Interest rates are a fee that lenders charge borrowers for lending money. For example, homeowners are charged an interest rate on the mortgage they take from a bank.
Interest rates fluctuate based on a number of key factors, of which two of the most important are inflation and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve determines the interest rate charged between financial institutions via the federal funds rate, which is the key interest rate charged by commercial banks to other banks borrowing money, typically overnight.
By controlling interest rates, the Federal Reserve can control inflation in times of economic growth. The Federal Reserve can also modify interest rates to inject stimulus during an economic slowdown, as it did during three rounds of quantitative easing starting in late 2008.
By increasing interest rates during a period of economic growth, the Federal Reserve discourages borrowing. When interest rates are high, businesses and individuals generally take more time to consider the high cost to borrow before borrowing and spending.
By contrast, when the economy is underperforming, lowering the interest rate makes it cheaper for businesses and consumers to borrow. As a result, in theory, they spend more and stimulate economic growth.
By changing interest rates, central banks essentially change the demand for money. When the Federal Reserve pegs interest rates lower, the monetary policy is expanding—meaning money is cheaper. When interest rates are raised, it makes money more expensive and slows the rate at which the prices for goods and services increase.
Japanese Banks Run Dry of Bonds to Sell The Bank of Japan (BoJ) appears to have hit a ceiling on its monetary policy. In its eagerness to absorb government bonds, the BoJ seems to have exhausted the supply of bonds.
Low Rate Expectations Keeping Dollar Depressed The U.S. dollar dropped to an eight-week low against the euro today on speculation that the Federal Reserve will continue to keep interest rates low, making the currency less attractive for investors to hold..
Will Portugal Earn the ECB’s Trust? Portugal’s credit rating came under fire this week as the country struggled to keep its Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Holding its creditworthiness above water is a necessary condition for the country to continue.
Bond Yields Rise on Rate Hike Fears Just one day after the Federal Reserve released details from its July meeting, bonds began to swing wildly. There was a rabid sell-off, but traders moved back into both 10- and two-year Treasuries.
Fed Governors Suggest Rate Hike Imminent As Brexit-induced panic begins to fade, the Federal Reserve is rekindling the possibility of higher interest rates. Two Fed officials were dispatched to communicate the Fed’s willingness to raise interest rates, and unsurprisingly, their.
Rate Hike in September Still a Possibility U.S. bond prices declined after Federal Reserve officials cautioned the market that a September interest rate hike is still a possibility. The Federal Reserve may raise interest rates as soon as next month,.
Low Returns Driving Investors to Corporate Bonds Investors are willing to accept the smallest corporate bond yields when compared to U.S. Treasuries in a race to find returns. A Bloomberg yield analysis shows that corporate bond yield spread over Treasuries.
Depositors to Pay 0.4% Interest on Savings Over 100,000 Euros Remember when you first heard about the European Central Bank’s (ECB) negative interest rate policy? For quite a while, many have thought that interest rates on savings accounts would still.
Five Municipal Bond Funds Gets “Sell” Rating Income investors are no stranger to municipal bonds. However, a major financial services firm just warned about the risk in closed-end funds (CEFs) of municipal bonds. On Monday, August 15, Stifel Nicolaus analysts.
Rate Cuts Could See Diminishing Returns New York, NY — It has been over two years since the European Central Bank (ECB) adopted a negative interest rate policy. Now, two economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are saying that.