Business

How a central bank can ruin your lunch break

Twitter screenshot Image copyright @etleggett/Twitter

Imagine a day in the office of your regular financial analyst, pundit, or trader. Today's big event? The Bank of Japan is meeting over an interest rate decision - will they or won't they?

That's a big deal, and you're stuck behind your desk, eyes glued to the screen, waiting to see what will happen.

Still waiting. Hitting "refresh" every now and then.

The BOJ is known to sometimes drag out its meetings, so you keep waiting a bit longer. Refresh. Wait. Refresh.

No? Still nothing? Alright, so where better to go to vent your anger (and pass your time) than Twitter, which is what scores of Japanese traders were doing late on Wednesday morning.

"I've not gone to a toilet or had lunch for two hours. Mr Kuroda, BOJ members, please…" is what the cartoon character in this tweet pleads.

Image copyright @araizumiC/Twitter

But Haruhiko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan, was too busy meeting to hear the plea. So the waiting continued.

"Does the BOJ know that our lunch time is only till 1pm?"

Apparently not, or at least the central bank chose to ignore that predicament of traders and analysts up and down the country.

In fact not just up and down Japan; the global Twittersphere saw equal condemnation of that long, long bank meeting.

One tweet shared a picture of a skeleton sitting behind a computer desk. Death by waiting and boredom.

An unlikely form of demise, but certainly a scandal worth all the media attention in the world, some users suggest.

Image copyright @tkosmzw/Twitter

"I want Yahoo News to do a story on 'Anger towards the BOJ as its announcement was so late'."

We heard you, @tkosmzw.

Image copyright @NonFangWolf/Twitter

With the clocks ticking, there were even jokes that maybe we all just got the timing wrong.

"There's a small chance the BOJ meeting wasn't today," writes @NonFanWolf, while others were joking that possibly Mr Kuroda had just had a lie in.

The BOJ did eventually fling open its doors and announced - wait for it - no change to its interest rate.

Phew, the wait is over. Although admittedly, the announcement from the bank was what everybody had been expecting anyway.

Let's have a look then at the BOJ website to see what exactly it was that took Mr Kuroda et al that long to come up with.

Wait, now the BOJ website is down?

Image copyright @mat201407/Twitter

Apparently you're not the only one trying to look up the details on the BOJ page and that sudden avalanche of interest has brought the page down on its knees. "Temporarily unavailable."

"Thank you for your patience," it says, but it seems not everyone actually had that patience.

Image copyright @MasatterSunward/Twitter

"But… I cannot access the BOJ site. I need to read the details," is the outrage by @MasatterSunward and others.

Eventually, after another round of refresh-wait-refresh-wait-refresh, the page is back up.

Details trickling in show that after all, the lender wants to overhaul parts of its policy framework and stays committed to reaching its 2% inflation target.

Not really that much of a surprise, but probably not enough of one to jolt that skeleton back to life.

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