Als er een einde komt aan het ‘goedkope geld’

LONDEN – Het vertrek van voorzitter Ben Bernanke bij de US Federal Reserve Board (de Fed, het federale stelsel van Amerikaanse centrale banken) heeft de speculaties aangewakkerd over wanneer en hoe de Fed en andere centrale banken hun enorme aankopen van langetermijnobligaties, ook wel bekend als ‘kwantitatieve versoepeling’, zullen afbouwen. Waarnemers duiken bovenop ieder nieuw economisch feit om het voortduren van deze programma's te voorspellen, of juist de versnelling van het einde ervan. Maar er moet meer aandacht worden besteed aan de invloed van de mogelijke uitkomsten op de verschillende economische spelers.

Er hoeft niet te worden getwijfeld aan de omvang van de kwantitatieve versoepeling. Sinds het begin van de financiële crisis hebben de Fed, de Europese Centrale Bank, de Bank of England en de Bank of Japan er gebruik van gemaakt om ruim $4bln aan extra liquiditeit in hun economieën te pompen. Als deze programma’s worden beëindigd, kunnen sommige overheden, opkomende landen en ondernemingen kwetsbaar blijken. Zij moeten zich dus goed voorbereiden.

Uit onderzoek van het McKinsey Global Institute blijkt dat de lagere rente de Amerikaanse en Europese overheden tussen 2007 en 2012 bijna $1,6 bln aan besparingen heeft opgeleverd. Deze meevaller heeft hogere overheidsuitgaven en minder bezuinigingen mogelijk gemaakt. Als de rente naar het niveau van 2007 zou terugkeren, zou de rente op de staatsschulden met 20% kunnen stijgen, bij voor het overige gelijkblijvende omstandigheden.

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