by Alex Moneton, Sovereign Man:
Yesterday I called my bank in Denmark, Nordea, and couldn’t believe what they told me…
They offered to lend me money at MINUS 0.12% for a ten-year mortgage.
In other words, the bank would PAY ME to take out a loan.
Of course, as a Sovereign Man editor, I’ve written a lot about negative interest rates. But most of these cases were always reserved for big banks or institutions.
That no longer seems to be the case…
Now, negative interest rates ARE the norm. Thousands, if not tens of thousands of Danes will go out and take out mortgages that will pay them every month.
This is completely mind-boggling to me. But it just highlights how broken the financial system really is.
Everything about this is in complete violation of the law of prosperity Simon Black’s been writing about for years: produce more than you consume and invest the difference.
Now, institutions and governments are incentivizing people to consume, instead of save. In fact, they’re paying people to go into debt.
That is not how prosperity is created. Instead of encouraging people to invest their surplus capital in productive investments, people are penalized for saving in the first place.
It’s like everything has been turned upside down.
Some of the most popular investments on the planet are the ones that burn the most cash (Tesla, Netflix, Uber, etc.)
Insolvent governments in Europe are able to borrow at negative yields, with no afterthought whatsoever as to the consequences.
And bankrupt governments like Argentina are able to borrow for 100 YEARS and pay next to nothing for it (even though Argentina went bankrupt twice in the last thirty years alone).
None of this makes any sense.
Here in Europe, bank deposits yield close to 0%.
In 2016, the Swiss government even asked its citizens to delay their tax payments as long as possible, because the government didn’t want to pay negative interest rates on those balances.
And in the United States, banks rob their customers blind time and time again by lying, stealing and deceiving them.
It’s extraordinary to me that these are the options we have with our money today.
Luckily, it isn’t all doom and gloom.
As my friend Simon says it: the world is a big place… and sometimes, we can make this insanity play to our advantage.
Just in the same way that I can get paid to borrow money…
And that bankrupt governments can borrow at negative yields….
And that companies losing BILLIONS each year with no end in sight can be some of the most popular investments in the world…
It also works the other way around.
Occasionally, we can find extremely well-managed businesses that are profitable, have a pristine balance sheet and pay generous dividends to their shareholders, that are selling for rock-bottom prices.
Our in-house Chief Investment Officer, Tim Staermose, editor of the 4th Pillar, spends his time scouring the corners of global stock markets for these opportunities.
One example he found was a boring Japanese company called Kitagawa Industries.
It had $151 million of cash in its bank account… Yet the value of ALL its shares was just $114 million– 24% lower than its net cash balance.
In other words, you could have theoretically bought every single share of Kitagawa for $114 million, put the entire $151 million bank balance in your pocket, shut the company down, and walked away with a tidy $37 million profit.
Make no mistake, this wasn’t some hot cash-burning start-up. It was a mature, profitable business with a long and successful operating history.
There was absolutely no good reason for it to be selling at such a large discount and no rational shareholder would ever agree to a deal like that.
But markets aren’t rational… so Tim recommended members of our flagship investment service, the 4th Pillar, buy the shares.