低金利は高資産価格を保証するか

株式、商用不動産、さらには石油さえ含む資産価格が、世界中で歴史的な高水準にある。歴史は多くの場合、将来トレンドの良き指針となるが、いつでも何らかの根源的な変化により、新しいパターンが生み出される。今重要な問題は、今日の高資産価格がそういった根源的な発展の結果であるのか、はたまたバブルが形成されているのかである。

高資産価格を裏付けるよく聞かれる理由として、(インフレ率調整後) 実質長期金利がとても低いという理論が挙げられる。しかし投資家はこの理論を敬遠するであろう。聞こえは良いが、この理論には確証に乏しく、さらに重要なこととして、高価格の持続性を予測させるものではない。

もちろん、実質長期金利が突然でも最近でもなく、20 年以上をかけて一定の割合で、かなり目立って低下してきたことは事実である。IMF によれば、世界の実質長期金利は 1984 年に平均 7% 近くで天井を打ち、2004 年には 2% 直下まで低下した。その過程に幾分かの上げ下げはあったが、全体としては下降傾向であり、5% 以上近くという大幅な低下は、衝撃的なものであった。

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