A further easing

In the light of the continuing recession that, according to the Bank of England, “appears to have been deeper than previously thought”, the Monetary Policy Committee has decided to increase narrow money through an additional £50 billion of ‘quantitative easing’. This will involve extending “its programme of purchases of government and corporate debt to a total of £175 billion, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves. The Committee expects the announced programme to take another three months to complete. The scale of the programme will be kept under review.”

This decision took markets by surprise. Does this mean that the outlook for the economy is bleaker than most people expect? Why does the MPC feel that the original £125 billion of quantitative easing is insufficient? What will determine the effectiveness of the additional £50 billion increase in narrow money? The articles below look at the issues.

Bank of England Maintains Bank Rate at 0.5% and Increases Size of Asset Purchase Programme by £50 Billion to £175 Billion Bank of England News Release (6/8/09)
Bank pumps in another £50bn to aid green shoots of recovery Guardian (6/8/09)
Quantitative easing: questions and answers Guardian (6/8/09)
How much money has been pumped into the British economy? Guardian (6/8/09)
Bank of England pumps another £50 billion into economy ITN News (YouTube) (6/8/09)
Bank pumps £50bn into economy BBC News (video) (6/8/09)
Bank policy ‘not fully effective’ BBC Today Programme (audio) (6/8/09)
Are the banks lending enough? BBC News (video) (4/8/09)
Is quantitative easing working? BBC News (6/8/09)
QE: More to do? Stephanomics: BBC blog (6/8/09)
What RBS’s results say about QE Peston’s picks: BBC blog (7/8/09)
Bank wants extra £50bn for ‘fragile’ economy Independent (7/8/09)
David Prosser: Have MPC members lost their nerve? Independent (7/8/09)
The Bank of England thinks the credit crunch is far from over: Edmund Conway Telegraph (6/8/09)
Bank split over money injection BBC News (19/8/09)


  1. Why did the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee feel that it was necessary to increase the money supply further through the purchase of an additional £50 billion of assets?
  2. With the use of a diagram, explain how the effect of the increase in money supply will depend on the nature of the demand for money?
  3. What will determine the size of the money multiplier effect resulting from the increased asset purchases?