Friday, November 1, 2013

Near-Zero Policy Rates Encourage “Carry Trades”

As a result, all of this excess liquidity is flowing to the financial sector rather than the real economy. Near-zero policy rates encourage “carry trades” – debt-financed investment in higher-yielding risky assets such as longer-term government and private bonds, equities, commodities and currencies of countries with high interest rates. The result has been frothy financial markets that could eventually turn bubbly.

Indeed, the US stock market and many others have rebounded more than 100% since the lows of 2009; issuance of high-yield “junk bonds” is back to its 2007 level; and interest rates on such bonds are falling. Moreover, low interest rates are leading to high and rising home prices – possibly real-estate bubbles – in advanced economies and emerging markets alike, including Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. - in Project Syndicate

Nouriel Roubini is an American professor of Economics at New York University`s Stern School of Business and chairman of RGE Roubini Global Economics
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