Il Grande Alleggerimento

BRUXELLES – A più di tre anni dalla crisi finanziaria scoppiata nel 2008, chi fa di più per realizzare la ripresa economica, l’Europa o gli Stati Uniti? La Federal Reserve ha completato il secondo giro del cosiddetto “quantitative easing”, ossia l’alleggerimento quantitativo, mentre la Banca Centrale europea ha sparato due colpi dalla sua grande pistola, la cosiddetta operazione di rifinanziamento a lungo termine (ORLT), fornendo più di mille miliardi di euro (1.3 mila miliardi di dollari) di finanziamento a basso costo per tre anni alle banche della zona euro.

Per qualche tempo, si è sostenuto che la Fed si stesse dando più da fare per stimolare l’economia, perché, utilizzando il 2007 come punto di riferimento, ha ampliato il suo bilancio proporzionalmente più di quanto fatto dalla BCE. Ma la BCE ora ha recuperato. Il suo bilancio ammonta a circa 2.8 mila miliardi, vicino al 30% del PIL della zona euro, rispetto al bilancio della Fed di circa il 20% del PIL statunitense.

Tuttavia tra i due c’è una differenza qualitativa che è più importante della taglia dei rispettivi bilanci: la Fed compra quasi esclusivamente titoli privi di rischio (come le obbligazioni del governo americano), mentre la BCE ha acquistato (quantità molto minori di) titoli rischiosi, a causa dei quali il mercato si stava prosciugando. Inoltre la Fed concede pochissimi prestiti alle banche, laddove la BCE ha fatto prestiti di quantità enormi alle banche deboli (che non avrebbero potuto ottenere finanziamenti dal mercato). In breve, l’alleggerimento quantitativo non è la stessa cosa dalla facilitazione del credito, il cosiddetto “credit easing”.

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