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Perspectiveson Low Global Interest Rates

This paper looks at the dramatic decline in global real interest rates in recent years from a historical perspective and examines the various factors that may account for this trend. We show that current levels of real interest rates on long-term bonds in advanced economies are not low by historical standards and that it is the real long bond rates of the early 1980s through much of the 1990s that look anomalous. We also find that current global long-term interest rates are roughly in line with what one would predict given current price-earnings (P/E) ratios and under reasonable assumptions about the equity risk premia and the expected rate of growth of earnings in advanced countries. Finally, we provide econometric evidence that global long-term interest rates are significantly affected by commodity prices, expected productivity growth, and fiscal consolidation in advanced countries.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/76.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/76
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  1. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1990. "World Real Interest Rates," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 15-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sebastian Edwards, 1995. "Why are Saving Rates so Different Across Countries?: An International Comparative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Arturo Estrella, 2005. "Why Does the Yield Curve Predict Output and Inflation?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 722-744, 07.
  4. Robert B. Barsky & J. Bradford De Long, . "Forecasting Pre-World War I Inflation: The Fisher Effect and the Gold Standard," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _121, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  5. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1993. "Movements in the Equity Premium," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 75-138.
  6. Luis Catão, 2006. "Sudden Stops and Currency Drops: A Historical Look," IMF Working Papers 06/133, International Monetary Fund.
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