Quantitative easing: Pensioners are paying the price

À chaque fois que l’État fait une intervention directe à l’économie, elle crée des effets pervers, l’exemple, baisser les taux d’intérêts ont créé une bulle immobilière.

L’Angleterre va utiliser sa planche à billet pour tenter de stimuler une nième fois son économie, par contre des effets pervers s’ensuit, tel que le rendement des fonds de pension.

Ce qui prouve surtout à quel point, les pays industriels sont totalement désespérés pour stimuler leurs économies, il est évident, quand tu es irresponsable depuis des décennies, tu récoltes ce que tu sèmes.


Extrait de : La Banque d'Angleterre fait marcher la planche à billets, Marc Roche, Le monde.fr, 09.02.12

Pour tenter de relancer l'économie atone, la Banque d'Angleterre a annoncé jeudi 9 février une nouvelle injection de liquidités dans l'économie britannique de 50 milliards de livres
(59,6 milliards d'euros). Cette troisième opération  de "quantitative easing" depuis 2009 était attendue des marchés alors que la croissance patine et que  le pays pourrait retomber en récession  au premier trimestre 2012.

L'assouplissement quantitatif consiste pour une banque centrale à acquérir des titres de dette d'entreprises ou d'Etats pour les aider à se refinancer et apporter ainsi une bouffée d'oxygène à l'économie. Cela revient à faire marcher la planche à billets. Si la Réserve fédérale américaine et la Banque d'Angleterre sont des adeptes de cette stratégie, la banque centrale européenne y est réticente au nom de sa mission de maintien de la stabilité des prix.

A l'évidence, lors de sa réunion qui s'est tenue mercredi et jeudi, le comité monétaire de l'institut d'émission de sa Majesté n'a pas jugé durable le léger frémissement de l'activité observé depuis le début de l'année. En effet, sous les effets de la cure d'austérité sans précédent que connaît aujourd'hui le pays, la baisse du pouvoir d'achat en terme réels, la montée du chômage et la réduction par les ménages de leur endettement, la consommation continue d'être languissante. Les ventes de détail ont chuté de 0,3% en janvier.

RÉTICENCES DES BANQUES

Par ailleurs, la crise de la dette souveraine entrave la relance par les exportations. La zone euro absorbe en effet les deux cinquièmes des ventes britanniques à l'étranger. En outre, les réticences des banques, soucieuses de reconstituer leur bilan, à prêter aux PME gênent la reprise des investissements.

Le recul de l'inflation qui est passé à 4,2% en décembre contre 4,8% en novembre et 5,2% en septembre a facilité ce troisième train de " quantitative easing ". La hausse des prix pourrait encore ralentir  à 2% à la fin de 2012 tandis que les taux d'intérêt bas (0,5%) ne devraient pas augmenter cette année, ni probablement en 2013."Alors que l'inflation poursuit sa pente descendante, la politique monétaire est la seule arme dont disposent les autorités pour tenter de sortir l'économie de l'ornière. Mais l'opération devra être répétée pour espérer une semblant de reprise cette année au troisième trimestre", estime Michael Saunders de Citi.

A ce jour, l'injonction de liquidités depuis mars 2009, s'élève à 325 milliards de livres En rachetant pour 50 milliards de livres d'obligations d'Etat britanniques, la Banque d'Angleterre réduit le coût de financement de la dette et agit sur la demande. Le Royaume-Uni reste très endetté avec une dette totale, privée et publique, représentant 507% du produit intérieur brut (PIB) à la mi 2011 contre 487% à la fin 2008 et 310% en 2000. Ce qui n'a pas empêché le taux d'intérêt que l'Etat doit payer pour refinancer les bons du trésor britannique à dix ans de descendre récemment sous les 2% en raison de l'appui des marchés à la politique de réduction du déficit budgétaire et de la souplesse qu'offre la non participation à l'euro


Extrait de : Quantitative easing: Pensioners are paying the price for Sir Mervyn’s 'funny money’, By Fraser Nelson, The Telegraph, 09 Feb 2012

Let’s try a thought experiment. Imagine that George Osborne were to stand up in the House of Commons and declare that, in order to avoid a new economic crisis, he had decided to raid our pension funds. The Treasury, he would say, had reluctantly concluded that it had no choice but to confiscate about £74 billion from what we’ve all been saving for our retirement. Furthermore, VAT would have to rise by another 2 per cent. The cash would be used to reduce the interest rates paid by Britain’s borrowers (his Government chief among them). And yes, he would add, it probably seems grossly unfair to transfer wealth from the thrifty to the profligate, but this is an emergency. The alternative is another banking crisis, or a new Great Depression.

If Mr Osborne did say all that, there would be uproar. The Chancellor would face unflattering comparisons with Robert Maxwell. Pensioners would be protesting outside Westminster, asking what right the Government had to steal their savings. The Institute for Fiscal Studies would publish graphs showing the “unfairness” of a VAT rise, since it would hit the poorest hardest.

Now, let us stretch all this to the very limits of credibility: is there a way that Mr Osborne could do all this anyway and not have anyone notice? There certainly is. He could simply disguise the scheme using the most boring two words in the English language: quantitative easing. Even the acronym – QE – is a kind of verbal anaesthetic, instantly numbing the mind. The very mention of it makes most people turn off the television, make a cup of tea, fill in their tax return – anything apart from listen to an explanation of how the Bank of England is digitally creating money to buy its own debt. Sure, the idea of government lending money to itself sounds odd, but no one seems to be alarmed by it. The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are quite relaxed about what is perhaps the biggest monetary experiment in British history.

Yesterday, the experiment grew even bigger, as Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, added £50 billion to the total.

The previous £275 billion has rather obviously failed to kick-start growth, so most analysts expect that Sir Mervyn’s magic money machine will keep churning out notes until it gets to £500 billion – almost as much as the British government spends each year.

If this were real money, it would be enough to line the coast of Britain with £10 notes. But because it is digital cash, no really one notices.

De l’argent purement virtuel, c’est comme nos banques qui font des milliards de profits avec de la spéculation avec du ‘fast trading’, rien de tangible, juste des chiffres dans un ordinateur qui varie, du vrai ‘vaporware’.

The effects, however, are all too real. Sir Mervyn could have done anything with his magic money – lent it to companies, for example, as his American counterparts have done. But crucially, he has decided only to buy UK government debt – thereby radically reducing the cost of borrowing.

This certainly suits Mr Osborne, whose government will have borrowed an extra £12,000 by the time you finish reading this sentence. And it’s great news for anyone on a variable rate mortgage, whose monthly payments will have already crashed to the floor. For them, QE may have taken the very tangible form of a new television.

But the Bank of England cannot create wealth.

All it can do is transfer it, from savers to debtors.

Every extra penny enjoyed by those whose mortgage rate is now lower than inflation is a penny not going into a savings account – and the full effects are only now becoming apparent.

As those in the pensions industry know, what is happening is nothing short of a crisis. Pension Corporation, an insurance firm, estimates that the hole blown in British company pension schemes by the first round of QE was £74 billion.

Firms are legally obliged to make up this shortfall – so they will need to find £20 million a day of real cash to repair the damage.

This can only be done by charging customers more, paying staff less or just hiring fewer people. It is why even Sir Mervyn is not so bold as to claim that QE creates jobs; as he knows, this whole process has many unintended victims.

Exactes, certaines compagnies comme l'État qui entretient encore des régimes de prestations déterminés sont dans une sérieuse merde, car l'argent ne rapporte plus, remarque la Cie peut toujours se mettre en faillite, pour l'État,
elle peut devenir insolvable.

Perhaps the worst hit are those turning 65 and buying an annuity to give them a regular income in retirement.

They will receive about a quarter less, per year, than those who reached retirement age three years ago.

Since half a million people a year purchase an annuity, this means very real pain for a generation – as a direct result of government policy. Ros Altmann, a former government pension adviser, puts it thus:

“Over a million pensioners will be permanently poorer, for the rest of their lives, because they bought an annuity at rates that have been
artificially depressed by the Bank of England.”

And then comes the inflation.

As any Zimbabwean will tell you, if a government prints more money, it reduces the value of everyone else’s money.

So far, Sir Mervyn’s magic machine has added anything up to 2.6 per cent to the cost of living (on top of the VAT hike). The rise in VAT was deeply controversial, thoroughly examined in Parliament and justified as a way of paying off the deficit. The inflation caused by QE is only acknowledged in the smallprint of Bank of England reports, only noticed (and felt) long after the event. It is the perfect tax: one that everyone pays, but nobody quite notices.

Ed Balls, normally so obsessed with cuts, has hardly mentioned any of this. Perhaps it’s because he agrees with the principles. The Bank of England is the bridge that straddles both Labour and Coalition governments, and Sir Mervyn’s policy has not changed one iota since the election: as far as monetary policy is concerned, it is continuity Brownism. How can Labour complain? One Tory frontbencher did make the very valid point that QE is a desperation strategy – the ultimate declaration of despair. This was George Osborne, before he realised that he needed to borrow more than Labour planned to, and that without Sir Mervyn’s funny money Britain would have lost its cherished AAA rating long ago.

To QE’s opponents, the scheme suggests a deficit of imagination.

That the Government has run out of ideas to grow the economy, so lazily switches on the printing press and hopes for the best.

Difficile de stimuler l’économie, quand dans le monde entier on délocalise ajouter l’insouciance des politiciens d’avoir trop endetté leurs pays et leurs peuples par le crédit facile, cette combinaison de facteurs ont mis la batterie de l’économie à plat.

Solution, on se met tous en défauts de paiement, ce qui va tuer toutes les rentes, et on recommence avec de bonnes règles économiques, oups, je dérape !

But QE’s defenders, including many monetarists who backed the Thatcher revolution, say it’s working. As all students of Milton Friedman know, the Great Depression was caused by the Federal Reserve’s calamitous decision to shrink the supply of money by a third. Sir Mervyn, they say, has saved Britain from repeating that mistake.

Argent facile, ne fait qu’activer le processus de la spéculation,
c’est pour cela que la banque centrale américaine hésite de faire un QE3.

The U.S. monetary stimulus - billions of dollars worth- went into banks and other financial institutions - and not into the economy

The interest that the banks collect on the Treasuries (which you and I as taxpayers are essentially paying) created a profitable "interest-rate spread" - the difference between the interest they earned on the bonds they held and the almost-interest-free "loans" they took out in order to leverage their balance sheets.

Banks play a key role in the U.S. economy. By lending money to the private sector, they make it possible for new companies to be formed and existing ones to grow - all of which creates jobs and helps the economy grow.

But banks aren't lending to the public. Why should they? They make good, safe money on a risk-free basis running the Treasury-spread trade.

Corporate America Joins the Party. Because interest rates are being held down at artificially low levels, corporations also turned to the bond market to borrow cheaply. (1)

Les banques et les multinationales américaines se sont servies de cet argent facile pour spéculer, au lieu de l’investir dans l’économie réelle.

The uncomfortable truth is that not even the experts know for sure.

Britain has become a massive laboratory for the biggest experiment in money-printing the modern world has ever seen. There are only a handful of certainties: that debtors have it a little easier, that the banks are lending a little more freely. But pensioners are retiring with far lower incomes, and millions will be poorer now and for ever as a result.

It could well be that Sir Mervyn is right in his unspoken calculation that extra pensioner poverty is a price worth paying. Mr Osborne may well be right that the Government’s squeeze on incomes is a price worth paying to avoid higher unemployment. But in a democracy, it is odd that such an orchestrated transfer of wealth from savers to borrowers can be carried out without anyone admitting what’s going on. Another banking collapse would be calamitous for Britain, and it is the Chancellor’s duty to do what he thinks is best for the economy. But it is also his duty to be honest about who is paying the price.