Bank of England Should Be Ashamed by Latest Data

by: TradingHelpDesk

If more evidence was needed that the Bank of England’s quantitative easing program was wholly ineffective in its efforts to generate real economic growth, it arrived by the truck load this week on confirmation that Q3 GDP contracted and the UK economy is still officially in recession.

In fact it would take a vivid imagination or a deep misunderstanding of financial markets to think that the BoE’s purchase of £175bn worth of government bonds, bought with printed money, would do anything economically productive at all.

Financial institutions happily sold the Gilts to the BoE and received the cash in return. Those financial institutions then proceeded to either shore up their balance sheets or speculate with the cash buying equities and other risky assets.

Ask yourself these questions:

How can financial speculation, the buying and selling of listed financial instruments, create real jobs or real economic growth? It can’t. But it can boost bonuses in the City and give institutional traders money to play with.

And is there an industry less deserving than the banking and finance industry for such a cash injection? Many people think not.

UK equities have bounced 50% since the trough of the bear market whilst unemployment has continued to worsen fairly considerably. Those facts sum up the BoE’s contribution to the creation of real jobs, real economic growth and next year’s City bonus pool.

For the record, UK GDP contracted 0.4% in the June to September quarter. The economy has now been in recession for six consecutive quarters. This is the longest recession in modern times. Year-on-year contraction now stands at 5.2%. Industrial production over the same period has fallen by 10.4%.

Admittedly the report of a 0.4% contraction is preliminary, and could be revised upwards, but it’s equally possible later revisions could downgrade the data.

Leading commentators have suggested the BoE and the Government with its equally clueless approach to the economy should be “embarrassed” by the latest data. I think ashamed would be a more fitting emotion.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, responded to news with the hopeful comments "Growth will return at the turn of year”. Unfortunately, as Rudy Giuliani once said, “Hope is not a strategy”.