Tag: government policy

It’s not just the roads in the UK that were frozen, as the Bank of England unsurprisingly decided to keep interest rates frozen at 0.5%. Furthermore, many economists do not expect to see interest rates increase for some time. Roger Bootle has predicted that rates could stay low for up to 5 years and this will contribute to a continuing weak pound and spell further trouble for importers and their customers.

The Bank of England also left its money-creation programme of ‘quantitative easing’ unchanged, but next month it will have to decide whether to extend quantitative easing beyond the limits of £200 billion that it set back in November.

Whilst we are supposedly beginning our economic recovery – with 2009 quarter 4 figures showing the first rise in output since the first quarter of 2008 – its strength remains questionable. Indeed, the rise in output in the last three months of 2009 was a mere 0.1%. So how important are interest rates in helping to sustain the recovery? Can they really pull us out of the recession by remaining at just 0.5%? Read the articles below which look at freezing interest rates and quantitative easing.

FTSE unaffected by interest rate decision In the News (7/1/10)
Freeze on UK interest rates BBC News (7/1/10)
Bank of England may raise interest rates as soon as March, leading economist predicts Telegraph (7/1/10)
Interest rates and quantitative easing on hold Guardian, Larry Elliott (7/1/10)
Bank of England extends quantitative easing by £25bn – but is it enough? Guardian, Larry Elliott (5/11/10)
Questions for QE BBC News blogs, Stephanomics, Stephanie Flanders (7/1/10)
Interest rates could stay low for 5 years, says Bootle BBC News (7/1/10)


  1. How do low interest rates contribute to a weak pound? How does this affect exporters and importers?
  2. What is quantitative easing? Should the QE programme be extended? What are the arguments for and against this in terms of economic recovery and public debt?
  3. How much of an impact do you think the recession will have on government policy over the next few months?
  4. Explain the transmission mechanisms by which changes in interest rates affect the goods market.
  5. If the Bank of England were not independent, what do you think would be happening to interest rates?

The post below considered the pound and now we look closer at some other international currencies and their movements. The pound has fallen, but what about the euro and the US dollar? What about the Japanese yen and the Australian and New Zealand dollars? How are the different currencies inter-related and how do they affect the various macroeconomic objectives? The following articles look at some of the recent movements in currencies. Consider these in relation to economic theory about exchange rates and government policy.

Pound plumbs five-month euro low BBC News (21/9/09)
Australian, N.Z. Dollars fall for third day as commodities drop Bloomberg (21/9/09)
Dollar ready to rise as greenback fades Brisbane Times (21/9/09)
Pound slips on Bank of England warning Times Online (21/9/09)
Canada’s dollar declines for second day on drop in commodities Bloomberg (21/9/09)
Yen firms versus European majors, hitting a 2-day high against pound Forex news (18/9/09)

Data on exchange rates can be found at:
Statistical Interactive Database – interest & exchange rates data Bank of England


  1. What have been the general trends in some of the main international currencies?
  2. The pound has fallen against the euro and the dollar, but what does this mean for the UK economy? And what about the USA and the rest of Europe?
  3. In the current climate, consider whether a fixed or floating exchange rate would be better for the economy.
  4. How do changes in exchange rates affect the government’s macroeconomic objectives?