Long-Term Interest Rates Suggest Low Inflation

 |  Includes: TBT, TLT
by: Mark J. Perry

In a previous post, I suggested that historically low 30-year mortgage rates reflected relatively low market expectations of future inflation. Some commenters (and Robert Shiller Friday afternoon on CNBC) pointed out that the Fed is buying mortgage securities, which is temporarily keeping 30-mortgage rates low, rather than low inflation expectations keeping rates low.

But the charts above that other long-term rates (30-year Treasury bond, 30-year AAA corporates and 30-year Baa corporates) are historically low, as well as the prime rate being historically low, and these low rates wouldn't necessarily have anything to do with Fed purchases.

Question: How could all of these long-term rates be so low if there were inflationary pressures building up in the economy, which would lead to higher expected future inflation, and higher nominal long-term interest rates, and not historically low long-term rates?