By Andy Mukherjee
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
The world's major central banks have long followed the same general flight path, guided by the economic winds of growth, inflation and financial markets. It has worked pretty well for policymakers in the United States, Europe, Japan, and the United Kingdom: moving together to tighten or loosen monetary policy makes things more predictable for citizens, businesses and investors. It also serves as buffer to any volatile currency movements, at least among developed economies. But six years after the worst recession in decades, this could be the year central bankers split off and - with some risk - go their own way.
At the beginning of 2014, many people were optimistic about the world economy. For the fifth straight year, it had seemed safe to declare the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis over and done with. This time is different: 2015 is likely to begin in a merited atmosphere of gloom.
So, that’s it. Seven years and $4.4 trillion later, the U.S. Federal Reserve will exit quantitative easing, despite what a few Fedsters have said about the possibility of QE4. Let’s remember that third sequels rarely, if ever, are satisfying, they tend to meet with shrugs from audiences, and don’t often include the original cast of characters. "Alien Resurrection" ring a bell? That’s what QE4 would be. But I digress.