09 February 2016

Pity the Poor Bankster

Well, pundits are finally getting it: they ain't much return in real investment.
Central banks have kept interest rates low to stimulate demand for loans. But loans with low interest rates are often less profitable for banks. As a result, banks may then lend less, which may then reduce the overall impact of low interest rates on the economy.

Unfortunately, but not surprising, the reporter (and, one might presume, his sources) ignores the other sides of the situation. First, corporations can sell bonds directly, thus benefiting from low interest rates. Second, if business generally had some idea of how to grow organically, low rates lowers the necessary return from investment. That was, after all, the notion behind QE (and successors): business will invest more if the internal rate of return of real investment only has to pay back 2 or 3 percent on borrowing. But, of course, corporations packing away trillions in retained profit aren't going to borrow to invest. They have been borrowing to pay dividends, buy back own shares, and buy competitors. Invest? How childish.

No comments: