The Global Scale of Quantative Easing.
Leading central banks now own more than £18 trillion in government bonds and other assets, an increase of more than 50% on pre-pandemic levels. This is an eye-watering expansion from the financial crash more than a decade ago. Since the start of the pandemic, the US Federal Reserve’s (the Fed) balance sheet has more than doubled to $8tn (£5.9tn). The European Central bank has total assets worth more than €8tn (£6.8tn), the Bank of Japan has about 722tn yen (£4.8tn), while the UK has doubled its QE programme to £895bn.
Despite the flood of cheap money, more than a decade of meagre growth has followed the 2008 crisis, as Quantative Easing only succeeded in pumping up asset prices – benefiting owners of shares and property most. However, the post-2008 recovery was sapped by governments launching damaging austerity policies, while central bankers argue Quantative Easing helped avoid worse job losses.