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Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis

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Banking Essentials - Part I

This pathway will walk us through the basics of banks, starting with some of the different types and their main functions, then starting to look at the regulation faced by the banks, both before and after the Global Financial Crisis.

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is the act of distributing false information about something being more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

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Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis

In this video, Max discusses the cost-of-living crisis currently enveloping the UK. He examines its impact on households as well as the overall economy.

CSR and Sustainability in Financial Services

In the first video of this two-part video series, Elisa introduces us to sustainability. She begins by looking at the difference between sustainability and corporate social responsibility, two terms that can be easily confused.

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QE and the Inflation and Exchange Rate Myths

QE and the Inflation and Exchange Rate Myths

Frances Coppola

25 years: Economic commentary & banking

In Frances's second video on the mythology of Quantitative Easing (QE), she debunks common misunderstandings regarding inflation, exchange rates, and liquidity before explaining what QE actually is.

In Frances's second video on the mythology of Quantitative Easing (QE), she debunks common misunderstandings regarding inflation, exchange rates, and liquidity before explaining what QE actually is.

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QE and the Inflation and Exchange Rate Myths

9 mins 3 secs

Key learning objectives:

  • Identify the myths surrounding QE and inflation

  • Identify the myth regarding exchange rates

  • Outline the effect of QE on liquidity in the repo market

Overview:

In part 2 of this series, Frances challenges a wide range of myths surrounding QE and inflation, exchange rates and liquidity. Overall, QE doesn’t significantly raise inflation, as shown in the Eurozone case, QE has little effect on the exchange rate, unless investors are being irrational about inflation, and QE does have the effect of providing liquidity to the market.

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Summary

What is quantitative easing?

  • Short-term central bank interventions in markets are probably not QE, even if they involve large-scale buying of assets
  • But, if the buying is persistent, and is intended for a stated macroeconomic purpose, such as holding an exchange rate peg or meeting an inflation target, then it could be QE

What was the myth surrounding QE and inflation?

Many people feared that additional money created by QE would cause runaway inflation. Some economists warned that high levels of bank reserves due to QE would flow out into the economy via excessive bank lending, triggering high inflationary pressures. Hence, each time the Federal Reserve announced a new round of QE, inflation fears actually raised the yields on government bonds.

However, we now know that QE doesn’t significantly raise inflation. The ECB’s QE, is successfully depressing yields on Eurozone assets, yet inflation in the Eurozone remains stubbornly below target.

What is the myth regarding exchange rates?

It is believed that QE debases the currency. If the central bank is only buying assets denominated in its own currency, there should be little effect on the exchange rate unless investors are being irrational about inflation. QE simply exchanges one type of dollar for another.

There is a type of QE that specifically affects exchange rates. For example, when a central bank sells its own currency and buys assets denominated in a foreign currency, the exchange falls versus that currency. In fact, central banks often intervene in FX markets, buying and selling their own currencies to smooth out exchange rate fluctuations.

What is the effect of QE on liquidity in the repo market?

Big banks in the USA started to hoard reserves instead of lending them to other banks, hence the repo market became short of liquidity. To bring it down, the Federal Reserve bought large quantities of short-dated government bonds, paying for them with newly created money - in other words, a liquidity injection in the repo market.

QE does have the effect of providing liquidity to the markets, but that’s not really it's purpose. And it does depress interest rates, but it isn’t intended to prevent short-term interest rate spikes.

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Frances Coppola

Frances Coppola

Frances has spent 17 years working for assorted banks, retail and investment banks, and even a charity. During her banking career she designed risk management systems for Nat West, and financial & regulatory reporting systems for Midland Bank (now HSBC) and RBS Group. In 2019, she published a book on “people’s quantitative easing”.

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