Due to electronic rights, some third party content may be suppressed from the eBook and/or eChapter(s). Editorial review has deemed that any suppressed content does not materially affect the overall learning experience. Cengage Learning reserves the right to remove additional content at any time if subsequent rights restrictions require it. 196 Part 3 Financial Assets When you finish this chapter, you should be able to do the following: ●● ●● ●● List the various factors that influence the cost of money. Discuss how market interest rates are affected by borrowers’ need for capital, expected inflation, different securities’ risks, and securities’ liquidity. Explain what the yield curve is, what determines its shape, and how you can use the yield curve to help forecast future interest rates. 6-1 The Cost of Money Production Opportunities The investment opportunities in productive (cash generating) assets. Time Preferences for Consumption The preferences of consumers for current consumption as opposed to saving for future consumption. Risk In a financial market context, the chance that an investment will provide a low or negative return. Inflation The amount by which prices increase over time. The four most fundamental factors affecting the cost of money are (1) production opportunities, (2) time preferences for consumption, (3) risk, and (4) inflation. To see how these factors operate, visualize an isolated island community where people live on fish. They have a stock of fishing gear that permits them to survive reasonably well, but they would like to have more fish. Now suppose one of the island’s inhabitants, Mr. Crusoe, had a bright idea for a new type of fishnet that would enable him to double his daily catch. However, it would take him a year to perfect the design, build the net, and learn to use it efficiently. Mr. Crusoe would probably starve before he could put his new net into operation. Therefore, he might suggest to Ms. Robinson, Mr. Friday, and several others that if they would give him one fish each day for a year, he would return two fish a day the next year. If someone accepted the offer, the fish that Ms. Robinson and the others gave to Mr. Crusoe would constitute savings, these savings would be invested in the fishnet, and the extra fish the net produced would constitute a return on the investment. Obviously, the more productive Mr. Crusoe thought the new fishnet would be, the more he could afford to offer potential investors for their savings. In this example, we assume that Mr. Crusoe thought he would be able to pay (and thus he offered) a 100% rate of return—he offered to give back two fish for every one he received. He might have tried to attract savings for less—for example, he might have offered only 1.5 fish per day next year for every one he received this year, which would represent a 50% rate of return to Ms. Robinson and the other potential savers. How attractive Mr. Crusoe’s offer appeared to a potential saver would depend in large part on the saver’s time preference for consumption. For example, Ms. Robinson might be thinking of retirement, and she might be willing to trade fish today for fish in the future on a one-for-one basis. On the other hand, Mr. Friday might have a wife and several young children and need his current fish; so he might be unwilling to “lend” a fish today for anything less than three fish next year. Mr. Friday would be said to have a high time preference for current consumption, and Ms. Robinson, a low time preference. Note also that if the entire population were living right at the subsistence level, time preferences for current consumption would necessarily be high; aggregate savings would be low; interest rates would be high; and capital formation would be difficult. The risk inherent in the fishnet project (and thus in Mr. Crusoe’s ability to repay the loan) also affects the return that investors require: The higher the perceived risk, the higher the required rate of return. Also, in a more complex society, there are many businesses like Mr. Crusoe’s, many goods other than fish, and many savers like Ms. Robinson and Mr. Friday. Therefore, people use money as a medium of exchange rather than barter with fish. When money is used, its value in the future, which is affected by inflation, comes into play:
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