Has the competitive balance tilted away from banks and toward credit unions, given the latter’s tax exemption and more-recent ability to draw members from wider pools? Whether it has or not, both industries have seen similar trend growth over the past 15 years—and, in fact, have come to resemble each other in many ways
It is not uncommon to observe negative interest rates during uncertain times, when investors flee to safety. But the existence of negative market yields provides no support for policies in which central banks set negative interest rates on deposits held at a central bank.
An unprecedented amount of aid was extended by the Treasury, Fed and FDIC to companies, agencies and individuals. This aid was necessary and, in many cases, will return a profit to taxpayers.
Recent increases in the monetary base are far greater than any previously in American history, surely a "noble experiment" in policymaking. Whether these policies can succeed—and without accelerating inflation—remains to be seen.
Central bankers believe that low inflation and long-term economic growth go hand in hand. The evidence about the costs of inflation, however, is not as clear-cut.
If your wallet felt a lot lighter every time you filled up your car with gasoline in 2004, it's not surprising. During the second half of 2004, the futures and spot prices of oil reached record levels in today's dollars, not adjusted for the effects of inflation. To what extent are higher prices the result of supply and demand factors? How much has speculation affected oil prices?
Because of the record high spot and futures prices for oil in 2004, economists are once again trying to fully understand all of the driving factors behind the jumps in price. Besides supply and demand, speculation is drawing a lot of attention these days.
It's not the latest jump in oil prices that takes a toll on the economy but the uncertainty over what will happen in the future. But getting a handle on such uncertainty is a difficult task.