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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

U.S. vs. U.K.: Relative Use of "Liquidity" Facilities

The Telegraph points out that use of the U.K.'s liquidity facility may be significantly larger than first thought:

When Bank Governor Mervyn King first unveiled the Special Liquidity Scheme in April he indicated that it might be used for £50bn, while debt specialists forecast a total take-up of £90bn-£100bn by the time the scheme closed on October 20.

Alastair Ryan, UBS banks analyst, has calculated that "the take-up could be £200bn or more".
Just how large is that?

Yves over at Naked Capitalism puts it into context:
The UK's GDP is roughly $2.8 trillion. The US economy is a bit under $14 trillion, or nearly 5 times bigger (note that on a purchasing power parity basis, the size difference is even greater, over six times). If you use an exchange rate of $1.8 = £1, that £200 billion is equal to $360 billion. The support to the banking system is roughly 75% of the size of the usage made of the Fed's facilities (remember, some like the PCDF, vary a lot over time, while the TAF seems to be fully subscribed) for an economy 20% as large.
Well, that would certainly explain a portion of the recent Pound sell-off.