The Wacky World of Negative Interest Rates

Sweden is not the only country where negative rates have led to strange behavior. The Swiss rushed to pay taxes early in order to get a bonus rebate that was better than interest offered by banks (paywall). In Denmark, some banks are paying homebuyers interest on their mortgages (paywall). Japanese savers are buying fancy fire-proof safes to store cash over fears their banks may levy charges on deposits. A huge share of government bonds issued by advanced economies pay lenders less than face value; the European Central Bank itself is a big buyer of these guaranteed money-losers.