By Chris Berry (@cberry1)
For a PDF copy of this note, please click here.
It is widely acknowledged that credit is the lifeblood of an economy. It provides the leverage for growth. The interest rate assigned to a fixed income security can then be thought of as the “cost” or “price” of the credit.
This makes sense as lenders want to ensure their assets (cash, typically) earn a return above the risk free rate. To be clear, there is much more to determining an interest rate, but this is the basic premise.
What happens, though, when that rate goes negative?
This note is a primer on negative interest rates, a phenomenon not unheard of, but increasingly en vogue in the wake of the Bank of Japan’s surprising (or maybe not so surprising) announcement to set the interest rate they charge commercial banks to deposit money at the BoJ at -0.1%.
By Chris Berry (@cberry1)
For a PDF of this note, click here.
With few exceptions, deflationary forces are likely to challenge growth in much of the world in 2015. With the global economy more tightly integrated than ever before, the risk of much of the world catching a “disinflationary” or deflationary cold is pronounced. Most commodities are trading at or near five year lows, real interest rates negative in various countries, and Central Banks are having difficulty hitting their (admittedly low) inflation targets of 2%. It’s obvious to even the most casual observer that the inflation genie is not even close to being let out of the bottle.
Given that the global economy is generally struggling to generate “escape velocity” growth, the main question is how deflation might spread? I see three transmission mechanisms:
globalization, high debt to GDP ratios, and innovation in technology spurred by R&D.
This note discusses the first two mechanisms with a focus on China’s efforts to halt the “export” of deflation.
By Chris Berry
It’s interesting to note that on the same day the International Monetary Fund released their annual World Economic Outlook which lowered expectations for global growth (yet again), that several potentially large mining deals were either launched or mooted.
While the talk of the potential deal for a merger between Glencore (GLEN:LN) and Rio Tinto (RIO:LN, RIO:NYSE) dominated the headlines, two (relatively) smaller deals were also announced recently.
Anglo American (AAL:LN) will reportedly commence with a sale of up to $1 billion worth of copper assets in Chile including the Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde mines, along with AAL’s 50.1 percent stakes in the El Soldado mine and Chagres smelter according to Bloomberg. These assets are small relative to others in AAL’s portfolio, but a willingness to part with them says a great deal about the company’s thoughts on the need to generate returns in the current macroeconomic environment.