A comparative analysis of developments in central bank balance sheet composition

BIS Working Papers No 559
April 2016

In this paper we analyse developments in the composition of central bank balance sheets for a large set of central banks in a unified framework. Since 2007, central banks in advanced economies have experienced pronounced changes in balance sheet composition as a consequence of unconventional monetary policy measures. In addition, we document a convergence in balance sheet composition from 2007 until 2009, as the initial crisis response was fairly homogeneous across advanced economies, mostly driven by financial stability concerns. However, since 2009 design of balance sheet policies has been more diverse, reflecting diverging policy challenges across regions. By contrast, balance sheets of central banks in emerging market economies have remained broadly unchanged in terms of composition in the period under review.

JEL classification: E40, E42, E50, E58

Keywords: central bank balance sheet, unconventional monetary policy, dissimilarity analysis