The long and uncertain road to exiting Quantitative Easing

Publication date: 30 Jul 2021 | Publication type: Quarterly UK Economic Outlook Preview | NIESR Author(s): Lenoel, C

This is a preview from the Quarterly UK Economic Outlook, August 2021.

There is a rich literature on Quantitative Easing (QE) but less so on its unwinding. QE was initiated in 2001 in Japan, followed by the US in 2008 after the Global Financial Crisis, and there has been time to evaluate it, while there has not been any sustained unwinding of QE so far. The only episode that approaches an unwinding of QE is the so-called ‘Taper Tantrum’ in the United States in 2013, when Treasury yields surged on the news that the Federal Reserve would be slowing down its purchases of bonds.

In this box, we survey the literature on QE and use the findings to discuss possible exit strategies. While there is little consensus among central bankers on the optimal exit strategy, what stands out is that the road to unwinding will probably be a long and uncertain one, and central banks may even keep large amount of government bonds permanently on their balance sheet.

The analysis in this Box has been prepared by NIESR Principal Economist Cyrille Lenoel. You can download the full analysis clicking on the pdf document.