In the face of deteriorating global growth prospects the Bank of Japan in a controversial move at the end of last month decided to adopt negative interest rates. The benchmark rate will be lowered to -0.1% on February 16 in the hope that it will encourage the country’s banks to increase lending to businesses. Japan is facing economic stagnation and policymakers are keen to boost spending and investment. In a clear sign that the authorities are determined to achieve its inflation target of 2.0%, governor Haruhiko Kuroda has said that there is no limit as to how low rates could go. Japan’s economy is being hit by the downturn in China, which is also weighing on world growth and global oil prices.