Fed Chairman Powell has spoken unreservedly for a year now that he was serious about fighting inflation and will do ‘whatever it takes.’ Hardly anyone can question that resolve given the unprecedented 4.25% rate increases in the last nine months (see first Image below). The pace of hikes, however, makes the case that the lack of rate action till March of this year was the wrong decision, with the benefit of hindsight.
Interest rates have the ability to impact consumer spending, saving, the economy, inflation and so much more. But how exactly do they work and how do they impact you? Here’s everything you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of high interest rates – and low.
As the Federal Reserve executes its policy shift from pandemic era generosity to inflation busting zeal, financial markets are at crossroads. It fears, not necessarily the exit of ‘easy’ money supply as much as a policy error, the kind that takes an economy with underlying consumer demand greater than pre-pandemic levels and leaves it without a pulse.
Topics: Interest Rates
As the saying goes, if it is too good to be true, it usually is. In this case it is true, thanks to a recent inflation indicator.
A little-known type of U.S Government bonds called I-bonds are currently yielding more than 7%. The I-bond is a type of U.S. savings bond that is indexed to the Consumer Price Index’s trailing 6 month change. When the Treasury reset the rate at the beginning of November it was 7.12% annualized. This rate will be effective until May 2022.
Inflation is on the minds of many and there is no shortage of price increase anecdotes around the country. From commodities like iron ore and copper doubling in price, to paying MSRP for a year-old car, these observations of rising prices are coloring perceptions about general affordability, the dollar, the central bank and investments.
Whether we are experiencing inflation is not up for debate, however, the prospect of sustainable inflation is definitely debatable. Is it the ‘80s all over again? Can we objectively look at the pandemic-induced supply disruptions, a confluence of weather anomalies, lean manufacturing driven supply chain decisions and a Texas freeze, and call it a structural and sustainable inflation? Not really. At least, not yet.
Are we headed into a time of inflation? Many people and economists are debating this issue right now. In the “real world,” we’ve seen inflation in interesting areas such as Pokémon and NBA Top Shots trading “cards,” which had seen a spike up in prices earlier in the year. Housing prices are certainly rising. Plus, inflation is finding its way into commodities such as food inputs like soybeans, corn and more. Certainly, gas prices are higher at the pump than a year ago. And does it mean inflation is coming because of crazy high auction prices for things such as Jack Dorsey selling his first tweet ever as an NFT (non fungible token) for over $2.9 million?