Interest rates are headed downwards as global bond yields are falling quickly again

At the start of 2019 we wrote that 2019 will be a year that will be different with interest rate hikes slowing or interest rates even reversing.

Earlier this month the European Central Bank said interest rates would remain at record lows at least until the end of the year and then last week this was followed by the Federal Reserve saying that it does not expect an interest rate rise for the U.S. for the rest of 2019.

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Have banks in the U.S. started lending more money recently?

We wrote recently that delinquency and charge-off rates across banks in the United States remain low and that bad loans aren’t really increasing for banks in the United States despite some claiming that they are. We had also written about banks in the United States having a problem – they couldn’t find enough customers to lend money to. We wrote that last year and it appears a few things are changing; bank lending in the U.S. is now finally on the up.

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Is the U.S. unemployment rate low due to increased hiring or an increasing number of people quitting the labour force?

This is an interesting one, one of our three U.S. recession indicators is the U.S. unemployment rate.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that the U.S. unemployment rate has hit a new multi-year low four to eight months before the start of every recession since the 1940s. In other words, the economy hits full employment four to eight months before the start of a recession.

The unemployment rate goes up at least 1% and then doesn’t go back down without a recession occurring.

US unemployment rate until January 2019

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Is Household Debt in the U.S. really a bigger problem than before the financial crisis?

There are various ways to look at Household Debt (total debt outstanding including mortgages, loans, credit cards and other debt) in the United States, we look at two today.

The first is debt servicing costs to disposable income which effectively is how much it costs to service household debt as a fraction of disposable (after tax) income. The second is household debt outstanding to disposable income which effectively is how much debt there is with respect to the same disposable (after tax) income measure.

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