Bom, não é bem contra João Salgueiro. Mas, para quem segue este blogue, este é um bom atalho para descrever a ideia em causa: a teoria de que baixar juros reduz tanto a remuneração dos activos que acaba por ser um tiro no pé em termos macroeconómicos – e passa, por vias travessas, uma certidão de óbito ao sistema financeiro.
Unconventional monetary policies, including quantitative easing and negative policy rates, continue to be crucial to address the weak macroeconomic environment. Banks are key beneficiaries of these policies overall, as improved price stability and growth lead to stronger borrower creditworthiness, a decline in nonperforming assets, reduced provisioning costs, capital gains on bond holdings, as well as declining wholesale funding costs.
Markets and policymakers have little historical basis for understanding the full benefits and costs that may arise over a prolonged period of low or of negative rates. The interests of banks and the broader economy may diverge in some respects. Credit easing, driven by low or negative rates, may lower costs to households and firms, support asset prices, and boost growth—good news for the real economy.
But there may be some adverse side effects for banks. By driving down costs of borrowing for the real economy, unconventional monetary policy appears to compress banks’ net interest margins, a key source of bank income. Negative interest rates may be unique in accelerating this margin compression over time, as banks have so far proven unwilling or are legally unable to pass on negative rates to retail depositors. As negative policy rates bring asset yields lower, deposit funding costs may get “stuck” at zero, squeezing the margin between the two.