Friday, November 21, 2008

UK money supply growing at 15 percent

There is something I just don't understand; if there is a credit crunch, why is the money supply growing so rapidly?

To be fair to the Bank of England, it did address this issue in the most recent inflation report:

"Although headline measures of money and credit growth have remained broadly unchanged over the past year, that conceals a much weaker picture once particular borrowing transactions, undertaken by financial companies specialising in intermediating between banks, are excluded."

However, I don't find this answer very reassuring. What do they mean by "particular borrowing transactions, undertaken by financial companies specialising in intermediating between banks"? Are they saying that this money creation isn't really money. If so, why not?

The issue becomes even more mysterious when one considers that these "particular borrowing transactions" have to be really huge in order to create 15 percent monetary growth, while co-existing with a credit crunch.

Ultimately, this 15 percent monetary growth leads to one of two really unpleasant conclusions. Either we are heading for an upsurge in inflation because "there is too much money chasing too few goods". Alternatively, there is something really nasty and untransparent lurking in our financial system. We don't know what it is, but we know what it does. It creates huge amounts of loans between banks, appears in the monetary numbers, and yet does nothing to affect the real sector.

If I had a choice, I think would prefer to have more inflation than another ugly surprise jumping out of the financial system.


  1. Look at this

  2. It might be just a question of definition.

    For example, M4 includes
    * sterling deposits, including certificates of deposit;

    * commercial paper, bonds, FRNs and other instruments of up to and including five years’ original maturity issued by UK MFIs;

    So if a lot of five year bonds have come up for redemption, and risk averse investors refused to roll it over to new five year bonds, preferring instead to have short term bonds or current accounts, all of a sudden M4 increases.

    That's why I cheerfully ignore totally arbitrary concepts like M4. Why is the cut off at five years? Why not one? Or ten?

  3. Obama has announced special money for lower and middle class citizens.

    Grants, Loans, and Cash Assistance for Lower and Middle Class

  4. Are the MFIs really that big?

  5. Pumping up the money supply should melt a credit freeze. The Fed chairman faces huge obstacles
    in trying to restart the credit engine and get maxed out consumers spending again. Given the
    scale of the Fed's interventions, it should be weakening the value of the dollar and setting
    us on a course toward inflation. Inflation happens when prices rise. Deflation happens when
    they fall. In this December's dark economy, falling prices for gasoline, cars, and clothes and
    just about anything would seem like a silver lining.