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Saturday, January 26, 2008

The interest rate reduction announcement in the US this week was in all the headlines and the buzz on the investment boards.

What was lost amidst all the panicky selling and then panicky buying, is that real yields, almost everywhere, are negative.

And when you have negative real yields almost everywhere, then you have the beginnings of a chance for things to recover.

Most recessions come at a time when there’s been a huge run-up in interest rates as central banks have been tightening and you already have high real yields and those real yields grow as prices fall during the recession phase because of inventory liquidations.

Well, this is going to be so different from past cycles. First of all, we start a recession with a record low inventory-to-sales ratio in the US. Now that’s contrary to past recessions where the crucial factor was a big build-up in inventories.

Well, the real answer is that real interest rates are below zero. Far below zero on the ten year note, which is what we price mortgages off. We’ve got a 3.66 ten year US nominal yield, which means it’s negative forty-one basis points. In past recessions the real interest rates were very high.

Therefore, we should get a bounce in the equity markets but in the short term logic does not matter. I am raising a little cash for now and will be buying back in when I feel safer. I still feel that income producing assets will suffer least.

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