushing rates further into negative territory — and under great pressure to keep going.

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