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In "Paranormal" Europe, Banks Will Pay You To Borrow, And Charge You To Save

A month ago, we wrote about a bizarre situation involving Denmark's now totally broken monetary system, where as a result of an unprecedented scramble to weaken the currency in order to preserve the peg to the Euro the central bank unleashed a historic rate-cutting scramble, where in 4 consecutive rate cuts its pushed the interest rate to an unheard of -0.75% (while at the same time being the first modern central bank to unveil what we dubbed "Bizarro Backdoor QE"). The culmination of this series of events was the surreal realization by some debtors that the bank would now pay them the interest on their new or existing mortgage.

The insanity was only compounded when one considers that in the vast majority of European countries, depositors are already (or will soon) pay for the "privilege" of providing banks with unsecured funds (in the US, JPM recently also started charging some customers - mostly corporate and hedge funds- for holding their deposits).

In short, this is what Europe has become: savers - those who diligently put away the fruits of their labor - are now forced to pay, using banks as an intermediary, and subsidize the the debtor: spenders, who live beyond their means, and who in increasingly more frequent situations are now paid to take out even more debt! Call it monetary socialism.

Which is probably why with a one month delay, none other than the NYT decided to cover precisely this topic with "In Europe, Bond Yields and Interest Rates Go Through the Looking Glass"

Here is the story in a nutshell, shown with pictures so even central bank idiots and other economist PhDs will get it:

A Denmark bank will pay Eva Christiansen, left, $1 a month for taking out a loan. Ida Mottelson's bank will charge her to hold her money:

The key highlights from the NYT story:

At first, Eva Christiansen barely noticed the number. Her bank called to say that Ms. Christiansen, a 36-year-old entrepreneur here, had been approved for a small business loan. She whooped. She danced. A friend took pictures.

 

“I think I was so happy I got the loan, I didn’t hear everything he said,” she recalled.

 

And then she was told again about her interest rate. It was -0.0172 percent — less than zero. While there would be fees to pay, the bank would also pay interest to her.

 

* * *

... some corporate bonds, which are generally deemed less creditworthy than government bonds, are falling into the negative territory, including some issued by Nestlé and Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. While they did not initially have negative yields, investors bid up their prices after they were issued. “This is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime and once-in-history phenomenon,” said Heather L. Loomis, a managing director at JPMorgan Private Bank, who specializes in bonds, “and it is hard to make sense of it.”

 

Ms. Christiansen, a sex therapist, took out a loan to finance a website called LoveShack that is part matchmaking site, part social network. For her, the full novelty of her loan didn’t sink in until a spokeswoman for the bank called her back.

 

“She said, ‘Hi, Eva, they have contacted us from TV 2’ — it’s a big station in Denmark, one of the biggest — ‘and they would like to talk to you because of this loan,’” Ms. Christiansen said. “Then I was really like, ‘O.K., this is big.’”

 

She said she was generally aware of what the Danish central bank was doing, but fuzzy on the specifics and had not paid close attention to the issue until she realized she might be asked about it in front of a camera.

 

“When I was contacted by the television, I was like, ‘O.K., I need to know something,’” she said, laughing, during an interview at her office, where two distant windmills were visible outside the windows. “So I actually called my bank adviser and said, ‘Can we please have a meeting?’ Because all these financial terms, I’m not used to them,” she said. “If I talk about something, I’d like to know something about it.”

 

* * *

Some other Danes are facing a related, if somewhat opposite, issue.

 

Last month, Ida Mottelson, a 27-year-old student, received an email from her bank telling her that it would start charging her one-half of 1 percent to hold her money. “At first I thought I had misunderstood this, but I hadn’t,” she said.

 

Ms. Mottelson is studying for a master’s degree in health sciences, and lives in Odense, a city about 100 miles west of Copenhagen. She said she had been following the news about the central bank, but called her own bank just to make sure she was reading the email correctly.

 

“I asked him supernaïvely, ‘Can you explain this to me?’ And he tried, but I got the feeling he was like, come on, just move the money and you’ll be fine.”

 

She does plan to move her money to another bank. “I’m not an expert,” Ms. Mottelson said, “but to me it sounds so weird that you have to pay to have your account at a bank.”

You are right, Ms. Mottelson: it is. And it will only get much weirder from here. Because we have now gotten so far past the looking glass into a world in which the central banks have broken every correlation and logical relationship so profoundly, that nothing makes sense any more; whoever, before the now inevitable grand reset when everything finally collapses under the unsustainable weight of the global house of cards, things will only going get even stranger.

And while we have been lamenting all of this years in advance, all of which we predicted would happen back in June 2012, we are delighted that even the mainstream media has once again, with the usual two to three year delay, caught up with what Zero Hedge readers knew long, long ago.

These are strange times for European borrowers, as if a wormhole has opened up to a parallel universe where the usual rules of financial gravity are suspended. Investors lent Germany nearly $4 billion this week, knowing they would not be fully repaid. Bonds issued by the Swiss candy maker Nestlé recently traded in the market for more than they will ever be worth.

 

Consumers loans and mortgages with interest rates that are outright negative remain rare, and Ms. Christiansen appears to be one of the few who actually received one while banks mull how to proceed. Some other Danes are getting charged to park their money in their bank accounts.

 

* * *

 

Such paranormal financial episodes are taking place all across Europe.

Indeed, call it the new "paranormal", and thank the central-planners for bringing the world to the edge, and beyond, of reason, where nothing makes sense any more. But don't worry, because this time it's different, and there will be a happy ending for everyone involved...