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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 Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0429.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0429
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  1. Peter Stella, 2010. "Minimising monetary policy," BIS Working Papers 330, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. 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.
  3. Belke, Ansgar & Bordon, Ingo G. & Volz, Ulrich, 2012. "Effects of Global Liquidity on Commodity and Food Prices," Ruhr Economic Papers 323, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI), Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  4. 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.
  5. Ansgar Belke & Ingo Bordon & Torben Hendricks, 2010. "Global liquidity and commodity prices-a cointegrated VAR approach for OECD countries," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 227-242.
  6. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 2012. "Macroeconomics: A European Text," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 6, number 9780199608645.
  7. Ugo Albertazzi & Leonardo Gambacorta, 2006. "Bank profitability and the business cycle," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 601, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. repec:rwi:repape:0355 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Ansgar Belke & Christian Dreger & Richard Ochmann, 2012. "Do Wealthier Households Save More? The Impact of the Demographic Factor," ROME Working Papers 201203, ROME Network.
  12. Jeffrey Fuhrer & Brian Madigan, 1994. "Monetary policy when interest rates are bounded at zero," Working Papers 94-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  13. Maddaloni, Angela & Peydró, José-Luis, 2010. "Bank risk-taking, securitization, supervision and low interest rates: Evidence from the euro area and the U.S. lending standards," Working Paper Series 1248, European Central Bank.
  14. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 2003. "Unnatural Selection: Perverse Incentives and the Misallocation of Credit in Japan," NBER Working Papers 9643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. repec:ecb:ecbwps:20111427 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. 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.
  19. repec:fip:fedgsq:y:2002:i:nov21 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Claudio Borio, 2011. "Central banking post-crisis: What compass for uncharted waters?," BIS Working Papers 353, Bank for International Settlements.
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