Quantitative easing (QE) has upended the world of central banking since the US Federal Reserve (The Fed) implemented its first QE program in December of 2008 to safeguard financial stability during the global financial crisis. The Fed shifted to unconventional monetary policy because interest rates had already been cut near zero. When a central bank uses QE, it purchases large quantities of assets, such as government bonds, to lower borrowing costs, boost spending, support economic growth, and ultimately increase inflation. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, central banks have dramatically increased their QE programs.
This Global QE Tracker allows users to compare the major central banks’ different QE policies, offers in-depth breakdowns of each institution’s specific QE measures, and explains in clear terms how QE and interest rates work together to produce successful monetary policy.
There are 3 sections to explore: Major central banks’ QE and interest rates compared, our interactive Global QE Tracker, and an explainer on how QE works.
Central banks’ QE and interest rates compared
Note: All these visualizations are interactive and responsive to user input. Use the black button in the top right corner to toggle between the map and chart feature. On the chart feature, you can choose how to position and size the variables in the drop down menu on the right. Clicking on a bubble or country on the map will open up a panel with multiple slides breaking down the country’s quantitative easing policies and their impact.
Explainer: How QE works
“The problem with QE is that it works in practice, but it doesn’t work in theory.”
– former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, 2014
Source: European Central Bank
We would like to thank Will Bonney, Ekta Deshmukh, Amanda Dickerson, Amy Jeon, and Stefan de Villiers for their contributions to this tracker.
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