The most vocal critics of quantitative easing (QE) have often voiced a concern that seemed baseless—till now.
Their fear is as follows: The flood of liquidity released by central banks will eventually drive up inflation. Smart bond investors will anticipate high inflation by driving up yields on long-term bonds, in effect scuttling the recovery. Nothing of the sort has happened in the US and Europe.
But now look at Japan. Bond yields have doubled since April, when the Shinzo Abe government announced an ambitious stimulus programme that aims to push up Japanese inflation. The steep rise in bond yields is one indication of the investor fears that rattled Tokyo equities this week.
Japanese stock prices are still 40.57% up this year, so it is too early to write off Abenomics. But what has happened in Japan suggests that it is possible investors will eventually revolt against the inflationary consequences of QE.