Thursday, December 1, 2011

Were Yesterday's Actions by Central Banks, a Way to get "Backdoor QE"? Tony Crescenzi Says Yes

The headline has a bit of a caveat ... if the dollar swap lines are utilized than Crescenzi says yes. (Obviously if the dollar swap lines are not utilized than there no expansion of the Fed balance sheet)  PIMCO's Crescenzi explains:

Keep in mind that any use of the Fed’s swap facility expands the Fed’s monetary base: all dollars, no matter where they are deposited, whether it be Kazakhstan, Japan, or Mexico, wind up back in an American bank. This means that any time a foreign central bank engages in a swap with the Federal Reserve, the Fed will create new money in order to make the swap. Use of the Fed’s liquidity swap line in late 2008 was the main cause of a surge in the Fed’s monetary base at that time. The peak for the swap line was about $600 billion in December 2008. Some observers will therefore say that the swap line is a backdoor way to engage in more quantitative easing.

Interesting, I had not thought of it that way.  

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