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Crane 100 Money Fund Index
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York
writes in its Liberty Street Economics blog, "If Interest Rates Go Negative ... Or, Be Careful What You Wish For"
. It says, "The United States has slid into eight recessions in the last fifty years. Each time, the Federal Reserve sought to revive economic activity by reducing interest rates
see chart). However, since the end of the last recession in June 2009, the economy has continued to sputter even though short-
term rates have remained near zero. The weak recovery has led some commentators to suggest that the Fed should push short-term rates even lower -- below zero -- so that borrowers receive, and creditors pay, interest. One way to push short-term rates negative would be to charge interest on excess bank reserves
. The interest rate paid by the Fed on excess reserves, the so-
called IOER, is a benchmark for a wide variety of short-
term rates, including rates on Treasury bills, commercial paper, and interbank loans. If the Fed pushes the IOER below zero, other rates are likely to follow. Without taking a position on either the merits of negative interest rates or the Fed's statutory authority to fix the IOER below zero, this post examines some of the possible consequences
. We suggest that significantly negative rates -- that is, rates below-
50 basis points -- may spawn a variety of financial innovations, such as special-
purpose banks and the use of certified bank checks in large-
value transactions, and novel preferences, such as a preference for making early and/
or excess payments to creditworthy counterparties and a preference for receiving payments in forms that facilitate deferred collection."