Posts Tagged ‘purchasing power’

Factors that Move the Interest Rates โ€“ Part 2 (MONETARY POLICY)

Monetary Policy

In previous Blog we have discussed about the major factors responsible for the change in interest rates and price of bonds indirectly.

All those three factors like Inflation, Currency and Liquidity have been touched upon in last blog.

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Now time to look into another major factor which causesย  movement in the interest rate. The factor i am talking about is Monetary Policy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Monetary Policy: The RBI controls liquidity largely through monetary policy instruments โ€“

(i) CRR & SLR โ€“ CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) refers to a portion of deposits (as cash) which banks have to maintain with the RBI.

Banks are also required to invest a portion of their deposits in government securities as a part of their SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) requirements.

If either of these is increased, liquidity tightens and so interest rates harden (increase).:(

Recently, RBI has reduced both these rates to infuse liquidity in the system โ€“ CRR is 5% (down 250 bps from March ’08) and SLR is 24% (down 100 bps).

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(ii) Reverse repo rate โ€“ it is the overnight interest rate that a bank earns for lending money to the RBI in exchange for G-Secs.

A hike in reverse repo rate increases interest rates. Currently, reverse repo rate stands at 3.25%.

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(iii) Repo rate โ€“ it is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from the commercial banks.

To temporarily expand the money supply, the central bank decreases repo rates (so that banks can swap their holdings of government securities for cash).

To contract the money supply, it increases the repo rates. The current repo rate is 4.75%.

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(iv) OMO and MSS โ€“ OMOs (Open Market Operations) are outright transactions in government securities.

When the RBI buys G-Secs, it is injecting money into the system, hence, increasing liquidity, which softens (reduces) interest rates.

When the RBI sells G-Secs, it sucks out excess money from the system i.e. reduces liquidity in the system which hardens interest rates.

MSS (Market Stabilisation Scheme) is the issuance of treasury bills and dated securities by way of auction by the RBI.

This affects interest rates in the same manner as OMOs.

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Having collected updates on where the above parameters stand, one can have a better understanding of why interest rates are at their current levels, as well as which direction they are expected to move in.

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If most of them indicate that a rise in interest rates is expected, bond prices are likely to fall in the future.

On the contrary, an expectation of a fall in interest rates means bond prices will rise.

A word of caution here though โ€“ timing interest rate changes is difficult. This is because there is a low likelihood of being able to precisely predict the movement in the factors discussed above.

So in order to minimize interest rate risk, one should ensure that the bond portfolio is diversified across various maturities.

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4 Monetary Policy: The RBI controls liquidity largely through monetary policy instruments โ€“

(i) CRR & SLR โ€“ CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) refers to a portion of deposits (as cash) which banks have to maintain with the RBI. Banks are also required to invest a portion of their deposits in government securities as a part of their SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) requirements. If either of these is increased, liquidity tightens and so interest rates harden (increase). Recently, RBI has reduced both these rates to infuse liquidity in the system โ€“ CRR is 5% (down 250 bps from March ’08) and SLR is 24% (down 100 bps).

(ii) Reverse repo rate โ€“ it is the overnight interest rate that a bank earns for lending money to the RBI in exchange for G-Secs. A hike in reverse repo rate increases interest rates. Currently, reverse repo rate stands at 3.25%.

(iii) Repo rate โ€“ it is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from the commercial banks. To temporarily expand the money supply, the central bank decreases repo rates (so that banks can swap their holdings of government securities for cash).

To contract the money supply, it increases the repo rates. The current repo rate is 4.75%.

(iv) OMO and MSS โ€“ OMOs (Open Market Operations) are outright transactions in government securities. When the RBI buys G-Secs, it is injecting money into the system, hence, increasing liquidity, which softens (reduces) interest rates. When the RBI sells G-Secs, it sucks out excess money from the system i.e. reduces liquidity in the system which hardens interest rates. MSS (Market Stabilisation Scheme) is the issuance of treasury bills and dated securities by way of auction by the RBI. This affects interest rates in the same manner as OMOs.

Having collected updates on where the above parameters stand, one can have a better understanding of why interest rates are at their current levels, as well as which direction they are expected to move in. If most of them indicate that a rise in interest rates is expected, bond prices are likely to fall in the future. On the contrary, an expectation of a fall in interest rates means bond prices will rise. A word of caution here though โ€“ timing interest rate changes is difficult. This is because there is a low likelihood of being able to precisely predict the movement in the factors discussed above. So in order to minimize interest rate risk, one should ensure that the bond portfolio is diversified across various maturities.

Factors that Move the Interest Rates – Part 1:)

Interest rates

In earlier blog we have discussed about how Bonds are different than equities and why are they considered less risky instruments. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now coming on to this blog, we would talk about the 3 major factors (other than monetary policy) which moves the interest ratesย  and ultimately causes a price change in the Bonds.

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To determine where the interest rates are headed, it is important to have an understanding of the factors that move the interest rates.

This will in turn help gauge which direction bond prices are going to take, and one can make appropriate adjustments to a bond portfolio in order to maximize gains or minimize losses.

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1. Inflation:

Interest rates are directly related to inflation i.e. if inflation rises, so do interest rates.

This is because lenders demand higher interest rates to compensate for the decrease in purchasing power of the money they will be repaid in the future.

This causes bond prices to fall, since bond prices are inversely related to interest rates.

Inflation itself is affected by the economy’s currency and liquidity position.

In India, inflation is measured by WPI (Wholesale Price Index), for which is released every week.

For the week ended July 25, 2009, WPI was at (-) 1.58%. This may lead one to assume that inflation has gone down, but the reason for this low figure is a high base effect from 2008, when WPI showed doubledigit growth.

Current CPI (Consumer Price Inflation) figures are in the range of 8.6-11.5% for May-June 2009.

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2. Currency: A weaker rupee causes rising inflation, which in turn results in a rise in interest rates.

This is because one’s purchasing power reduces โ€“ if one was paying $60 or Rs.2400 (Rs.40=$1) to buy 1 barrel of crude oil, a weaker rupee (Rs.45=$1) means the same 1 barrel will now cost Rs.2700 i.e. Rs.300 more.

Similarly, a stronger rupee increases one’s purchasing power and brings down inflation, causing interest rates to fall.

The latter scenario is seen as a positive for the bond market, since it leads to rising bond prices.

Since 2008, the rupee has weakened significantly to Rs.47- 48 in July-August ’09.

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3. Liquidity: Interest rates are directly related to liquidity.

A crunch in liquidity means money is not readily available, since people are not willing to part with their cash.

A lower interest rate is then offered, which increases the price of already existing bonds in the market. The vice-versa also holds true.

One way of measuring the liquidity present in the system is to check the money supply measure โ€“ M3.

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There is another factor which is responsible for the movement in interest rates that is Monetray Policy which we would discuss in next blog

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To determine where the interest rates are headed, it is important to have an understanding of the factors that move the interest rates. This will in turn help gauge which direction bond prices are going to take, and one can make appropriate adjustments to a bond portfolio in order to maximize gains or minimize losses.

Relation Between Price and Inflation – How ?

Relation Between Price and Inflation

There is always a direct relation between prices of certain commodities and inflation. ๐Ÿ™‚

Letโ€™s take the price of oil. This and inflation are connected in a cause and effect relationship.

As oil prices move up or down, inflation follows in the same direction. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The reason why this happens is that oil is a major input in the economy – it is used in critical activities such as fueling transportation – and if input costs rise, so does the cost of end products.

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For example, if the price of oil rises, then it costs more to make plastic, and a plastics company then passes on some or all of this cost to the consumer, which raises prices and thus – inflation.

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To understand inflation, we must first understand what the word means.

In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.

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When the price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation is also erosion in the purchasing power of money โ€“ a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy.

A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index (normally the Consumer Price Index) over time.

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As inflation rises, every rupee you own buys a smaller percentage of a good or service.

The value of a rupee does not stay constant when there is inflation.

This value is seen by looking at its purchasing power, i.e. the real, substantial goods that money can buy.

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Because inflation is a rise in the general level of prices, it is intrinsically linked to money, as captured by the often heard refrain โ€œInflation is too many dollars chasing too few goodsโ€.

Now if demand for goods and services doesnโ€™t fall as much, then price of goods and services go up.

Hence the retail price index goes up, and inflation takes place. ๐Ÿ™‚

Inflation does NOT however mean an increase in the general price level of goods and services within a country.

What inflation actually means is an inflation of the money supply, i.e. an increase in the total number of rupees in circulation.

An increase in the price level is a normal consequence of inflation because it depreciates the currency, lowering each rupeeโ€™s purchasing power.

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Prices and inflation

When inflation comes down, prices in the market do not come down immediately. The reasons may be many. Inflation comes down due to

* fall in consumption,

* low industrial output,

* fall in industrial commodity prices, especially crude, steel, etc.,

and

* industrial slowdowns.

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Market prices for ordinary citizen are not like that.

When supply is more than demand, industries slow down the output and the prices go up.

When inflation is down RBI reduces the interest rate, prime lending rate, etc., which increases liquidity in the economy.

Excess money is then often used for speculation with traders cornering the stock and creating artificial scarcity, thereby increasing the prices or not letting it come down.

๐Ÿ™‚

In conclusion, inflation will always be with us; itโ€™s an economic fact of life.

It is not intrinsically good or bad, but it certainly does impact our lives.

Everyone knows, once the prices go up they stay up and never come down.

It has no meaning to common man if it does not translate into reasonable living standards.

๐Ÿ™‚

There is always a direct relation between prices of certain commodities and inflation. Letโ€™s take the price of oil. This and inflation are connected in a cause and effect relationship. As oil prices move up or down, inflation follows in the same direction. The reason why this happens is that oil is a major input in the economy – it is used in critical activities such as fueling transportation – and if input costs rise, so does the cost of end products. For example, if the price of oil rises, then it costs more to make plastic, and a plastics company then passes on some or all of this cost to the consumer, which raises prices and thus – inflation.

To understand inflation, we must first understand what the word means.

Inflation is an increase in the price of a basket of goods and services that represents the economy as a whole. It is an upward movement in the average level of prices, measured as an annual percentage increase. As inflation rises, every rupee you own buys a smaller percentage of a good or service.

The value of a rupee does not stay constant when there is inflation. This value is seen by looking at its purchasing power, i.e. the real, substantial goods that money can buy. Because inflation is a rise in the general level of prices, it is intrinsically linked to money, as captured by the often heard refrain โ€œInflation is too many dollars chasing too few goodsโ€.

This is not difficult to follow. Imagine a world with two commodities: Mangoes picked from mango trees, and paper money printed by the government. In a year where there is a drought and mangoes are scarce, the price of mangoes rise, as there is substantially more money chasing very few mangoes.

Now if demand for goods and services doesnโ€™t fall as much, then price of goods and services go up. Hence the retail price index goes up, and inflation takes place.

Inflation does NOT however mean an increase in the general price level of goods and services within a country. What inflation actually means is an inflation of the money supply, i.e. an increase in the total number of rupees in circulation. An increase in the price level is a normal consequence of inflation because it depreciates the currency, lowering each rupeeโ€™s purchasing power.

Prices and inflation

There is always a direct relation between prices of certain commodities and inflation. Letโ€™s take the price of oil. This and inflation are connected in a cause and effect relationship. As oil prices move up or down, inflation follows in the same direction. The reason why this happens is that oil is a major input in the economy – it is used in critical activities such as fueling transportation – and if input costs rise, so does the cost of end products. For example, if the price of oil rises, then it costs more to make plastic, and a plastics company then passes on some or all of this cost to the consumer, which raises prices and thus – inflation.

However, even when inflation comes down, prices in the market do not come down immediately. The reasons may be many. Inflation comes down due to

* fall in consumption,

* low industrial output,

* fall in industrial commodity prices, especially crude, steel, etc., and

* industrial slowdowns.

Market prices for ordinary citizen are not like that. When supply is more than demand, industries slow down the output and the prices go up. When inflation is down RBI reduces the interest rate, prime lending rate, etc., which increases liquidity in the economy. Excess money is then often used for speculation with traders cornering the stock and creating artificial scarcity, thereby increasing the prices or not letting it come down.

In conclusion, inflation will always be with us; itโ€™s an economic fact of life. It is not intrinsically good or bad, but it certainly does impact our lives. Everyone knows, once the prices go up they stay up and never come down. Negative inflation has no meaning to common man if it does not translate into reasonable living standards.