10 Crazy Facts How The World Has Changed Since The Fed Last Raised Interest Rates

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Dec 19 2015
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Do you remember what you were doing on June 29, 2006? That was close to 10-year ago and you could probably still schooling. But that was when the Federal Reserve pushed the key rate to 5.25%, for a 17th straight time since June 2004, and the last time before they do it again almost 10-year into the future on December 16, 2015.


Subsequently, the FOMC took the rate to zero on Dec. 16, 2008, and would stayed for another approximately 7-year before Fed Chair Janet Yellen raises the interest rate by 0.25%. So, has the world changed between these two historical date? You would be surprise to see how much had changed since the last rate was hiked.


{ 1 } Only Dumb Motorola Phone, Smart iPhone Yet to be Invented

On June 29, 2006 – Steve Jobs was still alive and kicking while his iPod, first released on October 23, 2001, was selling like hotcakes. iPod Nano and Shuffle were at its 1st generation. Apple was only worth about US$65 billion and iPhone hadn’t been invented yet. The Motorola Razr was the No.1 mobile phone while the BlackBerry was the “cutting edge”.

2006 Motorola Razr Dumb Phone

Smartphones didn’t exist and Steve Jobs would only launch the first generation iPhone exactly 1-year later on June 29, 2007. The iPhone would go on to kill both brands, Motorola and BlackBerry, together with Nokia, Ericsson and tons other non-smart phone brands. Today, Apple is worth a staggering US$620 billion, roughly 10-times more.



{ 2 } From Ben Bernanke to Janet Yellen

On June 29, 2006 – the Federal Reserve Chair was Ben Bernanke and barely 5-month after his appointment as the most powerful man in America’s financial institution, made the decision to bump up the benchmark overnight lending rate to 5.25%, its highest level in more than five years. That was his last rate hike until his second term ended February 1, 2014.

Federal Reserve Chair - From Ben Bernanke to Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen was then the head of the San Francisco Fed, and would later succeed Ben Bernanke as the new Federal Reserve Chair, becoming the 15th person and the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history. But she is being criticised for keeping rates too low for too long, and could risk sending U.S. into recession.



{ 3 } From Blair-Bush to Cameron-Obama

On June 29, 2006 – the United States and the United Kingdom were ruled by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, respectively. Both politicians are still being criticized as the twin evils who created havoc in the Middle Eastern and were instrumental in the creation of terrorists under sponsorship from Saudi Arabia.

President George W Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair

Barack Obama hadn’t been elected as the POTUS yet as it would take another 8-month before he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. After Tony Blair, it was Gordon Brown who took over the Downing Street before David Cameron assumed office on May 11, 2010.



{ 4 } From Shakira to Adele

On June 29, 2006 – Shakira topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hips Don’t Lie,” which broke records with 266,500 downloads in the first week. The song went on to become the highest selling single of the 21st century, in addition to reaching number one in over 55 countries. As of 2014, she is listed as the 58th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and became the first person to reach 100 million followers on Facebook.

2006 Shakira

This week, Adele‘s “Hello” broke records by selling almost four times that – a whopping 1.11 million digital downloads in the first week, the first song in the US to sell over one million digital copies within a week of its release. Would Shakira hit the same number of digital download, if not more, if she swap place with Adele? Absolutely.



{ 5 } From Music in Physical Form to Digital Streaming

On June 29, 2006 – album sales in the form of physical format – Compact Disc (CD) – was roughly 553 million while digital format was merely 16 million. By 2012, CD sales plunged to 193 million copies but the digital format skyrocketed to 117 million copies. Last year, digital revenue has overtaken physical revenue for the first time.

Girls Showing CD Compact Disc

In 2014, digital revenue grew nearly 7% to US$6.85 billion, while physical sales – of which CDs make up the vast majority – fell 8% to US$6.82 billion. Today, you still can buy CDs but its market share continues to shrink to roughly 49% from 85.6% in 2006. Sales of CDs in the US dropped by 31.5% in the first half of 2015 alone – 41 million CDs sold against 56.8 million in the same period last year.



{ 6 } Global Financial Crisis Hadn’t Happened Yet

On June 29, 2006 – Lehman Brothers was the fourth-largest investment bank in the United States – behind Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch. But one month after the Fed last rate rise, US housing prices peaked and then crashed. Its collapse ignited a financial panic that wiped out hundreds of banks, including Lehman Brothers.

2008 Global Financial Crisis - Wall Street Crumbles

Today, many people don’t know Lehman Brothers, which was formed in 1850 but declared bankrupt in September 2008. From 2008 to 2012 alone, a total of 465 banks have been closed or sold to another bank. Twenty of the world’s biggest banks have paid more than US$235 billion (£157 billion; RM1 trillion) in fines and compensation in the last 7 years.



{ 7 } Singapore Had No Casinos

On June 29, 2006 – there wasn’t any casino in Singapore. It was barely 1-month ago that the Government of Singapore announced Las Vegas Sands as one of two winners for Singapore’s first integrated resorts. The other winner, Genting International and Star Cruises, hadn’t even submitted its proposal.

Singapore Casino Under Construction

Today, Las Vegas Sands’ integrated resort – Marina Bay Sands – is boasted with 2,561-room hotel and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa, meanwhile, boasted a Universal Studios theme park, Adventure Cove Water Park, and S.E.A. Aquarium, which includes the world’s largest ocenarium.



{ 8 } Justin Bieber Unknown, Kim Kardashian Had Just 856 Friends

On June 29, 2006 – Justin Bieber was an undiscovered innocent 12-year-old singer wannabe. It would take another year for an American talent manager, Scott Samuel “Scooter” Braun, to “accidently” click and watch his video on YouTube, and eventually helped him to stardom. Kim Kardashian, meanwhile, had just 856 friends – on her MySpace page.

Twelve Year Old Justin Bieber

Today, Justin Bieber is not only one of the richest kids in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$200 million, he’s also a badass who has tattoos all over his body and do drugs as if consuming hamburgers. Publicity hungry Kim Kardashian has 27 million Facebook and 38 million Twitter followers today, not to mention having posed naked numerous times.



{ 9 } Facebook Hadn’t Opened To Public, Limited To Students Only

On June 29, 2006 – Harvard University psychology student Mark Zuckerberg was still developing his Facebook after purchased the domain roughly a year earlier for US$200,000. Facebook wasn’t available to public yet and only universities and high schools’ students could sign up. Of course, Zuckerberg wasn’t a public figure, let alone a billionaire.

2006 Facebook - Mark Zuckerberg Page Profile

The network was extended beyond educational institutions to anyone with a registered email address only on September 2006. Yahoo and Google offered around US$2 billion for Facebook but Zuckerberg refused to sell. It would take Facebook another year in July 2007 to reach 30 million registered users. Today, Facebook has 1.5 billion monthly active users while Zuckerberg is a father and worth US$45.5 billion.



{ 10 } Najib Razak Hadn’t Become Billionaire Yet

On June 29, 2006 – Najib Razak was still an innocent Deputy Prime Minister who hadn’t done anything extraordinary except on allegations of racism, oppression, suppression and corruption. It would take another 4-month for the world to realize that the son of Razak was somehow involved in the murder of Mongolian Altantuyaa Shaariibuugiin.

Altantuya-Shaariibuu Murder - Najib Razak and Razak Baginda Inset

Today, former premier Mahathir Mohamad is crying, whining and bitching about picking up a wrong successor (again) after the now Prime Minister Najib Razak is allegedly mismanaged taxpayers money to the tune of RM42 billion on his pet project 1MDB, not to mention RM2.6 billion found on his private banking account, to which the prime minister doesn’t care to explain.


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