Visualisation – decline in interest rates

There’s an interesting post at PTS Blog about a chart used in the WSJ to show the decline in interest rates. There are some issues with the visualisation but I think the bigger problem is with using a very selective dataset which may serve more to support the writer’s position rather than reflecting reality. I left some remarks on the blog but here’s a very rough-and-ready view of 3 banks’ rates using a longer time-frame. The past few months do show rapid decline, but set against a different starting point back in 2004, the overall drop is somewhat less significant than the original chart makes out.

Graph showing the rise and then fall of interest rates for the UK, Australian and European central banks from 2004-2008
Graph showing the rise and then fall of interest rates for the UK, Australian and European central banks from 2004-2008

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