We all know that the Federal Reserve took extraordinary measures to keep the economy going, which included a hefty amount of bond buying as well as cutting benchmark interest rates down to basement levels. And those rates sat at basically 0% for roughly a decade.
For income-seeking investors, this period hasn’t been that great. Traditional income products like CDs, money markets and, even, Treasury bonds have been yielding and paying bupkis.
But with the Fed finally starting to raise rates, income investors should start jumping for joy. Except that they aren’t. Despite the recent increases in benchmark rates, most income products haven’t seen any sort of yield gains.
So, what gives? Investment manager BlackRock has a few ideas.
Four Increases and Nothing to Show For It
The whole point of having rates at low levels was to spur lending activity, borrowing and, ultimately, the economy forward. And while you debate whether this was a good thing, it appears the Fed was right on the money. We have finally experienced growth and rising inflation. As a result, after leaving rates at zero since the darkest days of the recession, the Fed started ratcheting up rates at the end the end of 2015. Since then, they have increased rates four times. Benchmark rates now sit at 1.25% – well above the 0.25% seen during the recession.