Low interest rates will be with us into the future, said former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen during an appearance at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference in New York on Monday.
“All evidence suggests we’re going to be in an environment of low interest rates for a long time.”
During a panel discussion with Recode co-Founder Kara Swisher, and Steve Liesman, CNBC senior economics reporter, she pointed out current Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said that the course of interest rate increases are subject to a rethink.
Yellen doesn’t “share concerns” about the Fed raising rates too quickly, she said.
Powell last week said the Fed was “watching and waiting” on interest rates.
In addition to some of the big economic issues, the discussion focused on the retail sector specifically. The event comes days after retail stocks took a hit after holiday sales announcements from retailers including Macy’s Inc.
Swisher focused some of her comments on e-commerce and the impact of Amazon.com Inc.
has created moat after moat,” she said, noting the ways in which the online giant has been able to separate itself, and get ahead of, the competition.
Some of those moats include a “data moat,” “pricing moat,” and “delivery moat.”
Retailers have invested a great deal of effort to gather more data from customers to create loyalty among customers and their own moats.
If retailers have “no data relationship” with consumers, they will have a tough time competing, she said.
The NRF conference continues through Tuesday.
The SPDR S&P Retail ETF
was down 0.6% Monday, and has fallen about 9% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500
has fallen 7%.