American dollar cut into shape of the United States

Wiens QE was het eigenlijk?

CAMBRIDGE – We kunnen gerust stellen dat de US Federal Reserve (de Fed, het federale stelsel van Amerikaanse centrale banken) tussen 1913 (toen de Fed werd opgericht) en het laatste deel van de jaren tachtig de enige speler op het wereldtoneel was als het ging om het aankopen van Amerikaanse staatsobligaties door de centrale banken. In die jaren bezat de Fed tussen de 12% en de 30% van de op de markt verhandelde Amerikaanse staatsobligaties (zie figuur), waarbij de naoorlogse piek zich voordeed toen de Fed probeerde de stagnerende Amerikaanse economie na de eerste scherpe stijging van de olieprijs in 1973 te schragen.

We leven niet langer in die door de VS beheerste wereld, waar de Fed de lakens uitdeelde en veranderingen in het monetair beleid van de Fed de liquiditeitsomstandigheden in eigen land, en voor een groot deel ook in het buitenland, krachtig beïnvloedden. Want al jaren vóór de mondiale financiële crisis – en vóórdat de term “QE” (quantitative easing, kwantitatieve versoepeling) een gevestigd begrip werd in het financiële lexicon – begon het bezit aan Amerikaanse staatsobligaties van buitenlandse centrale banken het aandeel van de Fed in te halen en vervolgens te overtreffen.

De aankoop van Amerikaanse staatsobligaties door buitenlandse centrale banken nam pas echt een hoge vlucht in 2003, jaren vóórdat de eerste ronde van de kwantitatieve versoepeling, of “QE1”, eind 2008 werd gelanceerd. Deze 'aanval' van de buitenlandse centrale banken – laten we het “QE0” noemen – werd geleid door de Chinese Volksbank. In 2006 (het hoogtepunt van de Amerikaanse huizenzeepbel) hadden buitenlandse officiële instellingen ongeveer een derde van de uitstaande Amerikaanse staatsobligaties in handen, ongeveer twee maal zo veel als de Fed. Aan de vooravond van QE1 was dat aandeel gestegen naar zo'n 40%.

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