Fed Rate Hikes Rocket Money Market Fund Yields to Record High

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In a climate of soaring inflation and a volatile stock market, money market mutual funds are emerging as a beacon of stability for investors, offering the highest interest rates seen in decades. Averaging an attractive 5.15% yield according to Crane Data, these funds are offering a lucrative alternative to riskier investments, making them an increasingly appealing choice for those seeking higher yields with lower risk. This is a remarkable shift from the past two decades, where money market yields have typically remained significantly lower.

These funds, which are often compared to savings accounts for their relative safety and liquidity, primarily hold lower-risk investments such as Treasurys and certain types of corporate bonds. They offer a more secure alternative to stocks, a factor that has been increasingly appreciated by savers in the current economic landscape. The significant returns on these funds have been spurred on by the Federal Reserve’s campaign of interest rate hikes, a strategic move designed to stabilize consumer prices and curb inflation. This has led to higher yields on U.S. Treasurys and consequently, money markets, making them an attractive option for investors seeking to preserve their purchasing power in the face of persistent inflation.

Money Market Mutual Funds Witnessing Highest Interest Rates in Decades

Money market mutual funds are currently experiencing the most profitable interest rates in decades, making them an appealing avenue for investors in search of higher returns with moderate risk. These funds, which primarily consist of less risky investments like Treasury bonds and certain corporate bonds, provide a safer alternative compared to stocks and are often viewed similarly to savings accounts.

Interest Rates Soaring to New Heights

According to Crane Data, money market funds are offering an average interest rate of 5.15%, a peak not seen since 1999. This comes after a prolonged period of relatively low money market yields over the past twenty years. The Wall Street Journal’s analysis of the Crane 100 Money Fund Index, which reflects the average of the 100 largest taxable money market funds, found that these yields last touched 5% in 2008 before dropping to near zero over the following two years due to the financial crisis. These yields remained at a near-zero level until 2016, and then gradually increased to over 2% by 2019. However, they fell back to near zero during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inflation and Its Impact

In 2022, the U.S. economy experienced soaring inflation due to increased government spending and pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. In response, the Federal Reserve initiated a series of interest rate hikes aimed at stabilizing consumer prices and controlling inflation. This strategy resulted in higher yields on U.S. Treasurys, and consequently, money markets. With these funds once again offering high returns, investors are turning to money markets as a way to secure a yield that outpaces inflation, which currently stands at 3.2% year over year, surpassing the Fed’s target rate of 2%.

Record-breaking Asset Accumulation in Money Markets

In 2023, total assets in money market mutual funds have been on a steady rise, reaching a record-breaking $5.57 trillion for the week ending August 16. This growth was fueled by investors injecting nearly $40 billion into money markets, as per the data from the Investment Company Institute. This total includes over $2 trillion in retail money markets and almost $3.5 trillion in institutional accounts.

Future of Interest Rates

As the Federal Open Market Committee’s next meeting in mid-September approaches, all eyes will be on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s upcoming speech at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Symposium. His insights into the Fed’s future approach to interest rate hikes will be of significant interest to investors and policymakers alike. The minutes from the Fed’s July meeting noted the potential need for further tightening of monetary policy given the persistent inflation and a tight labor market.


As the Federal Reserve continues its fight against stubborn inflation with a potential for further interest rate hikes, money market yields could experience further growth. Investors seeking higher yields with relatively low risk may find money market mutual funds an increasingly attractive option. However, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the Fed’s moves and the overall economic landscape when making investment decisions.

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