Die einzige Möglichkeit

TOKIO – Was sollten Zentralbanken unternehmen, wenn Politiker offenbar nicht in der Lage sind zu handeln? Bislang sind sie bereitwillig in die Bresche gesprungen und haben in dem Versuch, den Kurs krisengeschüttelter Volkswirtschaften zu beeinflussen neue und zunehmend unkonventionelle Wege beschritten. Aber wie können wir feststellen, wann Zentralbanken ihre Grenzen überschreiten? Wann wird aus Kühnheit Tollkühnheit?

Bei einem Konjunkturabschwung können Zentralbanken eine wichtige Funktion erfüllen. Zinssenkungen können die Kreditaufnahme ausweiten und somit die Ausgaben für Investitionen und Konsum mehren. Zentralbanken können ebenfalls eine wichtige Funktion übernehmen, wenn Finanzmärkte einfrieren. Durch das Angebot, großzügige Kredite gegen Sicherheiten zu vergeben „verflüssigen“ sie Aktiva und bewahren Banken davor, Darlehen oder Wertpapiere zu Spottpreisen zu veräußern. Ausgehend von einer derartigen Absicherung der Liquidität können Banken illiquide langfristige Kredite vergeben oder andere illiquide finanzielle Vermögenswerte halten.

Insofern als diese unkonventionelle Geldpolitik – einschließlich verschiedener Formen der quantitativen Lockerung sowie Ankündigungen, die Zinsen weiter auf niedrigem Niveau zu belassen – diesen Funktionen dient, mag sie gerechtfertigt sein.

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