When two weeks ago Mark Carney was appointed head of the Bank of England (despite his firm denials of any interest in the position) many were surprised. Not us: we were certain the former Goldmanite, and incidentally current head of the Bank of Canada, would lead the world's oldest central bank. We were even more convinced Carney would become BOE head after on November 8 the Bank of England halted QE as its "potency was questioned." Needless to say to the banker sponsors of the MIT monetary genius diaspora (as profiled previously), there is nothing more terrifying than the prospect of an end of electronic money conceived literally out of thin air, and debiting it into perfectly willing excess reserve accounts at any/all banks. So what is a statist financial system caught in the final days of its existence and desperate to extend its life as long as possible to do? Why, appoint the one person who would turn this "disastrous" conclusion on its head, and promptly proceed with doing exactly the opposite: printing like a drunken Hewlett Packard laserjet.
As a reminder, this is precisely what happened when Mario Draghi, another Goldmanite, replaced Trichet: days after his appointment, he not only facilitated the global financial system bailout of November 2011, but announced the arrival of the now defunct $1.3 trillion LTRO.
Sure enough it was only a matter of time before Carney showed his true colors, and we were not at all surprised to read last night that the central banker, largely misperceived modestly hawkish, has done not only a full U-turn but is already suggesting the BOE not only resume QE but hit the pedal to the medal to an extent not even seen at the Fed, by pushing for NGDP targeting. Which is nothing but a fancy term for infinite monetary easing.
Mark Carney, the next governor of the Bank of England, has suggested he will act much more aggressively to revive the UK economy when he takes charge next summer, including dumping the BoE’s much-vaunted inflation target if growth fails to pick up.
In a clear break with the views of the BoE’s current senior management, Mr Carney, now governor of the Bank of Canada, said on Tuesday that central banks should consider more radical measures – such as commitments to keep rates on hold for an extended period of time and numerical targets for unemployment – when rates are near zero.
If those measures fail to have the desired effect, Mr Carney said central banks should consider scrapping their inflation targets – a cornerstone of economic policy around the world in recent decades, including in the UK.
Mr Carney suggested that a nominal GDP target, where a central bank sets monetary policy based on both inflation and growth, would do more to boost economic output. “For example, adopting a nominal GDP-level target could in many respects be more powerful than employing thresholds under flexible inflation targeting,” he said.
“If yet further stimulus were required, the policy framework itself would likely have to be changed,” Mr Carney said in Toronto in his first speech since being named successor to Sir Mervyn King last month. He cautioned that the benefits of any regime change “would have to be weighed carefully against the effectiveness of other unconventional monetary policy measures under the proven, flexible inflation targeting regime”.
The comments are likely to rankle with Sir Mervyn, who masterminded the campaign for an inflation target for the UK, introduced in 1992. The BoE targets inflation of 2 per cent, though prices have risen at a faster rate since 2009.
Any decision on scrapping the inflation target would rest with George Osborne, the chancellor, and would be influenced by the Monetary Policy Committee’s other eight members.
And of course, should Osborne dare to refuse this "proposal" and opt for the existing, and proper, BOE course, then his tenure will be drastically reduced. Just recall what happened to Bunga Silvio when he openly defied the other Goldman nemsis Mario Draghi in the first week of November 2011, just days after the inauguration of the Italian to the ECB throne?