MarketWatch published the article, "Here's a $4 trillion reason why the U.S. is unlikely to have negative interest rates." It tell us, "Don't bet on negative interest rates in the U.S. anytime soon. Even as some traders speculate the Federal Reserve will push interest rates below zero by year end, analysts say the intense pain that the policy would inflict on the crucial $4 trillion money-market fund industry would ultimately give Fed officials second thought.... Based on trading in the fed fund futures market where traders can bet on changes in the central bank's benchmark interest rate, some see the chance of interest-rates turning negative next year. Yet Fed officials have publicly pushed back against the use of subzero rates, amid worries how it could upend parts of the U.S. financial system. In particular, money-market funds are seen as vulnerable to negative interest rates and bond yields." The MarketWatch piece explains, "A cornerstone of Wall Street's infrastructure, money-market mutual funds will buy very short-term debt from highly rated companies, banks, governments and municipalities, providing them with a key source of cash. In return, investors of money-market funds get to put their cash in a highly liquid and safe asset which should hold its value throughout the ups and downs of financial markets. Yet negative interest rates can erode the yield earned in such funds as they invest in safe debt securities that carry skimpy yields. Taking fees into account, investors could, in theory, end up losing a small but insubstantial part of the original funds they had put in.... But some veterans of the industry feel negative interest rates were a manageable issue. They point out that overall European money market fund industry grew throughout the European Central Bank's experiment with negative rates after the eurozone crisis." They quote Peter Crane, "It would be uncomfortable, but money market funds could operate with negative rates." The piece explains, "If money market funds felt negative interest rate policy was temporary, they could waive fees to ensure returns earned from the funds stayed positive while waiting for the economy to recover. Fidelity, for example, says it would waive certain fund fees to prevent returns from money market funds falling below zero. And in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, funds did just that when interest rates fell to rock-bottom.... 'Anyone suggesting cash in the mattress clearly hasn't thought through that option. Holding physical cash is not an option for IBM,' said Crane.... Crane warned, however, there would need to be regulatory tweaks and changes to how money market funds operated for the industry to adjust to a new normal of negative rates." See also, Bloomberg's "Cash havens with $4.8 trillion fret unthinkable negative returns."

Email This Article

Use a comma or a semicolon to separate

captcha image