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This is the first Fed rate hike we'll read about on an iPhone
THIS week, the US Federal Reserve is widely expected to bite the bullet and hike rates.
If it does, the Fed will be doing something that it hasn't done since June 29, 2006 when it raised the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 5.25 per cent.
If it feels like the market has been waiting forever for the Fed to raise rates, it's because it actually has been forever, given everything that has happened in the last nine years.
Take a look at what the world was like in June 2006:
1. No one was using iPhones yet.
The first-generation iPhone was only released a year later in June 2007. In fact, the Nokia 1600 was one of the best-selling phones of 2006, with about 130 million units sold. The handset was cutting-edge stuff for its time, featuring a speaking clock that you could activate by pressing and holding the keypad's asterisk button - kind of like a really, really beta version of Siri.
2. Lehman Brothers still existed.
In 2006, the world was still in blithe ignorance of the sub-prime crisis that would gain momentum the following year, precipitating the collapse of several banks, the Occupy Wall Street movement and manbun-wearing anti-consumerist hipsters in Brooklyn. In 2008, Lehman Brothers, once the fourth-largest investment bank in the US, became its largest bankruptcy case in history, with at least US$639 billion in pre-filing assets.
3. Pluto was still a planet.
When the Fed hiked rates in June 2006, poor Pluto had no idea what was going to hit it (apart from maybe an asteroid, or something). Two months later, it was downgraded to "dwarf planet" status by the International Astronomical Union. RIP, planet Pluto, possibly more greatly missed than Lehman Brothers.
4. Winter was already coming.
By 2006, the first four books of George R R Martin's Translations of A Song of Ice and Fire series - eventually popularised by HBO as the Game of Thrones series - had already been written. The fourth book, A Feast for Crows, was published in 2005. Mr Martin would then take another six years to finish the fifth one in 2011. Since then, the final two volumes have not been published yet. In a way, nothing's changed since 2006. His fans were waiting then, and they're still waiting now. Less Comic-Con, more writing, George.
5. Oil was almost twice the price it is today.
Back in June 2006, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil hovered just around the US$70-mark. This week, it broke below US$35 for the first time since 2009, as part of an ongoing oil rout in which oil prices have tanked even harder than box-office turkey Basic Instinct 2. For what it's worth, this was a movie that the late Roger Ebert panned as "godawful", and it was released in - you guessed it - 2006.