Another One from Paul Krugman: (Slightly) Rising Interest Rates a Sign of Improvement

What Paul said:>What’s moving interest rates?: I’ve written recently about applying the Engel-Frankel method to making sense of interest rate movements: ask what else moves when rates move, and you get a clue to what’s driving the changes. I’ve previously argued that the behavior of commodity prices suggests that the big rise in interest rates this spring was driven by economic optimism, not fear of deficits.>Here’s another indicator: which way do rates move when we get good or bad news about the economy? If you believed that deficits were the driver, bad news about the economy should push rates up, good news push them down. After all, a weaker economy means lower revenues, a stronger economy higher revenues. But if you believe that interest rates are being driven by changing expectations about when the Fed will be able to come off the zero-rate policy, you’d expect the opposite correlation.>And there’s no question about which way things work in practice. Late last week, for example, a couple of new figures — a better-than-expected Philadelphia manufacturing survey, a decline in continued claims for unemployment insurance — made investors more optimistic about the economy; long-term rates bounced. This morning, a gloomy World Bank Report is weighing on the market; long-term rates are down.>It’s not deficits. It’s the economy, stupid.


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