Quantitative Easing, Is the ECB Ready for This?

So far, the European Central Bank has renounced to the implementation of quantitative easing in order to boost liquidity in the open market. But why the ECB is more focused on lifting bank lending instead of using unconventional measures? Moreover, how long it may take for the bank to acknowledge the necessity of quantitative easing?

At Trading Economics, we think that the main reason behind the ECB reluctance to implement quantitative easing is the involved risk with this strategy. In fact, the influence of quantitative easing on the economy is very controversial at least since it is very difficult to assess how much money supply is needed to boost credit markets and for how long those measures should be implemented. Also, we should not forget that the ability of new money to boost incomes depends on its velocity”. In fact, institutions expecting further deterioration of the economy may simply put the capital obtained from selling treasuries into deposits instead of investing them. Moreover, there is no example of a country on which quantitative easing have had a significant effect. The only economy in recent years to have tried its full-scale version for a significant period was Japan and a lot of economists argue that quantitative easing was not a factor behind the liquidity boost.

Looking further, there are some specific factors in the Euro Area itself which can question the influence of unconventional measures on the economy. Banks play a major role in distributing credit in Europe, not securities as in anglo-saxon world. What’s more, there are some limitations on buying private assets as the market is thin and poorly distributed throughout the economy. In addition, the ECB cannot use quantitative easing like United Kingdom or United States as it doesn’t have the common bonds and it would be very difficult to determine, which of its 16 governments' bonds it should buy.

Anna Fedec, contact@tradingeconomics.com
3/24/2009 8:54:33 AM