The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Negative policy interest rates have prevailed for some years in Denmark and are a more recent development in Sweden. Among other potential side effects, negative rates could weaken banks' profitability by reducing net interest income, their main source of earnings. However, an analysis of financial statements at the country rather than the consolidated group level shows that bank margins have been broadly stable. At least to date, lower interest income was offset by reductions in wholesale funding costs and higher fee income. Nonetheless, the impacts on bank health and lending from negative interest rates will need to continue to be monitored closely.