QE者,负鼠也

纽黑文—欧洲央行可预见地加入了世界其他货币当局行列,开始了史上最大央行业务实验。到目前为止,一切都是那么熟悉。首先,央行将常规政策利率下降到可怕的“零下限”。但经济继续萎靡,而常规工具已经用尽,于是央行采取了非常规方法——量化宽松(QE)。

这一战略背后的理论很简单:央行无法让信用的价格进一步降低,转向了扩张信用的数量。隐含观点是这一从价格到数量调整的变化在作用上等同于增加货币政策宽松。因此,即使名义利率处于零下限,央行手里仍有武器。

但这些武器可适用于它的任务吗?对欧洲央行和日本银行来说,它们都面临可怕的经济和总物价水平的下行风险,这绝不是一个可以等闲视之的问题。对美国来说,它的量化宽松最终后果还有待观察,答案也仍然有待揭露。

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