Very low global interest rates are likely to persist for some time yet and investors, in their chase for yield, need to be wary of the risks in pushing asset prices too far ahead of economic fundamentals, a top Australian central banker said on Tuesday.
Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Deputy Governor Philip Lowe told a conference that while some financial risk-taking was desirable the longer it ran on without complementary pickup in real investment, the greater was the potential for new risks to develop.
“During this period, while we wait for the investment environment to improve, we need to be cognisant of potential risks of asset prices running too far ahead of real activity. This is true in Australia, as it is elsewhere around the world,” he said.
Lowe said a question being discussed internationally and at home was whether the recent increase in house prices in parts of the world, together with pockets of higher borrowing, was generating increased financial and macroeconomic risk.
“Lenders need to ensure that their lending standards remain sound and that they hold the appropriate amount of capital against the risks they face. And investors need to evaluate developments in the broader market, including how their investments might turn out in less benign scenarios,” he said.
“Careful attention to these issues will help ensure that in getting the economic benefits of low interest rates we do not generate unacceptable risks on the financial side.”
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