An unusual way of monetary easing has become a favorite solution of most central bankers in the recent past. Lets take a look at the meaning of the word monetary easing before we discuss on those lines. Monetary Easing can be defined as an “Action by a central bank to reduce interest rates and boost money supply as a means to stimulate economic activity”. Precisely putting it, the actions taken by the RBI in the past few bi monthly meetings can be referred to as monetary easing.However, monetary easing can be bifurcated further into the ordinary(rate cut) based on macro economic indicators and the other being the unusual monetary easing used in adverse situations to get the economy moving. Few examples of unusual monetary easing can be US Quantitative Easing, Japan’s QE(Quantivative Easing) to revive their deflationary scenario and the most recent one being the ECB (European Central Bank) starting the Euro QE to revive its economy which will continue at least till Sept 2015.The move by the US Fed, ECB and Bank of Japan seems to be very similar and been done for very similar reasons but what they missed was the currencies they were dealing with were completely distinct, in value terms.
The best way of easing the monetary policy can be a rate cut. It was most certainly ruled out since Japan, US(0.25%) and Euro zone(0.05%) were all witnessing near zero interest rates from a long time. The measures taken by the above mentioned central banks were thus in the form of printing and putting in more cash in the system to revive the economy since all of them were out of options. But Denmark, decided not to go for QE at the time of slowdown ( although interest were near zero) but instead go for further rate cuts, making it an extraordinary monetary easing scenario.
This move created a problem in the economy instead of boosting growth. So what exactly did the Danish central bank do ? In January, looking at the economic slowdown, the Danish central bank decided to cut rates( which were already hovering near 0%). The central bank, instead of going for a QE, went in for 4 consecutive rate cuts since January thus leading to an interest rate of -0.75% which ultimately brought the bank deposit rates into the negative rate zone. On the other hand, the Govt of Denmark was paying the corporate companies an interest of 1% for advanced tax payments and prepaid tax payments if any. This made the bank deposits less attractive as compared to the tax payments. Companies usually enlist legions of lawyers and even move headquarters to minimize tax payments. In Denmark, they could be better off overpaying them. The companies started holding immense amount of money with the tax authorities since they were paying 1% on their advance payments. This started costing the Govt as well as leading to dilution of transmission effects of the monetary policy. The banks on the other hand were charging their corporate customers to hold cash in banks. This has led to a disastrous situation where the money is being moved out of the real economy which is supposed to be the other way round.
It created high costs for bank because of the low-interest rates in terms of lending business. The loan became cheap and the prices of the real estate started shooting up. All this can be related to the Gold monetization happening in India. If we are struggling to get the already existing gold reserves to the banking system, just imagine what can be the condition if money moving out of real economy is to be brought back in. Customers or general public on the other hand in Denmark are facing what people in India holding gold jewelry have been facing. A person holds gold with the bank on which they wont pay interest but instead take locker charges from them for keeping those safe. In the same context, Denmark citizens are facing similar problems on the cash side of it which is making them move away from the bank deposits. The customers are feeling like the following images in Denmark:
Entire situation has created immense problems for Denmark including the revival, the rising real estate prices, banks taking a hit on their profits and money moving out of the real economy. Although Denmark Govt has taken charge of the situation and are trying to come up with various legislations to make sure the economy can be insulated from these unexpected effects of monetary easing.
To sum up, such actions if continued by various central bankers, will result into tremendous decline in the global growth rate. The economic slowdown in the world, where the world economy is growing by mere 3-4%, is because of the attempt of the monetary policy to be made in such a way that it affects the world instead of having effects. Dr Rajan in his recent press conference gave an immensely important statement,
” The world economy can grow in a sustained manner only if the monetary policy of each country is designed with a view of facilitating trade in the entire world economy rather than with a mindset of affecting the various economies because of the mere reason of inter-dependencies”
The conclusion being that each country is different in its various aspects of the economy, which should be respected and the Central bank should work in tandem with the policies of the Central Govt and vice versa. Every Central Banker and the Govt should take lessons from this event that none of the two institutions can run without appropriate guidance from each other. Denmark was a case of non accommodative policy execution more than an extraordinary monetary easing.
Thank you 🙂