A safe asset for Eurozone QE: A proposal
Luis Garicano, Lucrezia Reichlin 14 November 2014
The ECB seems to be edging towards QE, but faces a quandary on what to buy. This proposal suggests that the ECB buy ‘Safe Market Bonds’. These would be synthetic bonds formed by the senior tranches of EZ national bonds combined in GDP-weighted proportions. The ECB would merely announce the features of the synthetic bonds it will purchase. The market would create the bonds in response to this announcement, thus avoiding new EZ-level institutions or funds.
As Europe moves closer to deflation, the ECB is gradually inching towards outright quantitative easing (QE) – increasing the monetary base through purchases of government bonds (Draghi 2014). But undertaking such purchases confronts a problem. There is no Eurozone ‘government bond’ to purchase. Were the ECB to purchase the debt of all member countries, it would end up with a large amount of debt on its balance sheet, making it impossible for a country to default without triggering very large redistribution.
Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy
Eurozone QE, Safe Market Bonds, ECB, quantitative easing, unconventional monetary policy, diabolic loop, doom loop, sovereign debt, safe assets, savings glut, risk weights, bank capital
The role of corporate saving in global rebalancing
Philippe Bacchetta, Kenza Benhima 24 August 2014
Among the various explanations behind global imbalances, the role of corporate saving has received relatively little attention. This column argues that corporate saving is quantitatively relevant, and proposes a theory that is consistent with the stylised facts and useful for understanding the current phase of global rebalancing. The theory implies that, while the economic contraction originating in developed countries has pushed interest rates towards the zero lower bound, the recent growth slowdown in emerging countries could push them out of it.
The increase in global imbalances in the last decade posed a theoretical challenge for international macroeconomics. Why did some less-developed countries with a higher need for capital, like China, lend to richer countries? The inconsistency of standard open-economy dynamic models with actual global capital flows had already been stressed before (e.g. by Lucas 1990), but the sensitivity to this issue became more acute with increasing global imbalances. This stimulated the development of several alternative theoretical frameworks.
International finance International trade
interest rates, global imbalances, capital flows, saving, global crisis, credit constraints, savings glut, zero lower bound, corporate saving, global rebalancing
Lost in transmission
Heleen Mees 21 June 2011
With the US economy still faltering, some are suggesting it may be time for a third round of quantitative easing. This column explores the transmission mechanism of monetary policy and how it has broken down in recent years. It argues that, in this climate, the Fed would be wise to avoid another bond-buying programme.
The past decade has been characterised by record-low interest rates, which has given rise to a whole new batch of economic literature on global imbalances, or the so-called saving glut. What has attracted much less attention is the fact that – while US Treasury yields have dropped to an all time low – the yield on equity capital has actually risen.
Global crisis Monetary policy
US, global imbalances, quantitative easing, savings glut
The mystery of Chinese savings
Shang-Jin Wei 06 February 2010
What is the connection between China’s one-child policy and its savings glut? This column provides a pioneering explanation. China’s surplus of men has produced a highly competitive marriage market, driving up China’s savings rate and, therefore, global imbalances.
Much attention has been directed toward China’s high savings rate (Broda et al. 2009, Prasad 2009, Reisen 2009). Not only is the savings rate disproportionately high compared to virtually any other country, but it directly impacts China’s current account surplus and the US consumer debt and trade deficit. When national savings exceeds investment, the excess savings becomes China’s current account surplus.
Frontiers of economic research
global imbalances, China, savings glut