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Will Central Banks Survive?
08-27-2019, 10:16 AM,
Will Central Banks Survive?
Will Central Banks Survive?

Almost all economists and the vast majority of the general population erroneously believe that central banks are, basically, indestructible. And most fail to appreciate that central banks are different from normal commercial banks in just two respects: their ability to earn seigniorage revenue, and to distort accounting rules.With the current level of liabilities central banks hold those may not be enough. We might be closing in the end of the central banking era.The income structure of a central bankCentral banks earn seigniorage from the difference between the “printing” costs of the legal tender (monetary base) and its nominal value. In a simplified balance sheet of a central bank, money is visible in the liabilities-side, which also holds the government’s bank account (domestic liabilities) and the reserves of commercial banks and net worth. Net worth includes the capital of the central bank and valuation adjustments for changes in the foreign-exchange rate and investments. A central bank’s assets include securities, foreign-exchange reserves (net foreign assets) and loans (to commercial banks).Thus, when a central bank buys assets, such as government bonds, it simply either creates money directly or debits the reserves of commercial banks to maintain balance. In the programs of quantitative easing (“QE”, see Q-Review 1/2018), the latter option has been used. The central bank earns income in the form of interest from these holdings. If the liabilities contain required reserves and currency, the central bank has “zero-cost” financing. If the liabilities contain excess reserves and or domestic liabilities, the central bank will need to pay interest.Read the entire article

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