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Assessing excess liquidity in the euro area: the role of sectoral distribution of money

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The strong and prolonged deviation of money growth from its reference value since 2001 has caused concern among policy-makers about the upside risks to price stability from monetary developments. In this article we provide evidence that these risks might have been smaller until 2005 than regularly assumed. Three basic findings support this view. First, a sectoral breakdown of money holdings shows that current excess liquidity conditions have been partly related to the acceleration of nonbank financial intermediaries’ money demand, as well as to the accumulation of marketable instruments. Such increases are likely to be associated more to portfolio choices than to transaction motives. Second, evidence from balance sheet data on investment funds points to a general increase in the relative importance of this sector in the economy, rather than to a higher degree of liquidity of their asset positions, thus reflecting, to a large extent, a permanent change in the financial structure of the economy. Third, excess liquidity measures that exclude nonbank financial intermediaries’ money holdings have more predictive power for future inflation at medium-term horizons than those that include them.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Banca d'Italia, Economic Outlook and Monetary policy, Via Nazionale, 91Rome 00184, Italy

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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