Surely not this old chestnut – again?
‘Interest on debt grows without rain’ – Yiddish proverb
This proverb explains most of what goes on in policy circles these days. We are now watching Extend-and-Pretend, Episode VI: Promises for improvement amid ever growing debt levels.
In brief, we’re still working with the same dog-eared script we were introduced to all of five years ago, when markets had stabilised in the wake of the financial crisis: maintain sufficiently low interest rates to service the debt burden.
In other words, pretend to have a credible plan, but never address the structural problems and simply buy more time. But while we were able to get away with this theme for an awfully long time, the dynamic is now changing as the risk of low inflation (and even deflation) is a brick wall for the extend-and-pretend meme. Yes, interest does grow without rain, and the cost of maintaining and servicing debt grows especially fast in a deflationary regime.
Mads Koefoed, Saxo Bank’s macro economist, projects US growth at around 2.0% for all of 2014. That will be the sixth year with US growth near 2.0%, so despite lower unemployment and a record high S&P500, the economy has a hard time escaping that 2.0% level.
The US may be getting back to work, but why are growth rates so stubbornly stuck at the 2.0% mark? Photo: Thinkstock
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/27/2014.