Christopher J Waller: Thoughts on quantitative tightening, including remarks on the paper "Quantitative tightening around the globe - what have we learned?"

Speech by Mr Christopher J Waller, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, at the 2024 US Monetary Policy Forum, New York City, 1 March 2024.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
06 March 2024

Thank you, it is great to be here. I'm pleased to participate in this panel to discuss a policy action now being implemented by central banks around the globe: quantitative tightening (QT). I want to thank Kristin, Matt, and Wenxin for putting together a great paper that provides an overview of the effects of QT across seven central banks.

Often called "large-scale asset purchases" (LSAPs) by central bankers, the view of quantitative easing, or QE, as a tool to add monetary policy accommodation and QT to tighten policy has changed over time. When it was used during and after the Global Financial Crisis, QE was deemed an "unconventional" tool in central banks' arsenals. But QE has now been used numerous times in the past two decades for extended periods when the policy rate was at the effective lower bound, so I would say it is no longer unconventional.

Given the role of QE and QT in the policy toolkit, it is good to have researchers and policymakers examine how asset purchases work and talk about current issues associated with their implementation. This paper is very timely and thorough in looking across countries and their experiences with QE and QT. There is a lot packed into this work that makes it a little difficult to fully assess in the time we have today. So I will focus my comments on four points: (1) the evidence that the effects of QE are asymmetric to the effects of QT; (2) the execution of QE versus the execution of QT in the United States; (3) the role of announcement effects of QT; and, finally, (4) who has taken the Fed's place in buying assets when we withdraw from the market. I will then end with some thoughts about issues facing the Federal Reserve as we move forward with normalizing our balance sheet.