Occasionally, an anomaly becomes the new normal, and this seems to be true of negative interest rates in many regions of the world. Used as a tool of expansionary monetary policy in the aftermath of the global recession, negative rates may be wearing out their welcome, especially in some countries in Europe. But can they be scrapped entirely, or are they a natural part of the global economy’s cyclical trends?
Interest rates have been depressed for so long in Europe, it’s hard to remember when they actually soared into the teens. In fact, today, the natural interest rate is flirting with negative values. Due to a number of factors, such as an ageing population and sluggish trend growth, the natural interest rate is not likely to rise anytime soon. The remedy may not lie with central banks but with governments.
Interbank offered rates, the interest rates at which banks lend and borrow in the interbank market, are being replaced by risk-free rates, partly due to past rate-rigging scandals. In Europe, what is in itself a tricky conversion has been made even more complicated by the implementation of the wider EU Benchmark Regulation. Market participants must not delay in preparing to meet the transitional challenges as the deadline draws nearer.
Little is more valuable to financial-market participants than accurate predictions of future growth. With interest rates on the rise in the US, investors are anxiously looking for indications of an impending recession. But what are yield curves really telling us about future growth prospects—in the United States and also in Australia? Is dreaded recession in the cards, or is modest slowdown more likely?
The good news is that economic growth globally is strong, with a few exceptions, as the world shakes off the effects of the Great Recession. But economists are uneasy about troubling undercurrents, such as protectionist trade policies, that could whip up into a global trade war. Most are hoping that trade relationships can be repaired, acknowledging that the time is now to rebuild rather than burn bridges.
While the pace of bank M&A transactions in 2018 has been on par with the same period in 2017, deal valuations are on the rise. During the first quarter, the aggregate value of all announced bank deals was $4.08 billion, down sharply from $9.08 billion a year earlier
Monetary Policy Dilemma in Latin America and the Caribbean: To Raise or Not to Raise Policy Interest Rates
As economic conditions return to “normal” in the industrial world, policy interest rates will inevitably rise from zero to “normal”—but not necessarily in Latin America and the Caribbean. Central banks in LAC will need to tailor their monetary-policy decisions to tackle the three-pronged challenge of currency depreciation, higher inflation and deceleration in economic activity, as capital flies away from emerging markets.
Quantitative easing and low interest rates were to work together to ignite roaring economic growth following the last financial crisis; in some parts of the world, monetary policy has set interest rates at zero (even below), but growth remains elusive and rock-bottom inflation rates coincide with interest rates. What went wrong?
In facility agreements, maintaining a zero floor for the IBOR gives lenders assurance that their transactions will at least not be punishing. But how do lenders and borrowers respond when interest rate swaps enter the arena, leading to the possibility of mismatches in rates payable, especially when negative interest rates are a factor?
At the beginning of 2017, the European Central Bank (ECB) confirmed that it will keep its benchmark rate unchanged at 0 percent and its deposit rate at -0.4 percent. To sustain European economies, the ECB will also continue its bond-buying program with 80 billion euros (US$85 billion) per month until the end of March.