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Since the “Great Recession” of 2007-09, the world’s major central banks have kept short-term interest rates at near-zero levels. In the United States, even after the Federal Reserve’s recent increases, short-term rates remain below 1%, and long-term interest rates on major government bonds are similarly low. Moreover, major central banks have supported markets at a record level by buying up huge amounts of debt and holding it.

The questions:

  • Why not the short-term interest rates?
  • Why not the near-zero levels?
  • Why not the long-term interest rates?
  • Why not the major central banks?
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Short-term interests rates doesn't need an article because it's not talking about specific short-term interest rates since there is only one short-term interest rates. This is the same for long-term interest rates.

Near-zero levels doesn't need an article either there are no specific near-zero levels.

Major centeral banks doesn't need an article because there are no specific major central banks, just major central banks as a whole.

  • there is only one short-term interest rate." but it says short-term interest rates, you mean short-term interest rate is kind of a name? Lets say each bank got an employee called John, then we would say, "Since the “Great Recession” of 2007-09, the world’s major central banks have kept Johns at near-zero levels"? "Major central banks" isn't this specific enough? Out of all the central banks we talk about one particular kind of banks, major banks. – whowhenhow Aug 31 '17 at 1:16
  • @whowhenhow I meant rates, I fixed it now. As for the “major central banks”, there are no group A of major central banks and group B of major central banks. – cherryblossom Aug 31 '17 at 11:43
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The first phrase needs an article because it is attached to a singular noun not a plural one.

In

the world’s major central banks

the article "the" goes with "world". It's only about the major central banks of one world! It would be fine to say

Since the “Great Recession” of 2007-09, major central banks

The other phrases are about plural nouns (levels, rates, banks). Plural nouns can be preceded by "the" but they don't have to be and "the" would change the meaning.

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