Animal Crossing’s stalk market is the only economic indicator you need right now

The twists and turns of the game’s fictional market have captivated real-life analysts.

April 30, 2020

Big news from Fed Chairman Tom Nook: Last week, the Bank of Nook announced that it planned to slash interest rates in Animal Crossing: New Horizons from .5% to .05%.

Animal Crossing’s 12m players were left scrambling. As one Redditor — channeling the meme-ified words of Joe Exotic — put it: “I’m never going to financially recover from this.”

Yes, Tom Nook is a raccoon, and yes, he runs the main store in the game’s pastel-hued central village, but Nook’s interest rates are a big deal in the Nintendo Switch universe.

Nook controls the game’s main currency — bells — and just like so much else in Animal Crossing, his financial decisions are mirroring our own reality.

The real Fed said Wednesday that US interest rates would remain near zero “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events.”

Forget gold: Maybe it’s time to stalkpile turnips

There are 2 main commodities in Animal Crossing: tarantulas and turnips. Tarantula farming is a nice scheme, but the real speculation is happening on the stalk market — the pricing system for homegrown turnips, overseen by an orange boar named Daisy Mae.

Sell your turnips at the right time, and you’ll be ringing in scores of bells. Wait too long, and they all rot.

The twists and turns of the fictional market have captivated real-life media outlets.

News stories have attempted to uproot the secrets of turnip pricing, and the crowd-sourced Turnip Calculator is guiding people through downturns.

New Horizons is giving the financial sector a run for its bells

But then again, the Animal Crossing economy is not a perfect mirror of our own.

As the Financial Times reported, Chairman Nook cut interest rates for different reasons than America’s financial overlords — basically, Nook was trying to crack down on time-traveling speculators who were trying to rig the banking system (long story).

But in some ways, the Nookverse has us beat. In Animal Crossing, mortgages are interest-free, and transportation to and from the game’s patchwork of islands is subsidized for the poorest users.

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