Term Structure Of Interest Rates

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DEFINITION of 'Term Structure Of Interest Rates'

The relationship between interest rates or bond yields and different terms or maturities. The term structure of interest rates is also known as a yield curve and it plays a central role in an economy. The term structure reflects expectations of market participants about future changes in interest rates and their assessment of monetary policy conditions.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Term Structure Of Interest Rates'

In general terms, yields increase in line with maturity, giving rise to an upward sloping yield curve or a "normal yield curve." One basic explanation for this phenomenon is that lenders demand higher interest rates for longer-term loans as compensation for the greater risk associated with them, in comparison to short-term loans. Occasionally, long-term yields may fall below short-term yields, creating an "inverted yield curve" that is generally regarded as a harbinger of recession.

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