Don’t get on your soap box! Talk about local stuff! Keep it relevant to our audience. All wise comments provided by my business partners about my weekly blogs. So I suspect no one will get to read this one. My editor will hide it away with the other content when I rant about my frustrations.
To understand where we are today with interest rates and where they might go next, we must look back over the last couple of years. If I can take you back to 2020 and a terrified World in the midst of COVID. The central banks around the World started Quantitative Easing a posh term for printing money. So, while there have been supply chain issues leftover from COVID and an unhelpful war in Ukraine, I’m pretty sure printing a load of money didn’t help with today’s issues of inflation. So these unelected, self-proclaiming experts who run our central banks have decided that interest rates needed to rise and fast.
Back in 2021 because there was a lot of cash about and we were still in an uncertain world many banks including Silicon Valley Bank & Credit Suisse decided to invest in what was considered the relatively safe haven of Government Bonds. You may remember at the time the talk of how Gilt prices hit all-time highs. This was due to the amount of money looking for somewhere safe to sit during uncertain times and low interest rates.
The problem with increasing Central Bank rates is that you reduce the value of previous bond issues at a lower interest rate. So, while the Fed, Bank of England and others have more than double interest rates they have more than halved the value of Bonds and in turn many banks’ assets. In 2008 the banking crises was caused by the loss in value of Mortgage- backed securities. Today we are on the brink of a banking crises caused by the loss in value of Government Bonds.
Right now, Central Bankers will be desperately trying to work out who and to what extent banks are exposed. I suspect we will see the loosening of many rules created back in 2008. But, they are in no position to continue with the aggressive hiking of interest rates. This situation is entirely of their own making so it will be interesting to see who the blame this time; Mr Putin, greedy bankers or the populate.
Personally, I think Monetary Policy has had its day. It worked great in the late 1980’s and 1990’s but that is 30 years ago. The world has moved on and surely the same should be true for economists. Central banks and Governments are now forced into findings ways to control inflation without increasing interest rates. In fact, to alleviate the issues they’ve created they may well have to start reducing interest rates sooner than planned.