Quantitative Easing: Welcome to the Hotel California
Posted: Friday, December 28, 2018

In their iconic song, “Hotel California,” the Eagles sum up the trap of living to excess with the paradoxical finish: “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” That couplet captures the dilemma facing the G4 central banks. The Federal Reserve (Fed), Bank of England (BOE), European Central Bank (ECB) and Bank of Japan (BOJ) are trying to reverse decade-long “Quantitative Easing” policies which staved off the global credit crisis but, if left too long in place, risk a global currency crisis. They recognize the need to unwind their asset purchases and restore policy to a normal setting. Unfortunately, the next recession may derail this overdue normalization, forcing the banks to resume asset purchases. Such an outcome could lead to a crisis of confidence in the G4 currencies as a store of value.

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