Bass: ‘Insane’ US Interest Rates Will Follow the World to Zero
Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass called the global economic situation “insane” and said believes interest rates in the United States will continue the march down to zero, following what central banks around the world have done.
“We’re the only country that has an integer in front of our bond yields. … All the money is going to come here.”
“We’re the only country that has an integer in front of our bond yields. We have 90% of the world’s investment-grade debt. We actually have rule of law and we have a decent economy. All the money is going to come here,” Bass told CNBC Tuesday.
The Federal Reserve delivered its first interest rate cut in over a decade last month when it reduced rates by 25 basis points to a range between 2% and 2.25%. September should see another reduction of interest rates, too, if market predictions are correct. The CME Group FedWatch tool says there’s a 92.7% chance the central bank reduces rates by another 0.25%, with a 7.3% chance of a big 0.5% reduction.
And this follows the global trend Bass is talking about. Many banks around the world have cut interest rates to try and provide stimulus, but many are already dealing with negative rates after too much easing. Germany, France and Japan all are in the negative, and now China is trying to right the ship as its economy slows. Around $15 trillion of global debt trades at a negative rate, according to CNBC.
“This is insane. The Japanese are going to keep going. The Chinese print money like it’s a national pastime today. Europe is going to restart QE,” Bass said.
Quantitative easing, or “QE,” is a way for central banks to increase the money supply in an attempt to stimulate economic growth.
Bass believes politicians’ disregard for budget deficits and slowing economies in Europe and China will drive the U.S. interest rates to zero, and the consequences will create even larger wealth gaps in America.
“The unintended consequences of central bank printing are that it makes the rich even richer, it makes the middle class stay where they are and it makes the poor stay poor,” Bass said.
The U.S. also is dealing with the ongoing trade war with China, which has provided an extra dose of economic uncertainty as the world’s two largest economies levy various tariffs against each other’s exports.
U.S. President Donald Trump launched the latest salvo earlier this month by threatening another 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese imports that was set to begin Sept. 1. Last week, the administration removed some items from the list and delayed others until the middle of December, citing the effect new tariffs could have on consumer spending in the holiday season.
Bass doesn’t see a new deal coming any time soon, though.
“I think Trump’s political calculus is to keep talking,” Bass said. “If he does a deal, it will be too easy and he’ll get attacked from the right. If he does a deal that’s too difficult, they won’t sign it.”