Are interest rates finally on the rise?
The Daily Telegraph this morning has an article noting that three-month Libor rates – a critical benchmark for global borrowing – have tripled this year. Some analysts say that’s a sign that the Federal Reserve has fallen behind the curve, and may be forced to raise rates uncomfortably fast in the months ahead. Analysts had been writing off the Libor spike as a byproduct of a change in U.S. rules for prime money market funds, which caused the commercial paper market to contract. But the deadline for that reform has passed, and rates are still rising. “Something more fundamental is going on,” says Steen Jakobsen of Saxo Bank. “The cost of global capital is going up, full stop.”
Even so, don’t expect the Fed to raise rates at its meetings this week. While recent economic indicators look strong and some market signals of inflation are rising, the central bank is likely to stand pat in order to stay out of the crossfire before the November 8 election.
That concern, of course, didn’t stop FBI director Comey, who is now taking flak from all sides. We will leave dissection of his unusual action to others.
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