Quantitative easing – easy solutions won’t work!

Sorry to say but this one won’t work either. If the Government is a net purchaser of Government bonds (what they sell less what they buy is negative) then they are indeed increasing the cash available for purchasing other assets. Let us assume that the £75bn of Government purchases over the next few months does indeed result in a net inflow, what will happen to this cash? Will it indeed result in greater lending to consumers and corporates?

The problem is that there are too many ways that this cash can be employed without lending to consumers and corporates increasing. Government bonds are liquid – selling them is quick and easy. If the problem facing banks was that they needed to realise cash from liquid investments and couldn’t then this form of quantitative easing would solve the issue. Unfortunately the issue for banks is the extent of their non-liquid investments, so called level 2 and level 3 assets. Level 1 assets can always be sold and turned into cash.

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