“The Courage to Normalize Monetary Policy”

Stephen Roach kommentiert die Politik der Notenbanken bei Project Syndicate. Er denkt, es wäre noch möglich, die Geldpolitik zu ändern und auch höchste Zeit. Sonst wäre die nächste Finanzkrise unabwendbar. Vermutlich ist sie das ohnehin schon. Der Ruf kommt zu spät:

  • “Three cheers for central banks! (…) I applaud the US Federal Reserve’s long-overdue commitment to the normalization of its policy rate and balance sheet. I say the same for the Bank of England, and for the European Central Bank’s grudging nod in the same direction. The risk, however, is that these moves may be too little too late.” bto: interessant. Denn normalerweise lautet das Argument doch, dass es sehr gefährlich ist, das Geld zu verteuern. Siehe heute Morgen.
  • “Central banks’ unconventional monetary policies (…) was an emergency operation, to say the least. With their traditional policy tools all but exhausted, the authorities had to be exceptionally creative in confronting the collapse in financial markets and a looming implosion of the real economy. Central banks, it seemed, had no choice but to opt for the massive liquidity injections known as quantitative easing‘.”bto: Das stimmt sicherlich. Allerdings darf man nie vergessen, dass es auch die Notenbanken waren, die uns in die Krise geführt haben!
  • This strategy did arrest the free-fall in markets. But it did little to spur meaningful economic recovery. The G7 economies (the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy) have collectively grown at just a 1.8% average annual rate over the 2010-2017 post-crisis period. That is far short of the 3.2% average rebound recorded over comparable eight-year intervals during the two recoveries of the 1980s and the 1990s.” bto: was auch daran liegt, dass das Wachstum in den 80-/90ern durch die noch deutlich positivere Wirkung der Schulden verzerrt wurde. Hinzu kommen bessere Bevölkerungsdynamik und Produktivitätsentwicklung.
  • Unfortunately, central bankers misread the efficacy of their post-2008 policy actions. (…) they doubled down on the cocktail of zero policy rates and balance-sheet expansion. (…) central banks’ combined asset holdings in the major advanced economies (the US, the eurozone, and Japan) expanded by $8.3 trillion over the past nine years, from $4.6 trillion in 2008 to $12.9 trillion in early 2017.” bto: Es genügt eben, um den Infarkt zu verhindern, aber nicht um die Genesung herzustellen.
  • Over the same nine-year period, nominal GDP in these economies increased by just $2.1 trillion. That implies a $6.2 trillion injection of excess liquidity – the difference between the growth in central bank assets and nominal GDP – that was not absorbed by the real economy and has, instead been sloshing around in global financial markets, distorting asset prices across the risk spectrum.” bto: Oder es blieb im Bankensystem stecken.
  • Normalization is all about a long-overdue unwinding of those distortions. Monetary authorities have only grudgingly accepted this. Today’s generation of central bankers is almost religious in its commitment to inflation targeting – even in today’s inflationless world.” bto: Da denke ich nach wie vor, dass das die Notenbanker wissen. Sie wollen Inflation aber unbedingt um Schulden/Forderungen zu entwerten.
  • Normalization should not be viewed as an inflation-dependent operation. Below-target inflation is not an excuse for a long and drawn-out normalization. In order to rebuild the policy arsenal for the inevitable next crisis or recession, a prompt and methodical restoration of monetary policy to pre-crisis settings is far preferable.” bto: Das Argument kennen wir. Es geht darum, die Munition zu haben für die Fortsetzung der Krisenbekämpfung. Nur darum.
  • A failure to do this was, in fact, precisely the problem during the last pre-crisis period, in the early 2000s. The Fed committed the most egregious error of all. In the aftermath of the bursting of the dotcom bubble in early 2000, and with fears of a Japan scenario weighing heavily on the policy debate, it opted for an incremental normalization strategy (…) Yet it was precisely during that period when increasingly frothy financial markets were sowing the seeds of the disaster that was shortly to follow.” bto: Und die nächste Blase wird das alles in den Schatten stellen. Inklusive des Platzens.
  • In the current period, the Fed has outlined a strategy that does not achieve balance sheet-normalization until 2022-2023 at the earliest – 2.5-3 times as long as the ill-designed campaign of the mid-2000s. In today’s frothy markets, that’s asking for trouble. In the interest of financial stability, there is a compelling argument for much speedier normalization (…).” bto: Edwards (heute Morgen) würde wohl sagen, dass der Zeitpunkt, das gefahrlos zu tun, schon lange hinter uns liegt.
  • Independent central banks were not designed to win popularity contests. Paul Volcker knew that when he led the charge against raging inflation in the early 1980s. But the approach taken by his successors, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, was very different – allowing financial markets and an increasingly asset-dependent economy to take charge of the Fed. (…) With more than $6 trillion of excess liquidity still sloshing around in global financial markets, that courage cannot be found soon enough.” bto: richtig, aber zu spät.

→ Project Syndicate: “The Courage to Normalize Monetary Policy”, 26. September 2017