Interest Rates

Of all the different elements of the economy, the direction of interest rates is most important. That’s why, as the editors of Profit Confidential, we expend a considerable amount of our time analyzing and providing guidance on interest rates. We believe that the unprecedented debt the U.S. has accumulated will eventually result in foreign investors demanding a better return on U.S. Treasuries. Too many U.S. dollars in circulation will also eventually force interest rates to rise.

Economics 101 suggests inflationary pressure builds during periods of low interest rates. The demand usually increases when people both borrow and consume more. As the price of goods and services is directly correlated with demand, it increases—resulting in inflation.

To tackle inflationary pressures, central banks increase interest rates. Why? Because once they increase interest rates, it is supposed to do the opposite of lowering the rates—forcing people to save and cut back on discretionary spending.

Following a 30-year down-cycle of interest rates in the U.S., we are on the cusp of a new 30-year up-cycle in interest rates; a move that could cripple the government and the economy. This is mainly because the government has added too much debt to its balance sheet, and the Federal Reserve has printed significant sums of money.

After phenomenal amounts of bailouts were doled out, followed by non-stop government spending, the U.S. national debt rose 76.2%—from $9.2 trillion in 2008, to $16.3 trillion in 2012. (Source: TreasuryDirect, last accessed November 27, 2012.)

It gets worse. The current administration said it would keep the budget deficit below $1.0 trillion. It hasn’t. For fiscal 2012, the federal budget deficit was $1.1 trillion, slightly below the $1.3 trillion deficit recorded in 2011. (Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, October 12, 2012.) What’s more, 2012 marked the fourth consecutive year in which the U.S. government experienced an annual deficit above $1.0 trillion. As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the U.S. government’s budget deficit for the year 2012 stands at seven percent.

Along with skyrocketing government debt, the Federal Reserve has printed $3.0 trillion. Where did the $3.0 trillion come from? It’s not backed by gold. It was simply created out of thin air. And, the presses continue to print an additional $85.0 billion a month!

Looking at an even bigger picture, between January 2000 and September 2012, the amount of U.S. money in circulation (the “M1 money supply”) has increased 112%, or $1.25 trillion. That’s a lot of money printing.

Similarly, the “M2 money supply,” which includes the M1 money supply plus savings deposits, balances in money market mutual funds, and deposits, has increased 118%. M2 is a better measure of actual money supply. Since the beginning of 2000, M2 money supply has increased more than $5.4 trillion. (Source: Federal Reserve, October 11, 2012.) Again, the printing presses have been in overdrive.

Now think of it this way; as more money is created and more debt is added to the federal government’s balance sheet, U.S. economic viability becomes questionable. What does this mean? The interest rate at which the government is currently able to borrow is being kept artificially low. With the government adding more debt and the inflationary pressure building—something has to be done.

When Will Yellen Launch Higher U.S. Interest Rates?

By Tuesday, April 21, 2015

interest ratesAt the height of the Cold War, the biggest concern was the global destruction associated with launching nuclear weapons. Fast-forward 50 years and not much has changed. At the height of the money-printing war, the biggest concern is the global destruction associated with launching higher U.S. interest rates.
Time Is Ticking on Low Interest Rates… Read More
Under the helm of Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve initiated its first round of quantitative easing (QE) in November 2008.

U.S. Dollar Strength the Real Threat to Investors, Not Higher Interest Rates

By Friday, March 13, 2015

US Dollar strengthThere are issues brewing in the stock market with interest rates fears and the strengthening greenback that could drive the S&P 500 lower by five percent or more.
When Will the Fed Increase Interest Rates?
First, we have the fears surrounding rising interest rates after the strong improvement in the unemployment rate to a pre-recession low of 5.5%…. Read More

Derivatives: The $563-Trillion Reason to Look at Gold

By Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reason to Look at GoldInterest rates in the U.S. economy have been remarkably low since 2007. We’re now hearing many analysts and pundits suggesting they will rise sometime this year. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact time given, but when we look to the Federal Reserve, it seems very adamant about it, too.
Officials at the Federal Reserve are continuously warning that higher interest rates are coming…. Read More

U.S. Home Prices Could Fall This Year

By Friday, February 6, 2015

Home Prices RisingAsk any professional involved in the real estate market and they will tell you that when interest rates are low, it’s a great time to buy. Lower interest rates mean higher affordability because mortgage payments are smaller.
In December of 2014, the 30-year mortgage rate tracked by Freddie Mac stood at 3.86%—the lowest since May of 2013…. Read More

Two Major Concerns About Overvalued Stock Market Prices

By Monday, November 17, 2014

Stock Market 60 OvervaluedThe amount of money investors are borrowing to buy stocks is skyrocketing.
In September of this year, margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stood at $483.87 billion—a new record-high. When the stock market was forming a top in 2007, margin debt was at a “then” record-high of $329.51 billion. Margin debt on the NYSE is now 47% higher than just before the previous big market sell-off…. Read More

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