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interest rates

the us economy is not slowing down its getting close to full employment

The US economy is not slowing down, it’s getting close to full employment

We are a little bemused following the latest US Employment report. The headline figure of +38,000 jobs for May (expected: +160,000) disappointed the market, with Treasuries rallying and a June/July rate hike off the table in most economists’ views. A decline in the participation rate to 62.6% helped the unemployment rate fall to 4.7%, the lowest level since 2007, while average hourly earnings r…

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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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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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Chicago research trip video: Tight labour markets and crisis-like corporate bond valuations

It has been a while since we last uploaded a video from one of our U.S. research trips. The question we asked in March as to whether the Fed would hike interest rates this year or not has still not been conclusively answered. Although a 2015 hike is not completely off the table, as we are entering the final two months of the year it seems a lot less likely than it did back then. Nonetheless, fr…

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Robotisation rates are correlated with demographics

“We need to hike…so that we have room to cut if we need to”. Eh? And some robot stuff too.

I keep hearing the argument that the Fed needs to hike, so that if the US economy slows down again it will have room to cut rates once more.  In other words it needs to get away from the zero bound so that the traditional monetary policy tool of rate cutting comes back into play in the future.  In less cerebral moments I may have made this argument myself, but I’m struggling to remember why it …

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What should the relationship be between index-linked bond yields and equity yields?

There ought to be a relationship between yields available on equities (earnings or dividend yields) and those on index-linked gilts and other inflation-linked bonds.  Ex-ante, and adjusted for risk, expected returns should be similar across asset classes.  In the case of equities and index-linked bonds, both asset classes give you exposure to “real” returns on both income and capital.  For inde…

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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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Negative interest rates in European ABS

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…

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Video: Jim & Mike go to NY to ask the big question. Will the Fed hike in 2015?

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…

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The zero bound debate – are negative rates a tightening of policy?

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…

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