Monetary and Economic Studies Vol.28 / November 2010

Size and Composition of the Central Bank Balance Sheet: Revisiting Japan’s Experience of the Quantitative Easing Policy

Shigenori Shiratsuka

This paper reexamines Japan's experience of the quantitative easing policy (QEP) in light of the policy responses against the recent financial and economic crisis. Central banks use various unconventional measures in the range of financial assets being purchased and in the scale of such purchases. As the scope of such unconventional measures expands, it is often emphasized that the U.S. Federal Reserve policy reactions focus more on the asset side of its balance sheet, the so-called credit easing. By contrast, the Bank of Japan's QEP from 2001 to 2006 set a target for the current account balances, on the liability side of its balance sheet. It is crucial to understand that central banks combine the two elements of their balance sheets, size and composition, to enhance the overall effects of unconventional policy measures, given constraints on policy implementation.

Keywords: Quantitative easing; Credit easing; Unconventional monetary policy; Central bank balance sheet

Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.

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