Real interest rates

Asset price bubbles and Central Bank Policy
Alan Greenspan


Hedgefunds and all that


Moral Hazard

House prices

Wolfgang Münchau

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Rolf Englund IntCom internetional

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The really interesting question

I think the really interesting question to be asked to which extent central banks have contributed to, or even caused, this crisis.
This is not about Mr Greenspan, or a single monetary policy decision at a particular time, or whether US interest rates were raised too late in the last cycle.
This question relates to the longer-term impact of monetary policy during the age of global disinflation, which started in the early 1990s, and which has just ended.
The ECB, the Fed, and the Credit Crisis, Wolfgang Münchau. 07.11.2007

Now I do believe that the long period of negative real interest rates in the first half of this decade had a profound effect on credit growth - in a way that seems perfectly logical. If real interest rates are negative, it becomes rational for agents to borrow as much as they can get their hands on. So we should not fake surprise at the thought that a negative real interest rate produces an unsustainable credit boom. Yes, there are technical factors within the markets that have turned this boom into quite such a toxic event, but this can hardly explain why this crisis broke out at the time when it did.

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