O World Economic Outlook publicado ontem tem uma óptima análise acerca de um tema fundamental: descida das taxas de juro reais, os factores por detrás da descida e implicações para política monetária. O capítulo 3 – Perspectives on global real interest rates está disponível on-line.
A protracted period of low real interest rates would have negative implications for pension funds and insurance companies with defined-benefit obligations. An environment of continued low real (and nominal) interest rates might also induce investors and financial institutions more broadly to search for higher real (and nominal) yields by taking on more risk. Increased risk taking, in turn, might increase systemic financial sector risks, and appropriate macro- and microprudential oversight would therefore be critical for maintaining financial stability.
If real interest rates were to be lower than currently projected in the WEO, achieving fiscal sustainability would be somewhat easier. For example, with real interest rates 1 percentage point lower than projected, the average medium-term debt-to-GDP ratio in advanced economies would be about 4 percentage points lower. Moreover, if real rates are expected to be close to or below the real GDP growth rate for some time, some increases in debt-financed government spending, especially public investment, may not lead to increases in public debt in the medium term.
Lower natural real rates also have important implications for monetary policy. For example, with an inflation target of 2 percent, if the equilibrium real interest rate is substantially less than 2 percent as anticipated, the typical neutral policy rate would be significantly less than 4 percent. 54 A lower natural rate does not reduce the effectiveness of monetary policy during normal times. However, for a given inflation target, it raises the probability that nominal interest rates will hit the zero lower bound. The higher risk of potential monetary policy ineffectiveness in times of recessions, in turn, may be an important consideration in the choice of an appropriate monetary policy framework.