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Interest Rates

The Inflation Reality And The Attack On Wages

Inflation was slow throughout the second half of 2022. Yet you wouldn’t know this from newspaper headlines, statements from “experts,” or the statements and actions of the Federal Reserve. It was only in January of 2023, when the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2022 was released showing an actual (very small) decline in prices for the month, that there began to be a general recognition that the relatively high rate of inflation of late 2021 and the first half of 2022 had abated. The December 2022 decline of one-tenth of 1% was later revised upward to an increase of one-tenth of 1%, but this tiny increase still brought attention to the easing of inflation.

Fox In The Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising

On March 31st the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the sixth time in 3 years and signaled its intention to raise rates twice more in 2018, aiming for a fed funds target of 3.5% by 2020. LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate) has risen even faster than the fed funds rate, up to 2.3% from just 0.3% 2-1/2 years ago. LIBOR is set in London by private agreement of the biggest banks, and the interest on $3.5 trillion globally is linked to it, including $1.2 trillion in consumer mortgages. Alarmed commentators warn that global debt levels have reached $233 trillion, more than three times global GDP; and that much of that debt is at variable rates pegged either to the Fed’s interbank lending rate or to LIBOR. Raising rates further could push governments, businesses and homeowners over the edge.

Bipartisan Deal Will Raise Student Interest Rates 20%

Interest rates go up Tuesday for students taking out new federal loans. This hike is relatively minimal but could foreshadow more increases to come. The change stems from a high-profile, bipartisan deal brokered last year by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama that ties the rates to the financial markets. Interest rates go from 3.86 to 4.66 percent on undergraduate Stafford loans. Graduate student loans go from 5.41 percent to 6.21 percent. Interest rates on Plus loans for parents go from 6.41 percent to 7.21 percent. For every $10,000 borrowed, the average borrower under the hike will pay back about $4 more every month when they begin paying back the money - about the price of a fancy latte. If the economy continues to improve, however, these kinds of rate hikes could continue. Congress stipulated that the rates for new loans be reset annually, but that borrowers keep the rate they were given for the life of the loan. The compromise in Congress was reached after rates doubled last July.
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