Additional Quantitative Easing – Comments

Monday’s (August 9) Barron’s had an article titled “Time to Print, Print, Print.”

The article provides an overview of the concept of Quantitative Easing (QE) in the context of our current economic situation.

I don’t agree with many of its conclusions and insinuations, however.  In particular, the article seems overly positive on the idea of Quantitative Easing and its supposed positive effects, without providing significant discussion of its risks.

Quantitative Easing is an especially important concept now as I believe additional large-scale QE will continue to occur.  There are an array of risks embedded in such QE efforts.  Perhaps chief among these risks is the risk that excess “money-printing” poses to the currency.  The Barron’s article does acknowledge this by saying “Promiscuous growth in the money supply, of course, can both fan inflation and debase the currency.”  Although there has been virtually no commentary on the vulnerability of the US Dollar to substantial declines, I believe that such vulnerability does exist, as I discussed in the July 30 post.

Another large risk to QE efforts is that should QE prove successful in driving down interest rates, such a policy foments asset bubbles.  This is especially notable as many believe the housing bubble is but one example of an asset bubble that was caused by ultra-low interest rate policies.  My numerous posts concerning asset bubbles can be found under the “Bubbles (Asset)” category.  Asset Bubbles, and their future resolution, are an epic problem.

Most people fail to acknowledge the current existence of asset bubbles.  The Barron’s article seems to imply that no bubbles exist when it says “Damn the risks of triggering a bit of inflation and some modest investment bubbles.”

I will likely comment more upon the idea of QE once it is further implemented.

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SPX at 1083.61 as this post is written