Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Gold vs Cash in a Financial Crisis - Richard_Mills
2.Current Stock Market Rally Similarities To 1999 - Chris_Vermeulen
3.America See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - Part2 - James_Quinn
4.Stock Market Trend Forecast Outlook for 2020 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Who Said Stock Market Traders and Investor are Emotional Right Now? - Chris_Vermeulen
6.Gold Upswing and Lessons from Gold Tops - P_Radomski_CFA
7.Economic Tribulation is Coming, and Here is Why - Michael_Pento
8.What to Expect in Our Next Recession/Depression? - Raymond_Matison
9.The Fed Celebrates While Americans Drown in Financial Despair - John_Mauldin
10.Hi-yo Silver Away! - Richard_Mills
Last 7 days
JOHNSON & JOHNSON (JNJ) Big Pharama AI Mega-trend Investing 2020 - 25th Jan 20
Experts See Opportunity in Ratios of Gold to Silver and Platinum - 25th Jan 20
Gold/Silver Ratio, SPX, Yield Curve and a Story to Tell - 25th Jan 20
Germany Starts War on Gold  - 25th Jan 20
Gold Mining Stocks Valuations - 25th Jan 20
Three Upside and One Downside Risk for Gold - 25th Jan 20
A Lesson About Gold – How Bullish Can It Be? - 24th Jan 20
Stock Market January 2018 Repeats in 2020 – Yikes! - 24th Jan 20
Gold Report from the Two Besieged Cities - 24th Jan 20
Stock Market Elliott Waves Trend Forecast 2020 - Video - 24th Jan 20
AMD Multi-cores vs INTEL Turbo Cores - Best Gaming CPUs 2020 - 3900x, 3950x, 9900K, or 9900KS - 24th Jan 20
Choosing the Best Garage Floor Containment Mats - 23rd Jan 20
Understanding the Benefits of Cannabis Tea - 23rd Jan 20
The Next Catalyst for Gold - 23rd Jan 20
5 Cyber-security considerations for 2020 - 23rd Jan 20
Car insurance: what the latest modifications could mean for your premiums - 23rd Jan 20
Junior Gold Mining Stocks Setting Up For Another Rally - 22nd Jan 20
Debt the Only 'Bubble' That Counts, Buy Gold and Silver! - 22nd Jan 20
AMAZON (AMZN) - Primary AI Tech Stock Investing 2020 and Beyond - Video - 21st Jan 20
What Do Fresh U.S. Economic Reports Imply for Gold? - 21st Jan 20
Corporate Earnings Setup Rally To Stock Market Peak - 21st Jan 20
Gold Price Trend Forecast 2020 - Part1 - 21st Jan 20
How to Write a Good Finance College Essay  - 21st Jan 20
Risks to Global Economy is Balanced: Stock Market upside limited short term - 20th Jan 20
How Digital Technology is Changing the Sports Betting Industry - 20th Jan 20
Is CEOs Reputation Management Essential? All You Must Know - 20th Jan 20
APPLE (AAPL) AI Tech Stocks Investing 2020 - 20th Jan 20
FOMO or FOPA or Au? - 20th Jan 20
Stock Market SP500 Kitchin Cycle Review - 20th Jan 20
Why Intel i7-4790k Devils Canyon CPU is STILL GOOD in 2020! - 20th Jan 20
Stock Market Final Thrust Review - 19th Jan 20
Gold Trade Usage & Price Effect - 19th Jan 20
Stock Market Trend Forecast 2020 - Trend Analysis - Video - 19th Jan 20
Stock Trade-of-the-Week: Dorchester Minerals (DMLP) - 19th Jan 20
INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing in AI Machine Intelligence Mega-trend 2020 and Beyond - 18th Jan 20
Gold Stocks Wavering - 18th Jan 20
Best Amazon iPhone Case Fits 6s, 7, 8 by Toovren Review - 18th Jan 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Nadeem Walayat Financial Markets Analysiis and Trend Forecasts

Did Greenspan Have to Cut the Fed Funds Interest Rate as Much?

Interest-Rates / US Interest Rates Apr 08, 2008 - 03:41 PM GMT

By: Paul_L_Kasriel

Interest-Rates Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleIn today's Financial Times , Greenspan is generously given yet another chance to defend his legacy. Greenspan's argument that it was not his doing that set off the U.S. housing bubble reminds me of my two perfect children. When they appeared to err, it was never their fault. Greenspan's main defense lies on the fact that long-term interest rates were falling in the early 2000s due to global factors beyond his control. To start with, let's give him this one. But even if the decline in long rates were beyond his control, did he have to cut the fed funds rate - an interest rate he did control - as much as he did and hold it at the low level as long as he did (see Chart 1)?


Chart 1

Starting in 2001, Greenspan held the fed funds rate below the year-over-year percent change in the median price of an existing single-family home, holding it below house-price appreciation through 2005 (see Chart 2). That is, the real fed funds rate in terms of house-price appreciation was negative from 2001 through 2005, establishing a record low real fed funds rate of minus 9.6% in 2005. Not since the late 1970s had the Fed allowed the fed funds rate to consistently trade below the rate of house-price appreciation.

Chart 2

Mortgage borrowers are not restricted to 15- or 30-year fixed rate loans. If shorter maturity rates are attractive, they can opt for those adjustable rate loans Greenspan was actually touting back in 2004. Chart 3 shows that mortgage borrowers did increasing opt for adjustable rate mortgages in the last housing cycle, in part (see Chart 3), presumably, because Greenspan held down short-term interest rates.

Chart 3

Back to Greenspan's lack of control of long-term interest rates. Although bond yields do march to a different drummer than does the fed funds rate, they still "hear" and are affected by the Fed's drum beat. That is, if the Fed sends a strong signal to the markets that it intends to slash the level of the federal funds rate and hold it at a low level for an extended period of time, these fed funds rate expectations will be factored into the level of bond yields - not one hundred percent, but not zero percent, either. So, Greenspan's argument that he had no control over bond yields is not entirely accurate.

So, as a free market economist, I can only lament that one of the byproduct's of Greenspan's artificially-low interest rate policy will be to discredit the functioning of free markets and bring on more regulation. Thanks, Alan. Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave.

By Paul L. Kasriel
The Northern Trust Company
Economic Research Department - Daily Global Commentary

Copyright © 2007 Paul Kasriel
Paul joined the economic research unit of The Northern Trust Company in 1986 as Vice President and Economist, being named Senior Vice President and Director of Economic Research in 2000. His economic and interest rate forecasts are used both internally and by clients. The accuracy of the Economic Research Department's forecasts has consistently been highly-ranked in the Blue Chip survey of about 50 forecasters over the years. To that point, Paul received the prestigious 2006 Lawrence R. Klein Award for having the most accurate economic forecast among the Blue Chip survey participants for the years 2002 through 2005.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Northern Trust Company. The Northern Trust Company does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of information contained herein, such information is subject to change and is not intended to influence your investment decisions.

Paul L. Kasriel Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules