Feb 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

Central banks have cut interest rates 800 times since the Great Recession

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mexico's central bank cut interest rates to 7% last week, marking the 800th interest rate cut by a central bank since the Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy in September 2008, Bank of America Global Research notes.

What's happening: The number of rate cuts from central banks have picked up steam since last year when the global economy's growth rate stumbled to its slowest since the financial crisis.

Why it matters: The recent rate cuts are fueling "twin bubbles" in investment grade corporate bonds and Big Tech stocks like Facebook, Amazon and Netflix, BofA analysts say.

Watch this space: Allocation to equities fell to 60.3% of private clients' portfolios, which is still slightly above the historical average but well below the March 2015 peak of 62.5%.

  • The analysts also pointed out that "clients are again selling equities (equivalent to 1.8% of [assets under management] annualized) & buying bonds (1.5%)."

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After its emergency rate cut, investors wonder what the Fed knows

Jerome Powell. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Investors and President Trump want the same thing after Tuesday's surprise 50 basis point cut by the Fed: more cuts.

The state of play: The announcement, two weeks to the day before the beginning of the central bank's scheduled March 17–18 policy meeting, has investors scratching their heads. "The Fed pulled the fire alarm without telling anybody why," Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at the Economic Outlook Group, tells Axios.

Goldman Sachs expects a full percentage point of rate cuts from the Fed

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Fed chair Jerome Powell's statement on Friday afternoon that the U.S. central bank was "closely monitoring developments" and would "act as appropriate to support the economy" has eliminated any doubt that the Fed will cut U.S. interest rates at its meeting on March 17–18.

What we're hearing: "A Fed cut in March appears nearly certain," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a late Sunday note to clients.

Fed cuts interest rates to near zero in emergency coronavirus intervention

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve on Sunday cut its benchmark interest rate to almost zero and launched a $700 billion quantitative easing program in response to the expected economic downturn and stock market slump caused by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: This is the most drastic measure the Fed could take to try to shield the economy amid a global pandemic. The central bank hasn’t made moves this dramatic since the financial crisis.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 15, 2020 - Economy & Business