The European Central Bank Essay

1410 Words Nov 6th, 2015 6 Pages
oday the European Central Bank (ECB) launches its long-awaited programmed of quantitative easing (or QE), adding lots of public debt to the private kind it has already been buying. Its monthly purchases will rise from around €13 billion ($14 billion) to €60 billion until at least September 2016. The ECB is just the latest central bank to jump on board the QE bandwagon. Most rich-economy central bankers began printing money to buy assets during the
Great Recession, and a few, like the Bank of Japan, are still at it. But what exactly is quantitative easing, and how is it supposed to work?
Central banks are responsible for keeping inflation in check. Before the financial crisis of
2008-09 they managed that by adjusting the interest rate at which banks borrow overnight. If firms were growing nervous about the future and scaling back on investment, the central bank would reduce the overnight rate. That would reduce banks ' funding costs and encourage them to make more loans, keeping the economy from falling into recession. By contrast, if credit and spending were getting out of hand and inflation was rising then the central bank would raise the interest rate. When the crisis struck, big central banks like the Fed and the Bank of England slashed their overnight interest-rates to boost the economy. But even cutting the rate as far as it could go, to almost zero, failed to spark recovery. Central banks therefore began experimenting with other tools to encourage banks to pump money…

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