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…Read the article
Negative interest rates have become increasingly prevalent in Europe owing to the expansionary monetary policy measures with a number of central banks implementing negative base rates (Switzerland, and Sweden). Two weeks ago 3 month Euribor, (the reference rate for the majority of Pan-European Asset-Backed Securities (ABS)), followed 1 month Euribor (largely the preserve of most European Auto A…Read the article
Have you seen the film The Day After Tomorrow? The one where U.N. officials foolishly ignore climate scientist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) and a super-storm plunges New York into a new Ice Age? Well it was colder than that last week when Mike and I made a research visit over there. With wind-chill it was a billion below. I was only able to survive by laughing at Mike forgetting to wear a hat and g…Read the article
Matt’s and James’s recent blogs outlined some of the issues markets face when rates go negative. This is obviously no longer just a theoretical debate, but has real investment implications. Why do investors accept sub-zero rates when they can hold cash ?
To recap using Swiss Francs for example, it makes sense for a saver from a purely economic view not to deposit a Swiss Franc note into a negat…Read the article
It has been a while since we talked about QE, but we covered this substantially in the past (see for example ‘Sub Zero?’, ‘QE – quite extraordinary‘ and ‘Quantitative easing – walking on custard‘). It now appears, at least for the time being, to be a part of monetary history in the UK, and more recently the US. However, it is being reapplied in Japan and about to do a grand tour of Europe. Our…Read the article
We are entering a new era for interest rates in the developed world. The extended period of ever looser monetary policy is starting to draw to a close. In the wake of the tapering of quantitative easing (QE) from the Federal Reserve (Fed), investors now expect to see the first interest rate hikes in many years, initially in the UK and shortly afterwards in the US. The principal focus of the deb…Read the article
After the ‘taper tantrum’ of 2013, many commentators predict that the catalyst for a sell-off in fixed income assets could be the ending of quantitative easing by the US Federal Reserve later this year. In the latest issue of our Panoramic Outlook series, I present an alternative view to this consensus thinking, analysing a number of dynamics in bond markets that have surprised investors during…Read the article
After yesterday’s poor U.S. GDP number and despite Mark Carney’s seemingly dovish testimony before the Treasury Select Committee, the Bank of England is increasingly looking like it will be the first of the major central banks to hike rates. At this stage, the BoE can retain its dovish stance because inflation is not an issue. However, in an environment of falling unemployment, early signs of a…Read the article
Whether or not you believe that the ECB moves to full government bond purchase quantitative easing this week (and the market overwhelmingly says that it’s only a remote possibility) the fact that German bund yields at the 2 year maturity remain positive is a bit surprising. The 2 year bund currently yields 0.05%, lower than the 0.2% it started the year at, but higher than you might have expecte…Read the article
There is currently a huge economic fear of deflation. This fear is basically built on the following three pillars.
First, that deflation would result in consumers delaying any purchases of goods and services as they will be cheaper tomorrow than they are today. Secondly, that debt will become unsustainable for borrowers as the debt will not be inflated away, creating defaults, recession and fur…Read the article