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The Interest Rate Outlook


Unlike other major hurricanes of the past, Hurricane Katrina may have a significant effect on the national economy since it hit a major center of US oil production and refining. The soaring prices for gas and heating oil will hurt consumer spending. As this MSN Money article discusses, it has the potential to tip the US into recession.

This article from Forbes mentioned the possibility that the Fed may not raise rates at its next meeting on September 20th. Instead it might wait until its November meeting for the next rate rise.

A slowing of the overall economy is only one of several factors that can affect interest rates. This New York times article mentions some others:

A significant housing slowdown would reduce mortgage loan demand. Banks would have less reason to attract assets with high CD rates.

Dollar-rich foreign central banks have been major buyers of long-term Treasuries. If higher rates on short-term Treasuries gain their attention, and they start shifting more of their assets into these, it could reduce short-term rates and raise long-term rates.

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