Deterioration in the real interest rate of an economy can lead to an economic downturn. In essence, if inflation rates exceed the interest rates on lending, the profitability of commercial banks is eroded and lending to businesses and individuals dries up. As a result, the production and consumption of goods and services by these would-be borrowers falters.
To complicate matters, the reasons for and repercussions to an economy of low or negative real interest rate depends on a myriad of other factors, including an economy's size and demographic profile, capacity and maturity of its banking system and related financial institutions, demand for safe assets, and other factors. The duration of the low or negative interest rates also affects policy decisions to guard against other economic consequences.
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What is the expenditure approach? The expenditure method to calculating GDP is an approch that totals consumption, investment, government spending, and net exports (exports minus imports).
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Source: UN National Accounts
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook, April 2014