CNBC’s Jim Cramer doesn’t understand why investors reacted positively to news that the Bank of Japan unexpectedly adopted negative interest rates.
“I saw futures jump huge when Japan announced this, but it’s like: ‘No, guys. It’s bad for us,'” Cramer said on “Squawk Box.” “This is about them taking share from us.”
In a move that was signaled by the Nikkei business daily minutes ahead of the decision, the BOJ said it will apply a rate of negative 0.1 percent to excess reserves that financial institutional place at the bank, effective Feb. 16.
Charging banks for the privilege of parking some of their excess funds was an unexpected move, although not without precedent. The European Central Bank slashed interest rates below zero last year to push down borrowing costs and prod banks to lend more.
In its announcement, the BOJ said the Japanese economy has recovered modestly with underlying inflation and spending by companies and households ticking up.
But the bank warned that increasing uncertainty in emerging markets and commodity-exporting countries may delay an improvement in Japanese business confidence and negatively affect the current inflation trend.
The BOJ’s inflation target is 2 percent. The BOJ now forecasts core inflation to average 0.2 to 1.2 percent between April 2016 and March 2017.
Cramer said lower interest rates abroad hurt the U.S. economy because they stimulate foreign competition.
“This is a Toyota versus Ford,” said Cramer. “I just can’t believe that we always seem to react positively to things that are really bad. It is about taking our jobs away.”
— CNBC’s Nyshka Chandran contributed to this report.