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Central bank roulette

Negative interest rates have been deployed in a desperate last roll of the dice by central banks that have nowhere else to turn - and their positive effects are far from guaranteed

6 May 2016

In this post-financial crisis era, investors have had to deal with 'extraordinary' monetary policies which have been applied with various degrees of success. The US kicked off first with quantitative easing (QE), setting the global benchmark for central bank policy action to combat the fallout from the largest global recession since the 1930s.

Eight years on from the start of QE and the US economy has recovered, to some extent, but for Europe and Japan, the struggle continues. The introduction of negative interest rates by both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) is a further extension of extraordinary monetary policy and possibly the last roll of the dice.

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Negative interest rates are not as complicated as they may sound and, in simple terms, they should be understo...

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