Negative interest rates are both gone and here at the same time.

Many commentators are talking about the end of negative interest rates in nominal terms and it’s true, interest rates are rising but in real terms they are still negative. Look at mortgage rates (for instance), you can borrow at 3% and below and meanwhile you have property price appreciation at 15% meaning that in real terms you are paying -12%.

If you can ever get something on a continuous basis at -12% that indicates ‘buy’, and that’s what people are doing, but notice that we mentioned ‘continuous’, the reality is that there is no arbitrage most of the time and this will be closed down by either rising costs, falling prices or some other outcome that we can’t forsee. Trees don’t grow to the sky, they never have and never will so the trajectory of house prices must rationalise but it’s hard to see how or where at present because the demand side seems so demonstrably strong.

I bumped into Kieran McQuinn on Pearse Street today and in our brief chat mentioned how the price changes are not sustainable, he …

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Best Mortgage Rates February 2010

There is increased coverage of mortgages in the press of late in particular in the area of fixing or staying on a variable, below are the best rates available on the market by class of product.

Best Variable Rate with an LTV Restriction:   2.25% Best Variable Rate with no LTV Restriction:   2.55% Best 1yr Fixed Rate:   2.35% Best 2yr Fixed Rate:   2.65% Best 3yr Fixed Rate:   3.15% Best 5yr Fixed Rate:   3.7% Best 10yr Fixed Rate:  4.5%

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The bailout has arrived, Irish banks in line for Government funds.

The banking bailout has come along, as many of us always thought it would, in the form of a (potential) €10 billion Euro package. An announcement was made yesterday and shares in financial institutions surged on the back of the news. The actual details of the deal are scant at present.

The Minister of Finance remarked on RTE radio that the main thing he hoped to see as a result of this was for lending to return to the market, we can only assume this refers to enterprise lending and not to mortgages as the mortgage market has not frozen to the same degree the business loan/credit area has.

The National Pension Fund Reserve is the area the funds will come from, an obvious issue here is that the fund made losses of c. 33% in the last year and cashing out now will mean those losses are crystallised without hope of return should the markets come back any time soon. …

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Euribor, the distant cousin of the ECB base rate

We have written in the past about tracker mortgages becoming an endangered species. It seems that now we are witnessing the demise of them, the interbank rates and the ECB have become so disparate to each other that one is no longer an accurate gauge of the other. What does that mean?

The ECB is the rate set by the European Central Bank, and it is the ‘base rate’ (currently 4.25%), but banks can’t generally borrow at that price and instead they buy on the ‘interbank‘ market, this is the largest market in the world in which over 1.9 Trillion is traded every single day! It is how banks access the ‘Euribor‘ market (European interbank offered rate). This is basically run as an auction and because liquidity is an issue we have seen the prices of the Euribor rise and rise, demand is outstripping supply.

Why is the Euribor rising? Simply put, fractional banking means that banks must have a constant inflow of money …

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The ECB won’t cut rates? A central bank doing exactly what it should.

The Fed is still trying to bail out the US economy, there must be a fundamental belief there that a recession is the worst thing in the world. Personally I would feel that the 1,000,000 lives lost in Iraq outweigh the damage a recession might do but for some reason the efforts to end the war pale in comparison to what politicians and policy makers are willing to do to avoid an economic downturn.

Bear Stearns was bought for $2 a share by JP Morgan Chase, their stock price was about $38 recently, and the money to do the bailout was Fed backed. In fact the Fed is evoking laws designed during the great depression to lend direct to banks.

The USA has recession aversion, it’s almost like the economy there is one giant dog dry heaving to Pavlov’s recession bell. The issue is that the budget still has to be met, these bailouts cost money and the money …

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The ECB won't cut rates? A central bank doing exactly what it should.

The Fed is still trying to bail out the US economy, there must be a fundamental belief there that a recession is the worst thing in the world. Personally I would feel that the 1,000,000 lives lost in Iraq outweigh the damage a recession might do but for some reason the efforts to end the war pale in comparison to what politicians and policy makers are willing to do to avoid an economic downturn.

Bear Stearns was bought for $2 a share by JP Morgan Chase, their stock price was about $38 recently, and the money to do the bailout was Fed backed. In fact the Fed is evoking laws designed during the great depression to lend direct to banks.

The USA has recession aversion, it’s almost like the economy there is one giant dog dry heaving to Pavlov’s recession bell. The issue is that the budget still has to be met, these bailouts cost money and the money …

Read More