Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Excess Liquidity

Ian Campbell, on breakingviews.com, has a nice statement of a view I have had for a while.
in their anti-deflationary fervour, central banks may be creating more money than depressed economies require. The surplus creates "excess liquidity" - which may be feeding a new series of stock, commodity, property and bond bubbles...

Sebastian Becker, an economist with Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, defines excess liquidity as money supply that is surplus to the needs of real economic activity, and therefore free to be invested in financial assets. Becker combines monetary growth figures for the US, Japan, the eurozone, the UK and Canada and finds excess liquidity - measured as a rising stock of money to GDP - in these economies is now being created more rapidly than in the late 1990s stock-market bubble, or during the subsequent house price boom.
Excess liquidity is a really hard thing to estimate, as it is the difference between two really big numbers: the supply of money, and the economy's demand for money. But this really is a Goldilocks situation: you want the money supply to be just right for economic needs. If, perhaps because you are worried about the banking system's access to liquidity, you supply too much, then it is just going to be invested in financial assets, creating a bubble. Are we, I wonder, in the early phases of the first post Crunch bubble?

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