Money market funds in Europe are fighting to avoid "breaking the buck," which could trigger huge outflows from the sector.
These funds typically invest in cash-equivalent assets, like high-quality short-term corporate debt or government debt. For investors, the advantage they have over stocks is that they're a safe place to park cash. You can almost never lose money in a money market fund.
In return you'll get modest but positive returns, with very low risk. Crucially, they strenuously seek to avoid "breaking the buck" — or returning less to investors than they put in.
Unfortunately, with the European Central Bank (ECB) having imposed a negative deposit rate of -0.2% on reserves held at the bank, this task has become harder than ever. Investors who don't want to lose money are now forced to withdraw it and figuratively hide it under a mattress until the negative interest rate era is over. That could reduce the amount of cash available for companies and governments to borrow (and spend), thus further crippling Europe's fragile economic recovery
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