Upside-down world of negative rates is coming for U.S. savers


By Emily Barrett
Bloomberg News
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Mattresses full of money, getting paid to take out a mortgage, surging demand for safe-deposit boxes -- these are some of the ideas people have about what happens when interest rates turn negative.

Just a few months ago, such scenes -- at least in the U.S. -- seemed unthinkable. But with Treasury yields tumbling and the Federal Reserve abruptly slashing rates to near zero on Sunday, Americans may soon get a taste of them firsthand.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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Panic over the coronavirus and its threat to the global economy has made the prospect of negative rates in the U.S. at once all too real. Americans are currently staring at Treasury yields closer to zero than they were during the 2008 financial crisis. JPMorgan Chase & Co. says the odds are rising that T-bills will go negative and hurt savers in the $3.8 trillion money-market fund industry. Indeed, traders in Asia woke Monday to quotes below zero on some bills.

How might it ultimately play out for ordinary Americans?

Our best guide is across the Atlantic, where years of negative rates have already upended the financial lives of millions in major ways -- collateral damage in a largely failed experiment by European policy makers to spur the region's economy. ...

... For the remainder of the report:

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