Category Archives:

Interest rates

Bond market reaction to UK “Leave” vote

The UK has voted to “Leave” the EU.  We’re seeing some significant moves in fixed income assets first thing this morning as financial markets had very much discounted a “Remain” outcome, in line with the last opinion polls and in particular the betting markets which had heavily backed that outcome.  The biggest market movements though have occurred in the FX markets where the pound fell from ne…

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The unintended consequences of Negative Rate World Part II. An update.

At the start of April I wrote about some of the unintended consequences of central banks setting negative interest rates. I also promised to update the blog as we spotted more interesting implications, and asked readers to submit examples too.  Thanks for those who got in touch.  Here are some more of the interesting things that happen when the zero lower bound ceases to exist, as well as links…

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Will the €500 note trade at a premium or discount once the ECB stops printing them? The poll results are in…

Earlier this week Richard Woolnough wrote a blog about negative rates and tax on interest.  In it he also suggested that once the ECB stops printing the €500 note and ends issuance of its existing notes at the end of 2018, the legacy notes will trade at a premium.  The argument is that because the notes will remain legal tender across the Eurozone, demand for a note with the lowest storage cost…

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Negative rates – a tax on saving? Don’t forget about actual tax

There has been much discussion recently that by introducing negative rates central banks are effectively taxing savings. This is self-explanatory, and is one of the criticisms of how negative rates can distort economic behaviour. This however is not a new phenomenon.  Let’s not forget that money has always been effectively clipped by the traditional enemy of savers – inflation. Fortunately, hol…

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Negative Rate World (NRW) – a wiki of unintended consequences

The world has seen negative interest rates before – Switzerland set interest rates below zero for foreigners in the 1970s in order to slow flows into the Franc.  But today’s negative rate environment is far more widespread, with Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and the Eurozone all setting negative policy rates.  Lots has been written about the intended transmission mechanisms of negative r…

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Three reasons why the UK will not raise rates anytime soon

With the Fed recently raising its interest rates via a unanimous vote, I’ve been wondering whether the UK will shortly follow suit. The market seems to think not, pricing in the first UK rate rise in Q1 of 2017, compared to two further US rate hikes in 2016. At face value this huge divergence feels strange; both countries are targeting (and undershooting) a 2% inflation rate, both have similar …

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As economists predict a Fed rate hike, can we learn anything from the 2013 “Fed Fake”?

Thirty-five out of forty-one economists surveyed by Bloomberg currently expect the FOMC to hike the Fed Funds rate on September 17, thereby starting a period of policy normalisation. Most have pointed towards the July FOMC statement which noted better data on net in June and suggested some progress toward the conditions for lift-off. Those economists forecasting a rate hike will tell you that t…

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M&G Panoramic Outlook: The Case for Global Corporate Bond Investing

The euro’s 12-year low against the dollar is a mixed blessing for US companies. On the one hand, the US manufacturing sector is suffering from an uncompetitive currency and lower export revenues. But on the other, rock bottom European interest rates have given US companies an attractive opportunity to issue bonds denominated in euros and lock in cheap financing. For example, in the first quarte…

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The inherent monetary policy lag

Timing the Fed Rate Hike

The graph below shows US unemployment alongside the Fed rate over a period of 45 years. From this you can observe the broad relationship between the two, specifically the time delays between Fed rate hikes and the upturn in employment which has historically followed. This time the Fed have delayed the rate hike for a number of reasons, but if history is anything to go by, we can perhaps use thi…

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Why have bonds sold off – and why did they even rally in the first place?

Ben Bernanke has spent a good deal of time explaining on his blog why he thinks interest rates are so low (something that Martin Wolf wrote a column on earlier this week).  An extremely quick and dirty summary is low nominal interest rates and yields can be explained by low inflation, however this doesn’t explain why real interest rates are also low.  Bernanke doesn’t think low real interest ra…

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