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Friday, August 19, 2011

QE2 Investment Performance

Let's rewind... the Economist detailed back in November:

Even before the Federal Reserve unveiled its second round of quantitative easing (QE) on November 3rd, critics had already denounced it as ineffectual or an invitation to inflation. It cannot be both and it may not be either.

The announcement of “QE2” was hardly breathtaking. The Fed said it will buy $600 billion of Treasuries between now and next June, at about $75 billion a month, although it also said it could adjust the amount and timing if need be. That was about what markets expected but far less than the $1.75 trillion of debt it bought between early 2009 and early 2010 in its first round of QE. Yet QE2 seems already to have exceeded the low expectations it has aroused. Since Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Fed, hinted at it at Jackson Hole on August 27th, markets have all done exactly what they should. Under QE the Fed buys long-term bonds with newly created money. This lowers long-term yields and chases investors into riskier, alternative investments.
I understand that a lot has happened since the start of QE2 (Middle East uprisings, Japan tsunami, European crisis, debt ceiling debacle), but QE2 does not appear to have accomplished much in economic terms and now just about as little in asset performance terms.


It does look like the Fed has been making some serious $$ on their Treasury purchases.