Currencies and Crises by Paul Krugman

By Paul Krugman

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The Bank of England launched its programme of quantitative easing in March 2009. The purchase of nearly £200 billion of UK government gilts since then by the Bank’s Asset Purchase Facility (APF) has increased the size of the Bank’s balance sheet to three times its normal size: to levels not seen since the end of the Second World War or the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars. These purchases amount to some 14 per cent of GDP or well over 20 per cent of outstanding UK public net debt. The APF has operated with full indemnity from the Treasury, which receives all profits and will bear any losses.

7bp off medium-term yields and from a macro-finance yield curve some evidence to suggest that Japanese yields were 50bp lower than expected during QE. Recently released empirical estimates of the impact of the initial £125 billion of QE and then the full £200 billion (14 per cent of GDP) on UK gilt yields by Meier (2009) and then Joyce et al. 15 For the US, Gagnon et al. (2010) find that the $300 billion of US bond purchases, which amount to 2 per cent of GDP, resulted in falls of 90bp in US ten-year Treasuries.

Earlier work (see Bernanke et al. 7bp off medium-term yields and from a macro-finance yield curve some evidence to suggest that Japanese yields were 50bp lower than expected during QE. Recently released empirical estimates of the impact of the initial £125 billion of QE and then the full £200 billion (14 per cent of GDP) on UK gilt yields by Meier (2009) and then Joyce et al. 15 For the US, Gagnon et al. (2010) find that the $300 billion of US bond purchases, which amount to 2 per cent of GDP, resulted in falls of 90bp in US ten-year Treasuries.

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