You can add Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn to the list of those who are concerned about the negative interest rates prevailing throughout developed European economies.
"It's very hard in the insurance business, in the asset management business, in the pension business, when you can't get a return on your capital," he tells CNBC
. German five-year government bonds yield negative 0.13 percent.
Cohn doesn't think the problem will necessarily go away. We "will continue to have more negative interest rates as we've just started down the path of quantitative easing in Europe," he predicts. The European Central Bank is buying 60 billion euros ($63 billion) of securities a month to boost European economies.
As for the Federal Reserve, it's in a tight spot as it determines when to raise interest rates, Cohn argues. Many experts expect a move in June.
"I completely understand Janet Yellen and her view that zero interest rates were emergency measures," he explains. "But then she has to deal with the real realities of the world." That includes a soaring dollar and a labor participation rate of just 62.8 percent, Cohn notes.
, an adjunct professor of economics at Grove City College in Grove City, Penn., is concerned about negative European bond yields too.
"We have the spectacle of widespread acceptance [by investors] of a nominally negative return on paper denominated in a currency that the relevant central bank is actively trying to depreciate," he writes in an article for Forbes.
"Negative interest rates are a weird and alarming symptom of profound economic dysfunction," Hendrickson states. "In a healthy economy, interest rates coordinate production between the present and the future according to people’s composite time preferences."
But what's happening now?
"Those vitally important market signals are mangled, broken, shattered," Hendrickson says. "Maybe negative-yield instruments will pay off in ways I don’t yet perceive, but I’m content to keep my distance from them and let others play that bizarre game. I’d rather preserve my sanity."
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