Central bank balance sheets moving at different speeds

Bank of Canada's now shrinking

Chart of the Day

The balance sheets of the major central banks are now going in different directions and at different speeds. While the SNB, ECB and the BoE continue to grow theirs (though the BoE announced a reduction in buying yesterday), the BoJ and the Fed have kept theirs at a fairly steady level relative to GDP. By contrast, the BoC’s balance sheet has dropped sharply in the past month and remains much smaller as a share of GDP than those elsewhere.

Macro

US initial jobless claims fell to 498,000 last week, below 500k for the first time since the pandemic.

The Challenger report showed there were 22,913 lay-offs in April, the lowest since June 2000 - though that is clearly related to how many there were last year.

Eurozone retail sales rose by 2.7% MoM in March. That took the annual rate to 12.3%.

Markets

Several central banks, including the BoE and Turkish Central Bank, and Norges Bank met yesterday. Inflation-adjusted policy rates remain negative in most countries.

The BoE was a tad more hawkish, although the 12-month overnight index swap is currently still just 0.06%, i.e. below the policy rate of 0.10%

The BoE grew its balance sheet faster than the Fed last month, but by much less than the ECB.

The ECB's longer-term refinancing operations are now equivalent to 18% of the region's public debt, and many of those funds are indeed being recycled into bonds.

Yields have nevertheless been inching up lately.

In Japan, the BoJ ETF assets are equivalent to 58.9% of the domestic ETF market, which is the smallest share in several years.

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