How do we tighten an economy addicted to stimulus?
By Samuel Gee, News Editor
14 Sep 2016
Once again, the Fed have refused to commit to increasing interest rates, despite making all the right noises in the lead up to their latest meeting.
This could come as good news to stock markets, which have become dependent on cheap money to keep them afloat.
Loose monetary policies such as quantitative easing and lower interest rates were intended to stimulate growth by increasing the money supply and making it easier for banks and private individuals to borrow money- thus making it easier to spend.
However it has simply not worked.
While the central bank tactic of using cash injections to buy assets has allowed stock markets to function, most economies have failed to grow to any meaningful extent and many are showing signs of slowing. In the meantime, low interest rates are making saving difficult for private investors.
With the Federal Reserve and other central banks seemingly unsure as to what to do next, the markets look set to remain unstable. We appear to have found ourselves in a situation whereby stock markets have become dependent on the same monetary policies that damage growth by devaluing of our currencies and damage our ability to save. The banks know that increasing interest rates are essential for normalising the economy but at the same time could tip us into even greater trouble.
The UK economy has found itself in a position where the money supply is expanding – an indication that interest rates should be raised and QE halted in order to avoid hyperinflation. But at what cost? Any indication of the end of QE at the moment seems to send stock markets into a sell-off panic.
One asset that continues to thrive amidst all this confusion is precious metals. In 2016 the values of gold and silver have risen by 40% (£284/ troy ounce) and 55% (£5.12/ troy ounce) respectively.