Why are interest rates so low?

By Randell Tiongson on July 20th, 2011

Question: Why are interest rates in the banks so low? Will it go up anytime soon and what are the alternatives so my money can earn better?—Dennis Poliquit, Radio DJ

Answer: Dennis, your question is one that you can call a ‘loaded’ question, so to speak (pun intended). Let me try to simplify my answers because the way most people explain it can cause many a nosebleed, me included. In economic terms, interest rates are largely a function of the government’s monetary policy with the central bank as its chief implementor. The government, through the central bank, tries to influence the economy by manipulating interest rates according to the direction of its economic managers. When the government wants money to circulate in the economy, it tries to keep interest rates low with the belief that money will be spent and invested in businesses that drive economic growth. When interest rates are low, people are discouraged from keeping their money with the government, which is the safest and largest borrower through the sale of government securities (debt instruments).

When the government wants to control the cash circulating in the economy, it increases interest rates and you can expect the market to start putting more money in government debt paper because of its low risk. The interest of government securities, also called treasuries (bills, notes and bonds), is also the basis…

To read full column, visit http://business.inquirer.net/7863/why-are-interest-rates-so-low

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Why are interest rates so low?