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Impact of a Low Interest Rate Environment – Global Liquidity Spillovers and the Search-for-yield

  • Ansgar Belke

On 10 January 2013 the ECB Governing Council decided “to keep the key ECB interest rates unchanged” based on an assessment of a 'contained' inflationary pressure and a weak economic activity, a contraction of real GDP in second and third quarter of 2012. Similar decisions have been taken by other leading central banks around the globe. This paper assesses and comments on several aspects of the implied low interest rate environment. It contains some general considerations with respect to the current low interest rate environment in advanced economies. It then deals with potential conflicts between monetary policy and financial stability in a low interest rate environment. Moreover, more practical implications for the necessity of supervision of pension funds and the insurance sector are derived. The paper also assesses the investment opportunities for retail investors in such an environment. Finally, we single out examples of main beneficiaries and losers from a low interest rate environment.

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Paper provided by ROME Network in its series ROME Working Papers with number 201305.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rmn:wpaper:201305
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  1. Belke, Ansgar & Orth, Walter & Setzer, Ralph, 2010. "Liquidity and the dynamic pattern of asset price adjustment: A global view," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1933-1945, August.
  2. Ansgar Belke & Bernhard Herz & Lukas Vogel, 2007. "Reforms, Exchange Rates and Monetary Commitment: A Panel Analysis for OECD Countries," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 369-388, July.
  3. repec:ecb:ecbwps:20111427 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Belke, Ansgar & Bordon, Ingo G. & Volz, Ulrich, 2013. "Effects of Global Liquidity on Commodity and Food Prices," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 31-43.
  5. Angela Maddaloni & Jose-Luis Peydro, 2011. "Bank Risk-taking, Securitization, Supervision, and Low Interest Rates: Evidence from the Euro-area and the U.S. Lending Standards," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 2121-2165.
  6. Kablau, Anke & Wedow, Michael, 2011. "Gauging the impact of a low-interest rate environment on German life insurers," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2011,02, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  7. Martin Feldstein, 2002. "The Role for Discretionary Fiscal Policy in a Low Interest Rate Environment," NBER Working Papers 9203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Belke, Ansgar & Freytag, Andreas & Keil, Jonas & Friedrich Schneider, 2012. "The Credibility of Monetary Policy Announcements – Empirical Evidence for OECD Countries since the 1960s," Ruhr Economic Papers 355, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI), Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  9. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 2009. "Macroeconomics: A European Text," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 5, number 9780199236824.
  10. Ansgar Belke & Ingo G. Bordon & Torben W. Hendricks, 2009. "Global Liquidity and Commodity Prices: A Cointegrated VAR Approach for OECD Countries," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 898, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  11. Albertazzi, Ugo & Gambacorta, Leonardo, 2009. "Bank profitability and the business cycle," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 393-409, December.
  12. Claudio Borio, 2011. "Central banking post-crisis: What compass for uncharted waters?," BIS Working Papers 353, Bank for International Settlements.
  13. Altunbas, Yener & Gambacorta, Leonardo & Marqués-Ibáñez, David, 2012. "Do bank characteristics influence the effect of monetary policy on bank risk?," Working Paper Series 1427, European Central Bank.
  14. Jeff Fuhrer & Brian Madigan, 1994. "Monetary policy when interest rates are bounded at zero," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 94-06, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  15. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2002:i:nov21 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 2005. "Unnatural Selection: Perverse Incentives and the Misallocation of Credit in Japan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1144-1166, September.
  17. Ben S. Bernanke, 2002. "Deflation: making sure "it" doesn't happen here," Speech 530, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Ansgar Belke, 2010. "How Much Fiscal Backing Must the ECB Have?: The Euro Area Is Not the Philippines," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 996, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  19. repec:rwi:repape:0355 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Ugo Albertazzi & Domenico J. Marchetti, 2010. "Credit supply, flight to quality and evergreening: an analysis of bank-firm relationships after Lehman," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 756, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  21. Ansgar Belke & Thorsten Polleit, 2010. "How much fiscal backing must the ECB have? The euro area is not (yet) the Philippines," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 124.
  22. Pablo Antolin & Sebastian Schich & Juan Yermo, 2011. "The Economic Impact of Protracted Low Interest Rates on Pension Funds and Insurance Companies," OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2011(1), pages 237-256.
  23. Peter Stella, 2010. "Minimising monetary policy," BIS Working Papers 330, Bank for International Settlements.
  24. repec:rwi:repape:0184 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Ansgar Belke & Daniel Gros, 2001. "Real Impacts of Intra-European Exchange Rate Variability: A Case for EMU?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 231-264, July.
  26. Belke, Ansgar & Dreger, Christian & Ochmann, Richard, 2012. "Do Wealthier Households Save More? The Impact of the Demographic Factor," IZA Discussion Papers 6567, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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