# Behavior of Interest Rates

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1 Behavior of Interest Rates Notes on Mishkin Chapter 5 (pages ) Prof. Leigh Tesfatsion (Iowa State U) Last Revised: 21 February 2011

2 Mishkin Chapter 5: Selected Key In-Class Discussion Questions and Issues How can standard Econ 101 supply-demand analysis be applied to bond markets to determine equilibrium prices, interest rates, and quantities? What kinds of factors cause movements along the demand/supply curves for bonds? What kinds of factors cause shifting of the demand and supply curves for bonds? How is the equilibrium bond price and/or quantity of bonds affected by these shifts? In what sense is this analysis short run?

3 Notational Note Recall that, all else equal: P if and only if i That is, for any particular type of bond, the market price P moves inversely to the market interest rate (yield to maturity) i on this type of bond. In most of the following slides, attention will be focused on the bond price P rather than on the interest rate i. But all findings stated in terms of P could equivalently be stated in terms of i.

4 Supply and Demand for Bonds All else equal: At higher prices P, the quantity demanded of bonds is lower buyers are discouraged At higher prices P, the quantity supplied of bonds is higher sellers are encouraged

5 Bond Market Equilibrium Occurs at a price P where the amount of bonds B d that people are willing to buy (demand) equals the amount B s that people are willing to sell (supply). If P is such that B d = B s, then P is called a market equilibrium (or market clearing) bond price. If P is such that B d > B s (excess demand), then demanders (buyers) will tend to bid up P to the equilibrium price. If P is such that B d < B s (excess supply), then suppliers (sellers) will tend to bid down P to the equilibrium price.

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7 Factors Affecting the Demand for Bonds Wealth the total value of all owned financial and real assets (including human capital) Expected Real Return Rate the real return rate expected on bonds relative to alternative assets Risk the degree of uncertainty associated with the real return rate on bonds relative to alternative assets Liquidity the ease and speed with which bonds can be turned into cash relative to alternative assets

8 Factors Affecting the Demand for Bonds Holding all other factors constant (including price), the quantity of bonds demanded is: 1. positively related to wealth 2. positively related to expected real return rate 3. negatively related to risk relative to other assets 4. positively related to liquidity

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11 Shifts in the Bond Demand Curve (Holding Constant All Other Factors, Including Price) Wealth An increase in wealth causes the demand curve for bonds to shift to the right. Expected Interest Rate An increase in future expected interest rates i lowers the expected real return rate on bonds, causing the demand curve to shift to the left. Expected Inflation Rate An increase in the expected inflation rate lowers the expected real return rate on bonds, causing the demand curve to shift to the left.

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13 Shifts in the Bond Demand Curve Continued (Holding Constant All Other Factors, Including Price) Risk An increase in the riskiness of bonds relative to other assets causes the demand curve to shift to the left. Liquidity An increase in the liquidity of bonds causes the demand curve to shift to the right.

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15 Factors that Affect the Supply of Bonds Expected profitability of physical capital investment (hence of borrowing) Expected inflation rate (which affects the real cost of borrowing) Government deficits Government deficits (requiring government to sell bonds to finance expenditures)

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17 Shifts in the Bond Supply Curve (Holding Constant All Other Factors, Including Price) Expected profitability of investment opportunities In an expansion, the supply curve for bonds shifts to the right. Expected inflation rate Given an increase in the expected inflation rate, the supply curve for bonds shifts to the right. Government deficit Given an increase in the government budget deficit, the supply curve for bonds shifts to the right.

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19 The Fisher Effect PREDICTION: An increase in the expected inflation rate π e that lowers the expected real interest rate i r = i - π e will (all else equal) shift left the demand curve for bonds; shift right the supply curve for bonds; hence result in an increase in i. This prediction, that π e and i will tend to move together over time, is called the FISHER EFFECT.

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21 Evidence on the Fisher Effect in the United States (3-Mo. T-bills) Source: Expected inflation calculated using procedures outlined in Frederic S. Mishkin, The Real Interest Rate: An Empirical Investigation, Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 15 (1981): These procedures involve estimating expected inflation as a function of past interest rates, inflation, and time trends.

22 Business Cycle Impact on Interest Rates: Demand/Supply Analysis Suppose there is an expansion (GDP ) supply of bonds shifts right; demand for bonds shifts right. If supply shifts more than demand, bond price P decreases (i rises). If demand shifts more than supply, bond price P increases (i falls). In either case, quantity of bonds sold.

23 Business Cycle Expansion (GDP ) 1. Wealth, B d, B d shifts out to right 2. Investment, B s, B s shifts out to right 3. If B s shifts more than B d then P, i 23

24 Evidence on Business Cycles and Interest Rates (3-mo. T-Bills) Source: Federal Reserve:

25 Key Concepts from Mishkin Chapter 5 (pages only) Demand curve for bonds; Supply curve for bonds; Bond market equilibrium price & quantity; Excess supply of bonds; Excess demand for bonds.

26 Key Issues for Mishkin Chapter 5 (pages only) Factors causing movements along the bond demand (supply) curve; Factors causing the bond demand (supply) curve to shift right or left; Predicted movements in the price of bonds due to excess demand or supply; Predicted movements in the equilibrium price and/or quantity of bonds due to shifts in the demand and/or supply curve for bonds; Why is this D-S analysis considered short run?

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