It’s been puzzling me since the start of the financial crisis: why can incontinent governments like, say, the UK’s, borrow almost unlimited amounts at interest rates far below inflation? Stephen King at HSBC has been thinking about this, and has come up with a suitably apocalyptic (he has a reputation to defend, after all) explanation for the silly prices of government debt.
Rather than addressing the problem of too much of it, he points out that governments across the West are instead finding ways to force it down the buyers’ throats regardless of the price. Sadly for the struggling members of the eurozone, they can’t pull off this trick because they don’t control their domestic currency, but the proud printers of other major currencies are pulling it off like mad. Read more