The Great Debate UK

The quantitative easing conundrum


adriankidd2- Adrian Kidd is financial planner at Unleash Advice. He was voted 50th Most Influential IFA in the UK by Professional Adviser magazine 2008. The opinions expressed are his own.-

The Bank of England tells us that their 75 billion pound quantitative easing programme will start the banks lending again (despite the banks saying that they are already lending, this is not strictly true). The programme works by the Bank buying securities from the banks and then this money can be loaned to consumers. The question is, does and will this work? Is 75 billion pounds enough?

The answer thus far is that we do not know yet, just as we do not know if the series of aggressive rate cuts have started to take effect. It usually takes around 12-18 months for an interest-rate hike or cut to be noticed in the monetary systems, but as the cuts were regular and steep they may filter through quicker than normal.

Quantitative easing usually happens when base rates are at or close to zero since interest rate cuts can effectively go no lower. The last time we saw quantitative easing was in Japan in the 1990s. Analysts said it stopped their economy from worsening, although it can be argued that Japan has taken 15 years or so to recover from this and that perhaps we are the next Japan (very low rates for a long period of time with little place to manoeuvre on fiscal and monetary policy).