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Negative Interest Rates Are Turning Things Upside Down

 

 

Howard Marks’s new letter called “Mysterious” is out. In it, the director and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital contemplates the mysteries of negative interest ratesin Europe and Japan, and flashes some humor—the latter being no small feat in a financial missive.

 

Marks says his first brush with the concept of lending money for a nominal loss came in 2014 when making an investment in Spain. He describes the following conversation with his banker, Carlos, upon wiring funds for a closing.

 

Carlos: The money has arrived. What should I do with it between now and Monday?

 

Marks: Put it in the bank.

 

Carlos: You know that means you’ll get less out on Monday than you put in today.

 

Marks: Okay, then don’t put it in the bank.

 

Photograph by Giorgio Trovato

 

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