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 Central Banks Ease Most Since 2009

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Nombre de messages : 39
Date d'inscription : 10/08/2011

MessageSujet: Central Banks Ease Most Since 2009   Lun 28 Nov - 9:32

Central banks across five continents are undertaking the broadest reduction in borrowing costs since 2009 to avert a global economic slump stemming from Europe’s sovereign-debt turmoil.

The U.S., the U.K. and nine other nations, along with the European Central Bank, have bolstered monetary stimulus in the past three months. Six more countries, including Mexico and Sweden, probably will cut benchmark interest rates by the end of March, JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecasts.

With national leaders unable to increase spending or cut taxes, policy makers including Australia’s Glenn Stevens and Israel’s Stanley Fischer are seeking to cushion their economies from Europe’s crisis and U.S. unemployment stuck near 9 percent. Brazil and India are among countries where easing or forgoing higher interest rates runs the risk of exacerbating inflation already higher than desired levels.

“We’ve seen central banks that were hawkish begin to turn dovish” against a “backdrop of austerity” in fiscal policy, said Eric Stein, who co-manages the $6.6 billion Eaton Vance Global Macro Absolute Return Fund in Boston. “You could debate how bad it will be for growth, but it can’t be good,” he said of the challenges facing the world economy.
Global Rate

Monetary easing will push the average worldwide central bank interest rate, weighted for gross domestic product, to 1.79 percent by next June from 2.16 percent in September, the largest drop in two years, according to data and projections from JPMorgan, which tracks 31 central banks. The number of those banks loosening credit is the most since the third quarter of 2009, when 15 institutions cut rates, the data show.

Low short-term borrowing costs through at least the end of 2012 mean that “markets that provide reasonably good interest income should perform well,” said James Kochan, chief fixed- income strategist at Wells Fargo Advantage Funds. High-yield corporate-bond mutual funds are attractive, as are government debt in “resource-rich” countries including Australia and Norway, he said.

“There’s a common theme almost throughout the world and that is either growth has been disappointingly slow or now it’s slowing,” said Kochan, who helps oversee $213.6 billion and is based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Europe’s debt crisis “has a lot of central banks very concerned” because of its implications for exports from the U.S., China and other countries, he said.
Asia Inflation

While central banks in Australia and Indonesia have reduced borrowing costs and the Bank of Japan increased asset purchases in October, other countries in Asia may be slower to ease policy.

The People’s Bank of China has raised its main interest rate three times this year to fight inflation. India’s central bank lifted rates on Oct. 25 by a quarter of a percentage point, while signaling it was nearing the end of its record cycle of increases as the economy cooled.

“Most central banks will wait and see how the situation develops in Europe,” said Joseph Tan, Singapore-based chief economist for Asia at Credit Suisse Group AG’s private-banking division. “If we do have a continuation of the political impasse in Europe and that leads to a recession in Europe, and the U.S. economy starts to slow again, then Asian central banks will cut interest rates.”
Investors Flee

The ECB under new President Mario Draghi is seeking to limit contagion in the 17-nation euro zone as Greece’s economic meltdown worsens. Investors are fleeing a group of sovereign bonds that’s expanded to include those of Italy and France, driving up those nations’ borrowing costs.

Yields on 10-year French debt increased to 3.69 percent as of Nov. 25 from 2.44 percent in September. Italy’s 10-year bond yields ended the week at 7.26 percent, up from 4.52 percent in February. German 10-year rates have declined to 2.26 percent from 3.51 percent in April even after Germany failed to get bids for 35 percent of the 10-year bonds it offered Nov. 23.

Draghi led the ECB’s governing council in a 25 basis-point interest-rate cut on Nov. 3, his third day in office, saying at a press conference in Frankfurt: “What we’re observing now is slow growth, heading toward a mild recession.”
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