Negative interest rates are spreading like a virus. Central banks in the Eurozone, Switzerland, Sweden, and Japan all have below-zero policy rates. “NIRP,” as economists call a negative interest rate policy, is a desperation move—but the only move those central banks have. The Federal Reserve hasn’t followed—yet.
When the next recession strikes, I believe Janet Yellen will choose to break the zero lower bound. The rationale was laid out in Jackson Hole. Look behind the headlines and you’ll see the Fed already preparing for NIRP. In theory, negative rates should encourage consumers and businesses to spend more freely and stimulate growth. It hasn’t worked out that way. NIRP just punishes savers and makes everyone miserable. READ MORE