Category Archives: Interest Rates

MODERN MONETARY THEORY. Australian inflation data defies mainstream macro predictions, again – Bill Mitchell.

Even though inflation has been benign now for some quarters, the market economists, banks, still think it is about to accelerate and the RBA will be hiking interest rates.

But the reality is quite the opposite.

One of the on-going myths that mainstream (New Keynesian) economists propagate is that monetary policy (adjusting of interest rates) is an effective way to manage the economic cycle. They claim that central banks can effectively manipulate total spending by adjusting the cost of borrowing to increase output and push up the inflation rate. The empirical experience does not accord with those assertions.

Central bankers around the world have been demonstrating how weak monetary policy is in trying to stimulate demand. They have been massively building up their balance sheets through QE to push their inflation rates up without much success.

Further, it has been claimed that a sustained period of low interest rates would be inflationary. Well, again the empirical evidence doesn’t support that claim. The evidence supports the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) preference for fiscal policy over monetary policy.

. . . Professor Bill Mitchell

A Keynesian Opportunity Missed. Did We Take Low Interest Rates for Granted? – NY Times. 

The era of superlow interest rates, which began in 2008, will draw to a close this year if, as expected, the Federal Reserve lifts rates to fend off inflation from tax cuts and spending increases under a Trump administration.

The end of rock-bottom rates represents a huge missed opportunity for generations of Americans. Congress could have — and should have — used those near-zero rates to borrow money to rebuild the country’s decrepit infrastructure, which would have sped up the recovery by creating jobs and set the stage for growth long into the future.

That chance was squandered. After Republicans won control of the House in 2010, they managed to shift the debate from economic-recovery spending to deficit reduction. They did this despite evidence that the still-weak economy required more, not less, federal aid, and even threatened to default on the national debt unless federal spending was slashed. In 2013 and 2014, the budget was cut so deeply that the government sector subtracted from economic growth. In 2015, the government added nothing to growth. In 2016, it added a smidgen.

New York Times

Fed rate hike a milestone for world markets – Jamie Gray. 

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s announcement of an official rate hike marked a significant milestone for the world’s financial markets.

In one of the year’s most anticipated market events, the Fed raised its official fed funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 0.5 to 0.75 per cent.

While the hike came as a surprise to no one, the Fed’s projection that it could raise rates three more times in 2017 was seen as a more aggressive, or hawkish, stance than was generally expected.

The US 10-year bond yield bumped up to 2.57 per cent for the first time since 2014, giving investors yet more evidence that world interest rates are finally on the move after a seemingly interminable post-Global Financial Crisis hiatus.

At 0.5 to 0.75 per cent, the fed funds rate is still a long way short of the 3 per cent norm. 

NZ Herald

Janet is saying: “interest rates are going nowhere but UP!”.