Why Central Banks Can’t Significantly Raise Interest Rates

March 19, 2022

Much current investment and policy discussion focuses on inflation and interest rates. The thought is that inflation has been running too high for too long since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Investors and policymakers want to know when, how fast, and to what degree the U.S. Federal Reserve (and other central banks) will raise it target interest rate to lower inflation. The main reason why the Fed won’t be able to raise interest rates to anywhere near historical rates is because of high debt levels. However, the main reason why we have high debt levels is not among the usual reasons given: energy.

In short, in the long-term, the sequence goes from energy to debt to interest rates.

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