Bonds worth $15tn, about a quarter of the global market, are offering negative returns, the FT reported last week. In other words, $100 of bonds, including interest payments, will return less than that amount throughout their lives. That's useful context in understanding why central bankers keep being asked about negative rates.
The central banks of the Eurozone, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden and Denmark all have rates set below zero to try and tackle very low inflation. It isn't working, but that's another story. Anyway, the Bank of England's governor Mark Carney has been asked whether the UK will try the policy.
"At this stage we do not see negative rates as an option here. I am not criticising others that have used them, but we don't see it as an option," Mr Carney told website Central Banking on 1 August in an interview published today.