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#281226 - 7th Jan 2009 4:37pm Brown plans to print more money....

The Government may resort to printing extra money if interest rates keep falling.

It is being considered as a desperate measure if base rates fall so far that they cease to work as an economic lever.

Base rates are set to plunge tomorrow to the lowest level since the Bank of England was founded in 1694, with another big cut of at least half a point to 1.5 per cent or even lower.

Chancellor Alistair Darling and Bank of England governor Mervyn King are considering whether to embark on a new policy of expanding the money supply, or quantitative easing, sources today told the Evening Standard.

'We are looking at the issues,' a senior Treasury source told London's Evening Standard. 'No decisions have been taken.'

It would mean a historic retreat from the economic housekeeping rules that have held sway since Margaret Thatcher wrested control of the money supply in the Eighties in her crusade to drive out inflation.

Printing more money would release a flood of extra funds to buy assets, with the new cash filtering through to businesses and families.

It is aimed at preventing a sharp shrinkage in the money supply, a move that could prolong the recession.

A policy of printing more cash has never been openly practised in Britain. Economists see it as a potentially dangerous step that was unthinkable just a few months ago.

They recall that unchecked money supply was at the root of hyper-inflation in Argentina in the 70s and Germany in the 20s, but warn there may be no option.

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor, said: 'It would be a very dangerous course of action and if it went wrong there could be high inflation afterwards.

'But if we get into the dire straits of deflation then governments have no choice but to take drastic measures. These are policies for truly knife-edge situations.'

The Bank of Japan resorted to printing money when its interest rates hit zero at the beginning of the decade and the US Federal Reserve is currently tempted to copy the policy.

But Investec chief economist Philip Shaw said: 'We are sceptical that quantitative easing in the strict sense... will give the real economy a significant push, especially as this did not appear to have a material effect in Japan earlier this decade.'

Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics said: 'The Bank is likely initially to tread cautiously into such new territory.'

The Chancellor today warned that the recession is 'far from through' and hinted that radical new policies to hasten recovery may be needed. He said the Treasury and the Bank would need to work 'hand-in-hand' in future, casting a question mark over the Bank's independence.

'In the current climate, no responsible finance minister could say that's the job done, far from it,' he told the Financial Times. 'We are far from through this.'

Figures today brought more bad News. New car sales slumped again last month, dragging the total for last year down 11.3 per cent.

The boss of fashion retailer Next said the emergency VAT cut had failed to boost sales. Chief executive Simon Wolfson called it a 'missed opportunity' and said tax cuts would have been better.

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#281240 - 7th Jan 2009 5:13pm Re: Brown plans to print more money.... [Re: ]
Wench Offline

H4H County Volunteer
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Registered: 9th Aug 2008
Posts: 8616
Loc: Second Circle of Hell.
Can I put an order in now then??

I'll have £150,000 please Gord, don't mind what denomination fella happy
Sometimes Police Officers give more than just speeding tickets!

It’s hard to be fit as a fiddle when you’re shaped like a cello!

#281252 - 7th Jan 2009 5:43pm Re: Brown plans to print more money.... [Re: Wench]
Softy_Southerner Offline

Forum Guardian

Registered: 2nd May 2008
Posts: 4090
Loc: Back in Devon
This guy is turning into the biggest f*ckwit this country has ever known.
I fear for our future I really do unless someone gets a grip on things soon (and I don't mean 'call me Dave')

#281286 - 7th Jan 2009 7:10pm Re: Brown plans to print more money.... [Re: Softy_Southerner]
MissGuided Offline

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Registered: 18th Jul 2008
Posts: 9995
Loc: Back of the wardrobe
I don't know what you mean Softy - Dave is such a friendly, capable-looking chap....he reckons he could give pensioners more money by skimming off the NHS.

If they skim any more off Arrowe we'll be doing our own operations and setting our own bones. Next you know, the nearest A&E will be Chester or the Royal smile

#282739 - 11th Jan 2009 3:23pm Reform plan raises fears of Bank secrecy.. [Re: MissGuided]

The Bank of England will be able to print extra money without having legally to declare it under new plans which will heighten fears that the Government will secretly pump extra cash into the economy.

The Government is set to throw out the 165-year old law that obliges the Bank to publish a weekly account of its balance sheet – a move that will allow it theoretically to embark covertly on so-called quantitative easing. The Banking Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, abolishes a key section of the law laid down by Robert Peel's Government in 1844 which originally granted the Bank the sole right to print UK money.

The ostensible reason for the reform, which means the Bank will not have to print details of its own accounts and the amount of notes and coins flowing through the UK economy, is to allow the Bank more power to overhaul troubled financial institutions in the future, under its Special Resolution Authority.

However, some have warned that it means: "there is nothing to stop an unreported and unmonitored flooding of the money market by the undisciplined use of the printing presses."

It comes after the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee cut interest rates by half a percentage point, leaving them at the lowest level since the bank's foundation in 1694.

With the Bank rate now at 1.5pc, most economists suspect the Government and Bank will soon be forced to start quantitative easing – directly increasing the quantity of money in the economy – in a drastic attempt to prevent a recession of unprecedented depth.

Although the amount of easing is likely to be limited, News of this increased secrecy will spark comparisons with Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe, where uncontrolled use of the central banks' printing presses ultimately caused hyperinflation.

The Bank said it will still publish details of its balance sheet, but, significantly, the data – the main indicator of the extent of quantitative easing – will not be presented until more than a month has elapsed. For instance, under the new terms of the law, if the Bank were to have embarked on a policy of quantitative easing last month, the figures on this would not be published until the end of this month.

The reforms, which are likely to be implemented later this year, will make the Bank of England by far the most secretive major central in the world, experts said.

In the US, where the Federal Reserve has already cut rates to close to zero and started quantitative easing, the main way to track its purchases of securities and the expansion of its balance sheet is through precisely these same weekly accounts.

"Quite why the Bank has to keep its operations so shrouded in secrecy is a mystery to me," said Simon Ward, economist at New Star. "This [reform] will make it much more difficult to track what the Bank is doing."

Among the details which will no longer be published are those revealing the extent to which London's banks are using the Bank's deposit facilities – a yardstick of pressure in the financial system.

Debating the issue in the House of Lords recently, Lord James of Blackheath, a Conservative peer, said: "Remove [this] control and there is nothing to stop an unreported and unmonitored flooding of the money market by the undisciplined use of the printing presses.

"If we went down that path we would be following a road which starts in Weimar, goes on through Harare and must not end in Westminster and London. That is the great fear that the abolition of that section will bring about – but the Bill abolishes it."


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