Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Economic Climate (6): Price of Money (Interest rate) rise in hot economy

With new stores being built and factories expanding all over the place, a lot of companies are borrowing money to pay for their construction projects.  Meanwhile, a lot of consumers are borrowing money on their credit cards to pay for all the stuff they've been buying.  The result is more demand for loans at the bank.

Seeing the crowds of people lining up for loans, banks and finance companies follow in the footsteps of the automakers and all the other businesses.  They, too, raise their prices - by charging a higher rate of interest for their loans.

Soon, you've got the price of money rising in lockstep with prices in general - the only prices that go down are stock prices and bond prices. 
  • Investors bail out of stocks because they worry that companies cannot grow their earnings fast enough to keep up with inflation. 
  • During the inflation of the late 1970s and early 1980s, stock and bond prices took a big fall.

A hot economy can't stay hot forever.  Eventually, there's a break in the heat, brought about by the high cost of money.  With higher interest rates on home loans, car loans, credit-card loasn, you name it, fewer people can afford to buy houses, cars, and so forth.  So they stay where they are and put off buying the new house.  Or they keep their old clunkers and put off buying a new car.

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