September 10, 2012

Interest rates are low, but the ratio of rates to the “risky” over the rates to the “infallible” is probably the highest ever.

Sir, John Authers quotes Deutsche Bank’s market historian Jim Read on us “entering the unknown” with respect to the interest rates being “so low, for so long, for so many”, and he writes in UK “the base rates are at the lowest in 318 years, “London property market cannot avoid mean reversion” September 10. 

Absolutely, but those are the rates for those in the center rated absolutely safe, those so much favored by accommodating capital requirements for banks. If he wants to see a quite different story, he should look at the ratio between the interest rate charged to the “risky”, those living in the periphery, like small businesses and entrepreneurs, divided by the interest rate charged to the officially “infallible”, and he might then find that ratio larger than ever. 

If the current mean, which has resulted from these capital requirements is to revert to some historic standard then regulations should also conform to a historic standard. 

Authers also writes “Bank of England’s balance sheet is its biggest, compared with the size of the UK economy, since the records began in 1830”. But, to get a real grip on the true monstrous size of that balance sheet, he should perhaps also include how much QE all those commercial banks, acting almost as quasi-branches of the central bank, have provided to government’s treasury, because that requires little or no capital of them.