Thiel Says ‘Real Bubble’ Is in Government Bonds, Negative Rates

  • Billionaire investor says what’s needed is economic growth
  • Trump question from audience cut off at panel in Berlin

Billionaire investor and Facebook Inc. board member Peter Thiel said government bond yields and negative interest rates are signs of an asset bubble that reflect the slowing of technological change.

Thiel, speaking in German on a panel at the Finance Ministry in Berlin on Wednesday, said he doesn’t see a bubble in technology companies and startups. Negative-rate policies by central banks indicate a lack of attractive investment options and “show us that we don’t have ideas for a better future,” he said.

“If there is a bubble today, then it’s a bubble in government bonds, in negative interest rates -- that’s the real bubble,” Thiel said. What’s needed is economic growth, in part because “politics only works when there’s growth,” he said.

Thiel, the libertarian-leaning Silicon Valley venture capitalist who co-founded PayPal, recently showed up as a California delegate for Donald Trump. When someone in the audience tried to ask about Thiel’s support for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, German Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn cut off the question.

“I’m not a politician,” Thiel said. “There are a whole series of problems that must be solved by politicians or that maybe aren’t being solved.”

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