A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is an institution that manages a state's currency, money supply, and interest rates. Central banks also oversee the commercial banking system of their respective countries. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank possesses a monopoly on increasing the monetary base in the state, and also generally controls the printing/coining of the national currency, which serves as the state's legal tender. A central bank also acts as a "lender of last resort" to the banking sector during times of financial crisis. Most central banks also have supervisory and regulatory powers to ensure the solvency of member institutions, to prevent bank runs, and to discourage reckless or fraudulent behavior by member banks.
Functions of a central bank may include:
Central banks implement a country's chosen monetary policy.
At the most basic level, monetary policy involves establishing what form of currency the country may have, whether a fiat currency, gold-backed currency (disallowed for countries in the International Monetary Fund), currency board or a currency union. When a country has its own national currency, this involves the issue of some form of standardized currency, which is essentially a form of promissory note: a promise to exchange the note for "money" under certain circumstances. Historically, this was often a promise to exchange the money for precious metals in some fixed amount. Now, when many currencies are fiat money, the "promise to pay" consists of the promise to accept that currency to pay for taxes.
A central bank may use another country's currency either directly in a currency union, or indirectly on a currency board. In the latter case, exemplified by the Bulgarian National Bank, Hong Kong and Latvia, the local currency is backed at a fixed rate by the central bank's holdings of a foreign currency. Similar to commercial banks, central banks hold assets (government bonds, foreign exchange, gold, and other financial assets) and incur liabilities (currency outstanding). Central banks create money by issuing interest-free currency notes and selling them to the public (government) in exchange for interest-bearing assets such as government bonds. When a central bank wishes to purchase more bonds than their respective national governments make available, they may purchase private bonds or assets denominated in foreign currencies.
The European Central Bank remits its interest income to the central banks of the member countries of the European Union. The US Federal Reserve remits all its profits to the U.S. Treasury. This income, derived from the power to issue currency, is referred to as seigniorage, and usually belongs to the national government. The state-sanctioned power to create currency is called the Right of Issuance. Throughout history there have been disagreements over this power, since whoever controls the creation of currency controls the seigniorage income. The expression "monetary policy" may also refer more narrowly to the interest-rate targets and other active measures undertaken by the monetary authority.
Frictional unemployment is the time period between jobs when a worker is searching for, or transitioning from one job to another. Unemployment beyond frictional unemployment is classified as unintended unemployment.
For example, structural unemployment is a form of unemployment resulting from a mismatch between demand in the labour market and the skills and locations of the workers seeking employment. Macroeconomic policy generally aims to reduce unintended unemployment.
Inflation is defined either as the devaluation of a currency or equivalently the rise of prices relative to a currency.
Since inflation lowers real wages, Keynesians view inflation as the solution to involuntary unemployment. However, "unanticipated" inflation leads to lender losses as the real interest rate will be lower than expected. Thus, Keynesian monetary policy aims for a steady rate of inflation. A publication from the Austrian School, The Case Against the Fed, argues that the efforts of the central banks to control inflation have been counterproductive.
Economic growth can be enhanced by investment in capital, such as more or better machinery. A low interest rate implies that firms can borrow money to invest in their capital stock and pay less interest for it. Lowering the interest is therefore considered to encourage economic growth and is often used to alleviate times of low economic growth. On the other hand, raising the interest rate is often used in times of high economic growth as a contra-cyclical device to keep the economy from overheating and avoid market bubbles.
Further goals of monetary policy are stability of interest rates, of the financial market, and of the foreign exchange market. Goals frequently cannot be separated from each other and often conflict. Costs must therefore be carefully weighed before policy implementation.
The main monetary policy instruments available to central banks are open market operation, bank reserve requirement, interest rate policy, re-lending and re-discount (including using the term repurchase market), and credit policy (often coordinated with trade policy). While capital adequacy is important, it is defined and regulated by the Bank for International Settlements, and central banks in practice generally do not apply stricter rules.
By far the most visible and obvious power of many modern central banks is to influence market interest rates; contrary to popular belief, they rarely "set" rates to a fixed number. Although the mechanism differs from country to country, most use a similar mechanism based on a central bank's ability to create as much fiat money as required.
The mechanism to move the market towards a 'target rate' (whichever specific rate is used) is generally to lend money or borrow money in theoretically unlimited quantities, until the targeted market rate is sufficiently close to the target. Central banks may do so by lending money to and borrowing money from (taking deposits from) a limited number of qualified banks, or by purchasing and selling bonds. As an example of how this functions, the Bank of Canada sets a target overnight rate, and a band of plus or minus 0.25%. Qualified banks borrow from each other within this band, but never above or below, because the central bank will always lend to them at the top of the band, and take deposits at the bottom of the band; in principle, the capacity to borrow and lend at the extremes of the band are unlimited. Other central banks use similar mechanisms.
The target rates are generally short-term rates. The actual rate that borrowers and lenders receive on the market will depend on (perceived) credit risk, maturity and other factors. For example, a central bank might set a target rate for overnight lending of 4.5%, but rates for (equivalent risk) five-year bonds might be 5%, 4.75%, or, in cases of inverted yield curves, even below the short-term rate. Many central banks have one primary "headline" rate that is quoted as the "central bank rate". In practice, they will have other tools and rates that are used, but only one that is rigorously targeted and enforced.
"The rate at which the central bank lends money can indeed be chosen at will by the central bank; this is the rate that makes the financial headlines." – Henry C.K. Liu. Liu explains further that "the U.S. central-bank lending rate is known as the Fed funds rate. The Fed sets a target for the Fed funds rate, which its Open Market Committee tries to match by lending or borrowing in the money market ... a fiat money system set by command of the central bank. The Fed is the head of the central-bank because the U.S. dollar is the key reserve currency for international trade. The global money market is a USA dollar market. All other currencies markets revolve around the U.S. dollar market." Accordingly, the U.S. situation is not typical of central banks in general.
Typically a central bank controls certain types of short-term interest rates. These influence the stock- and bond markets as well as mortgage and other interest rates. The European Central Bank for example announces its interest rate at the meeting of its Governing Council; in the case of the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Both the Federal Reserve and the ECB are composed of one or more central bodies that are responsible for the main decisions about interest rates and the size and type of open market operations, and several branches to execute its policies. In the case of the Federal Reserve, they are the local Federal Reserve Banks; for the ECB they are the national central banks.
A typical central bank has several interest rates or monetary policy tools it can set to influence markets.
These rates directly affect the rates in the money market, the market for short term loans.
Some central banks (e.g. in Denmark, Sweden and the Eurozone) are currently applying negative interest rates.
Through open market operations, a central bank influences the money supply in an economy. Each time it buys securities (such as a government bond or treasury bill), it in effect creates money. The central bank exchanges money for the security, increasing the money supply while lowering the supply of the specific security. Conversely, selling of securities by the central bank reduces the money supply.
Open market operations usually take the form of:
All of these interventions can also influence the foreign exchange market and thus the exchange rate. For example, the People's Bank of China and the Bank of Japan have on occasion bought several hundred billions of U.S. Treasuries, presumably in order to stop the decline of the U.S. dollar versus the renminbi and the yen.
When faced with the zero lower bound or a liquidity trap, central banks can resort to quantitative easing (QE). Like open market operations, QE consists in the purchase of financial assets by the central bank. There are however certain differences:
In that sense, quantitative easing can be considered as an extension of open market operations.
All banks are required to hold a certain percentage of their assets as capital, a rate which may be established by the central bank or the banking supervisor. For international banks, including the 55 member central banks of the Bank for International Settlements, the threshold is 8% (see the Basel Capital Accords) of risk-adjusted assets, whereby certain assets (such as government bonds) are considered to have lower risk and are either partially or fully excluded from total assets for the purposes of calculating capital adequacy. Partly due to concerns about asset inflation and repurchase agreements, capital requirements may be considered more effective than reserve requirements in preventing indefinite lending: when at the threshold, a bank cannot extend another loan without acquiring further capital on its balance sheet.
Historically, bank reserves have formed only a small fraction of deposits, a system called fractional reserve banking. Banks would hold only a small percentage of their assets in the form of cash reserves as insurance against bank runs. Over time this process has been regulated and insured by central banks. Such legal reserve requirements were introduced in the 19th century as an attempt to reduce the risk of banks overextending themselves and suffering from bank runs, as this could lead to knock-on effects on other overextended banks. See also money multiplier.
As the early 20th century gold standard was undermined by inflation and the late 20th century fiat dollar hegemony evolved, and as banks proliferated and engaged in more complex transactions and were able to profit from dealings globally on a moment's notice, these practices became mandatory, if only to ensure that there was some limit on the ballooning of money supply. Such limits have become harder to enforce. The People's Bank of China retains (and uses) more powers over reserves because the yuan that it manages is a non-convertible currency.
Loan activity by banks plays a fundamental role in determining the money supply. The central-bank money after aggregate settlement – "final money" – can take only one of two forms:
The currency component of the money supply is far smaller than the deposit component. Currency, bank reserves and institutional loan agreements together make up the monetary base, called M1, M2 and M3. The Federal Reserve Bank stopped publishing M3 and counting it as part of the money supply in 2006.
Central banks can directly control the money supply by placing limits on the amount banks can lend to various sectors of the economy. Central banks can also control the amount of lending by applying credit quotas. This allows the central bank to control both the quantity of lending and its allocation towards certain strategic sectors of the economy, for example to support the national industrial policy. The Bank of Japan used to apply such policy ("window guidance") between 1962 and 1991.
To influence the money supply, some central banks may require that some or all foreign exchange receipts (generally from exports) be exchanged for the local currency. The rate that is used to purchase local currency may be market-based or arbitrarily set by the bank. This tool is generally used in countries with non-convertible currencies or partially convertible currencies. The recipient of the local currency may be allowed to freely dispose of the funds, required to hold the funds with the central bank for some period of time, or allowed to use the funds subject to certain restrictions. In other cases, the ability to hold or use the foreign exchange may be otherwise limited.
In this method, money supply is increased by the central bank when it purchases the foreign currency by issuing (selling) the local currency. The central bank may subsequently reduce the money supply by various means, including selling bonds or foreign exchange interventions.
In some countries, central banks may have other tools that work indirectly to limit lending practices and otherwise restrict or regulate capital markets. For example, a central bank may regulate margin lending, whereby individuals or companies may borrow against pledged securities. The margin requirement establishes a minimum ratio of the value of the securities to the amount borrowed.
Central banks often have requirements for the quality of assets that may be held by financial institutions; these requirements may act as a limit on the amount of risk and leverage created by the financial system. These requirements may be direct, such as requiring certain assets to bear certain minimum credit ratings, or indirect, by the central bank lending to counterparties only when security of a certain quality is pledged as collateral.
Although the perception by the public may be that the "central bank" controls some or all interest rates and currency rates, economic theory (and substantial empirical evidence) shows that it is impossible to do both at once in an open economy. Robert Mundell's "impossible trinity" is the most famous formulation of these limited powers, and postulates that it is impossible to target monetary policy (broadly, interest rates), the exchange rate (through a fixed rate) and maintain free capital movement. Since most Western economies are now considered "open" with free capital movement, this essentially means that central banks may target interest rates or exchange rates with credibility, but not both at once.
In the most famous case of policy failure, Black Wednesday, George Soros arbitraged the pound sterling's relationship to the ECU and (after making $2 billion himself and forcing the UK to spend over $8bn defending the pound) forced it to abandon its policy. Since then he has been a harsh critic of clumsy bank policies and argued that no one should be able to do what he did.
The most complex relationships are those between the yuan and the US dollar, and between the euro and its neighbors. US dollars were ubiquitous in Cuba's economy after its legalization in 1991, but were officially removed from circulation in 2004 and replaced by the convertible peso.
Some have envisaged the use of what Milton Friedman once called "helicopter money" whereby the central bank would make direct transfers to citizens in order to lift inflation up to the central bank's intended target. Such policy option could be particularly effective at the zero lower bound.
In some countries a central bank, through its subsidiaries, controls and monitors the banking sector. In other countries banking supervision is carried out by a government department such as the UK Treasury, or by an independent government agency, for example, UK's Financial Conduct Authority. It examines the banks' balance sheets and behaviour and policies toward consumers. Apart from refinancing, it also provides banks with services such as transfer of funds, bank notes and coins or foreign currency. Thus it is often described as the "bank of banks".
Many countries will monitor and control the banking sector through several different agencies and for different purposes. the Bank regulation in the United States for example is highly fragmented with 3 federal agencies, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, or Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and numerous others on the state and the private level. There is usually significant cooperation between the agencies. For example, money center banks, deposit-taking institutions, and other types of financial institutions may be subject to different (and occasionally overlapping) regulation. Some types of banking regulation may be delegated to other levels of government, such as state or provincial governments.
Any cartel of banks is particularly closely watched and controlled. Most countries control bank mergers and are wary of concentration in this industry due to the danger of groupthink and runaway lending bubbles based on a single point of failure, the credit culture of the few large banks.
Governments generally have some degree of influence over even "independent" central banks; the aim of independence is primarily to prevent short-term interference. The Deutsche Bundesbank was the first central bank to be given full independence, leading this form of central bank to be referred to as the "Bundesbank model", as opposed, for instance, to the New Zealand model, which has a goal (i.e. inflation target) set by the government.
Advocates of central bank independence argue that a central bank which is too susceptible to political direction or pressure may encourage economic cycles ("boom and bust"), as politicians may be tempted to boost economic activity in advance of an election, to the detriment of the long-term health of the economy and the country. In this context, independence is usually defined as the central bank's operational and management independence from the government.
Central bank independence is usually guaranteed by legislation and the institutional framework governing the bank's relationship with elected officials, particularly the minister of finance. Central bank legislation will enshrine specific procedures for selecting and appointing the head of the central bank. Often the minister of finance will appoint the governor in consultation with the central bank's board and its incumbent governor. In addition, the legislation will specify banks governor's term of appointment. The most independent central banks enjoy a fixed non-renewable term for the governor in order to eliminate pressure on the governor to please the government in the hope of being re-appointed for a second term. Generally, independent central banks enjoy both goal and instrument independence.
In return to their independence, central bank are usually accountable at some level to government officials, either to the finance ministry or to parliament. For example, the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve are nominated by the President of the U.S. and confirmed by the Senate, publishes verbatim transcripts, and balance sheets are audited by the Government Accountability Office.
In the 2000s there has been a trend towards increasing the independence of central banks as a way of improving long-term economic performance. While a large volume of economic research has been done to define the relationship between central bank independence and economic performance, the results are ambiguous.
It is argued that an independent central bank can run a more credible monetary policy, making market expectations more responsive to signals from the central bank. Both the Bank of England (1997) and the European Central Bank have been made independent and follow a set of published inflation targets so that markets know what to expect. Even the People's Bank of China has been accorded great latitude, though in China the official role of the bank remains that of a national bank rather than a central bank, underlined by the official refusal to "unpeg" the yuan or to revalue it "under pressure". The People's Bank of China's independence can thus be read more as independence from the US, which rules the financial markets, rather than from the Communist Party of China which rules the country. The fact that the Communist Party is not elected also relieves the pressure to please people, increasing its independence.
The use of money as a unit of account predates history. Government control of money is documented in the ancient Egyptian economy (2750–2150 BC). The Egyptians measured the value of goods with a central unit called shat. As many other currencies, the shat was linked to gold. The value of a shat in terms of goods was defined by government administrations. Other cultures in Asia Minor later materialised their currencies in the form of gold and silver coins.
In the medieval and the early modern period a network of professional banks was established in Southern and Central Europe. The institutes built a new tier in the financial economy. The monetary system was still controlled by government institutions, mainly through the coinage prerogative. Banks, however, could use book money to create deposits for their customers. Thus, they had the possibility to issue, lend and transfer money autonomously without direct governmental control.
In order to consolidate the monetary system, a network of public exchange banks was established at the beginning of the 17th century in main European trade centres. The Amsterdam Wisselbank was founded as a first institute in 1609. Further exchange banks were located in Hamburg, Venice and Nuremberg. The institutes offered a public infrastructure for cashless international payments. They aimed to increase the efficiency of international trade and to safeguard monetary stability. The exchange banks thus fulfilled comparable functions to modern central banks. The institutes even issued their own (book) currency, called Mark Banco.
In the early modern period, the Dutch were pioneering financial innovators who developed many advanced techniques and helped lay the foundations of modern financial systems. The Bank of Amsterdam (Amsterdam Wisselbank), established in the Dutch Republic in 1609, was a forerunner to modern central banks. The Wisselbank's innovations helped lay the foundations for the birth and development of the central banking system that now plays a vital role in the world's economy. Along with a number of subsidiary local banks, it performed many functions of a central banking system. The model of the Wisselbank as a state bank was adapted throughout Europe, including Sveriges Riksbank (1668) and the Bank of England (1694).
Established by Dutch-Latvian Johan Palmstruch in 1668, Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, is often considered by many as the world's oldest central bank. However it lacked a central function before 1904 since it did not have a monopoly over issuing bank notes.
The establishment of the Bank of England, the model on which most modern central banks have been based, was devised by Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, in 1694, following a proposal by the banker William Paterson three years earlier, which had not been acted upon. In the Kingdom of England in the 1690s, public funds were in short supply, and the credit of William III's government was so low in London that it was impossible for it to borrow the £1,200,000 (at 8 percent) needed to finance the ongoing Nine Years' War with France. In order to induce subscription to the loan, Montagu proposed that the subscribers were to be incorporated as The Governor and Company of the Bank of England with long-term banking privileges including the issue of notes. The lenders would give the government cash (bullion) and also issue notes against the government bonds, which could be lent again. A Royal Charter was granted on 27 July through the passage of the Tonnage Act 1694. The bank was given exclusive possession of the government's balances, and was the only limited-liability corporation allowed to issue banknotes. The £1.2M was raised in 12 days; half of this was used to rebuild the Navy.
Although this establishment of the Bank of England marks the origin of central banking, it did not have the functions of a modern central bank, namely, to regulate the value of the national currency, to finance the government, to be the sole authorized distributor of banknotes, and to function as a 'lender of last resort' to banks suffering a liquidity crisis. These modern central banking functions evolved slowly through the 18th and 19th centuries.
Although the Bank was originally a private institution, by the end of the 18th century it was increasingly being regarded as a public authority with civic responsibility toward the upkeep of a healthy financial system. The currency crisis of 1797, caused by panicked depositors withdrawing from the Bank led to the government suspending convertibility of notes into specie payment. The bank was soon accused by the bullionists of causing the exchange rate to fall from over issuing banknotes, a charge which the Bank denied. Nevertheless, it was clear that the Bank was being treated as an organ of the state.
Henry Thornton, a merchant banker and monetary theorist has been described as the father of the modern central bank. An opponent of the real bills doctrine, he was a defender of the bullionist position and a significant figure in monetary theory. Thornton's process of monetary expansion anticipated the theories of Knut Wicksell regarding the "cumulative process which restates the Quantity Theory in a theoretically coherent form". As a response to the 1797 currency crisis, Thornton wrote in 1802 An Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Paper Credit of Great Britain, in which he argued that the increase in paper credit did not cause the crisis. The book also gives a detailed account of the British monetary system as well as a detailed examination of the ways in which the Bank of England should act to counteract fluctuations in the value of the pound.
Until the mid-nineteenth century, commercial banks were able to issue their own banknotes, and notes issued by provincial banking companies were commonly in circulation. Many consider the origins of the central bank to lie with the passage of the Bank Charter Act of 1844. Under this law, authorisation to issue new banknotes was restricted to the Bank of England. At the same time, the Bank of England was restricted to issue new banknotes only if they were 100% backed by gold or up to £14 million in government debt. The Act served to restrict the supply of new notes reaching circulation, and gave the Bank of England an effective monopoly on the printing of new notes.
The Bank accepted the role of 'lender of last resort' in the 1870s after criticism of its lacklustre response to the Overend-Gurney crisis. The journalist Walter Bagehot wrote on the subject in Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market, in which he advocated for the Bank to officially become a lender of last resort during a credit crunch, sometimes referred to as "Bagehot's dictum". Paul Tucker phrased the dictum in 2009 as follows:
…to avert panic, central banks should lend early and freely (ie without limit), to solvent firms, against good collateral, and at 'high rates'.
Central banks were established in many European countries during the 19th century. Napoleon created the Banque de France in 1800, in an attempt to improve the financing of his wars. On the continent of Europe, the Bank of France remain the most important central bank throughout the 19th century. A central banking role was played by a small group of powerful family banking houses, typified by the House of Rothschild, with branches in major cities across Europe, as well as the Hottinguer family in Switzerland and the Oppenheim family in Germany.
Although central banks today are generally associated with fiat money, the 19th and early 20th centuries central banks in most of Europe and Japan developed under the international gold standard. Free banking or currency boards were common at this time. Problems with collapses of banks during downturns, however, led to wider support for central banks in those nations which did not as yet possess them, most notably in Australia.
Australia established its first central bank in 1920, Peru in 1922, Colombia in 1923, Mexico and Chile in 1925 and Canada, India and New Zealand in the aftermath of the Great Depression in 1934. By 1935, the only significant independent nation that did not possess a central bank was Brazil, which subsequently developed a precursor thereto in 1945 and the present Central Bank of Brazil twenty years later. After gaining independence, African and Asian countries also established central banks or monetary unions. The Reserve Bank of India, which had been established during British colonial rule as a private company, was nationalized in 1949 following India's independence.
The People's Bank of China evolved its role as a central bank starting in about 1979 with the introduction of market reforms, which accelerated in 1989 when the country adopted a generally capitalist approach to its export economy. Evolving further partly in response to the European Central Bank, the People's Bank of China had by 2000 become a modern central bank. The most recent bank model was introduced together with the euro, and involves coordination of the European national banks, which continue to manage their respective economies separately in all respects other than currency exchange and base interest rates.
Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury in the 1790s strongly promoted the banking system, and over heavy opposition from Jeffersonian Republicans, set up the First Bank of the United States. Jeffersonians allowed it to lapse, but the overwhelming financial difficulties of funding the War of 1812 without a central bank changed their minds. The Second Bank of the United States (1816–1836) under Nicholas Biddle functioned as a central bank, regulating the rapidly growing banking system. The role of a central bank was ended in the Bank War of the 1830s by President Andrew Jackson when he shut down the Second Bank as being too powerful and elitist.
There is no standard terminology for the name of a central bank, but many countries use the "Bank of Country" form – for example: Bank of England (which, despite its name, is in fact the central bank of the United Kingdom as a whole. The name's lack of representation of the entire United Kingdom ('Bank of Britain', for example) can be owed to the fact that its establishment occurred when the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland were separate entities (at least in name), and therefore pre-dates the merger of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, the Kingdom of Ireland's absorption into the Union and the formation of the present day United Kingdom), Bank of Canada, Bank of Mexico, Bank of Thailand.
The word "Reserve" is also often included, such as the Reserve Bank of India, Reserve Bank of Australia, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the South African Reserve Bank, and Federal Reserve System. Other central banks are known as monetary authorities such as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Maldives Monetary Authority and Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. There is an instance where native language was used to name the central bank: in the Philippines the Filipino name Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is used even in English.
Some are styled "national" banks, such as the Swiss National Bank, National Bank of Poland and National Bank of Ukraine, although the term national bank is also used for private commercial banks in some countries such as National Bank of Pakistan. In other cases, central banks may incorporate the word "Central" (for example, European Central Bank, Central Bank of Ireland, Central Bank of Brazil). In some countries, particularly in formerly Communist ones, the term national bank may be used to indicate both the monetary authority and the leading banking entity, such as the Soviet Union's Gosbank (state bank). In rare cases, central banks are styled "state" banks such as the State Bank of Pakistan and State Bank of Vietnam.
Many countries have state-owned banks or other quasi-government entities that have entirely separate functions, such as financing imports and exports. In other countries, the term national bank may be used to indicate that the central bank's goals are broader than monetary stability, such as full employment, industrial development, or other goals. Some state-owned commercial banks have names suggestive of central banks, even if they are not: examples are the State Bank of India and Central Bank of India.
The chief executive of a central bank is usually known as the Governor, President or Chair.
After the Financial crisis of 2007–2008 central banks led change, but as of 2015 their ability to boost economic growth has stalled. Central banks debate whether they should experiment with new measures like negative interest rates or direct financing of government, "lean even more on politicians to do more". Andy Haldane from the Bank of England said "central bankers may need to accept that their good old days – of adjusting interest rates to boost employment or contain inflation – may be gone for good". The European Central Bank and The Bank of Japan whose economies are in or close to deflation, continue quantitative easing – buying securities to encourage more lending.
In 2016, 75% of the world's central-bank assets were controlled by four centers in China, the United States, Japan and the eurozone. The central banks of Brazil, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the U.K., India and Russia, each account for an average of 2.5 percent. The remaining 107 central banks hold less than 13 percent. According to data compiled by Bloomberg News, the top 10 largest central banks owned $21.4 trillion in assets, a 10 percent increase from 2015.
Although it is difficult to define central banking, [...] a functional definition is most useful. [...] Capie et al. (1994) define a central bank as the government's bank, the monopoly note issuer and lender of last resort.
Its foundation in 1694 arose out the difficulties of the Government of the day in securing subscriptions to State loans. Its primary purpose was to raise and lend money to the State and in consideration of this service it received under its Charter and various Act of Parliament, certain privileges of issuing bank notes. The corporation commenced, with an assured life of twelve years after which the Government had the right to annul its Charter on giving one year's notice. '''Subsequent extensions of this period coincided generally with the grant of additional loans to the State'''
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (lit. Central Bank of the Philippines; commonly abbreviated as BSP in both Filipino and English) is the central bank of the Philippines. It was established on 3 July 1993, pursuant to the provision of Republic Act 7653 or the New Central Bank Act of 1993.Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694 to act as the English Government's banker, and still one of the bankers for the Government of the United Kingdom, it is the world's eighth-oldest bank. It was privately owned by stockholders from its foundation in 1694 until it was nationalised in 1946.The Bank became an independent public organisation in 1998, wholly owned by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the government, but with independence in setting monetary policy.The Bank is one of eight banks authorised to issue banknotes in the United Kingdom, has a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in England and Wales and regulates the issue of banknotes by commercial banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland.The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee has a devolved responsibility for managing monetary policy. The Treasury has reserve powers to give orders to the committee "if they are required in the public interest and by extreme economic circumstances", but such orders must be endorsed by Parliament within 28 days. The Bank's Financial Policy Committee held its first meeting in June 2011 as a macroprudential regulator to oversee regulation of the UK's financial sector.
The Bank's headquarters have been in London's main financial district, the City of London, on Threadneedle Street, since 1734. It is sometimes known as The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, a name taken from a satirical cartoon by James Gillray in 1797. The road junction outside is known as Bank junction.
As a regulator and central bank, the Bank of England has not offered consumer banking services for many years, but it still does manage some public-facing services such as exchanging superseded bank notes. Until 2016, the bank provided personal banking services as a privilege for employees.Bank of Italy
The Bank of Italy, known in Italian as [La] Banca d'Italia (pronounced [ˈbaŋka diˈtaːlja]), also known as Bankitalia, is the central bank of Italy and part of the European System of Central Banks. It is located in Palazzo Koch, via Nazionale, Rome. The bank's current governor is Ignazio Visco, who took the office on 1 November 2011.Brazilian real
The Brazilian real (Portuguese: real, pl. reais; sign: R$; code: BRL) is the official currency of Brazil. It is subdivided into 100 centavos. The Central Bank of Brazil is the central bank and the issuing authority.
The dollar-like sign (cifrão) in the currency's symbol (both historic and modern), and in all the other past Brazilian currencies, is officially written with two vertical strokes () rather than one. However, Unicode considers the difference to be only a matter of font design, and does not have a separate code for the two-stroked version.As of April 2016, the real is the nineteenth most traded currency in the world by value.Central Bank of Brazil
The Central Bank of Brazil (Portuguese: Banco Central do Brasil) is Brazil's central bank. It was established on December 31, 1964.
The Central Bank is linked with the Ministry of the Economy. Like other central banks, the Brazilian central bank is the principal monetary authority of the country. It received this authority when it was founded by three different institutions: the Bureau of Currency and Credit (SUMOC), the Bank of Brazil (BB), and the National Treasury.
One of the main instruments of Brazil's monetary policy is the Banco Central do Brasil's overnight rate, called the SELIC rate. It is managed by Monetary Policy Committee (COPOM) of the bank.The bank is active in promoting financial inclusion policy and is a leading member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion. It is also one of the original 17 regulatory institutions to make specific national commitments to financial inclusion under the Maya Declaration. during the 2011 Global Policy Forum in Mexico.Central Bank of India
Central Bank of India, a government-owned bank, is one of the oldest and largest commercial banks in India. It is based in Mumbai which is the financial capital of India and capital city of state of Maharashtra. Central Bank of India has a joint venture with Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, and the Zambian government. The Zambian government holds 40 per cent stake and each of the banks has 20 per cent.Central bank of India is one of 20 Public Sector banks in India to get recapitalised in 2009.Central Bank of India has approached the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for permission to open representative offices in five more locations – Singapore, Dubai, Doha and London.As on 31 March 2018, Bank has network of 4685 branches, 4886 ATMs, 10 satellite offices and 1 Extension Counter.
The pan India presence covering all 29 States, 5 out of 6 Union Territories and NCT Delhi, 574 District Head Quarters and
626 Districts out of 707 districts in the country.Central Bank of Nigeria
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the Central bank and apex monetary authority of Nigeria established by the CBN Act of 1958 and commenced operations on July 1, 1959.The major regulatory objectives of the bank as stated in the CBN Act are to: maintain the external reserves of the country, promote monetary stability and a sound financial environment, and to act as a banker of last resort and financial adviser to the federal government. The central bank's role as lender of last resort and adviser to the federal government has sometimes pushed it into murky regulatory waters. After the end of imperial rule the desire of the government to become pro-active in the development of the economy became visible especially after the end of the Nigerian civil war, the bank followed the government's desire and took a determined effort to supplement any short falls in credit allocations to the real sector. The bank soon became involved in lending directly to consumers, contravening its original intention to work through commercial banks in activities involving consumer lending. However, the policy was an offspring of the indigenisation policy at the time. Nevertheless, the government through the central bank has been actively involved in building the nation's money and equity centers, forming securities regulatory board and introducing treasury instruments into the capital market.Central Bank of Russia
The Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Russian: Центральный банк Российской Федерации Tsentral'nyy bank Rossiyskoy Federatsii) also known as the Bank of Russia (Russian: Банк России Bank Rossii) is the central bank of the Russian Federation, founded in 1860 as The State Bank of the Russian Empire, headquartered on Neglinnaya Street in Moscow. Its functions are described in the Russian constitution (Article 75) and in the special Federal Law.Deutsche Bundesbank
The Deutsche Bundesbank (pronounced [ˈdɔʏtʃə ˈbʊndəsˌbaŋk]) is the central bank of the Federal Republic of Germany and as such part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). Due to its strength and former size, the Bundesbank is the most influential member of the ESCB. Both the Bundesbank and the European Central Bank (ECB) are located in Frankfurt, Germany. It is sometimes referred to as "Buba" for Bundesbank, while its official abbreviation is BBk.The Bundesbank was established in 1957 and succeeded the Bank deutscher Länder, which introduced the Deutsche Mark on 20 June 1948. Until the euro was physically introduced in 2002, the Bundesbank was the central bank of the former Deutsche Mark ("German Mark", sometimes known in English as the "Deutschmark").The Bundesbank was the first central bank to be given full independence, leading this form of central bank to be referred to as the Bundesbank model, as opposed, for instance, to the New Zealand model, which has a goal (i.e. inflation target) set by the government. Nowadays, the ECB also uses the Bundesbank model, making the concept the foundation of the entire Euro system.
The Bundesbank was greatly respected for its control of inflation through the second half of the 20th century. This made the German Mark one of the most respected currencies, and the Bundesbank gained substantial indirect influence in many European countries.Euro
The euro (sign: €; code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union. This group of states is known as the eurozone or euro area, and counts about 343 million citizens as of 2019. The euro is the second largest and second most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar. The euro is subdivided into 100 cents.
The currency is also used officially by the institutions of the European Union, by four European microstates that are not EU members, as well as unilaterally by Montenegro and Kosovo. Outside Europe, a number of special territories of EU members also use the euro as their currency. Additionally, 240 million people worldwide as of 2018 use currencies pegged to the euro.The euro is the second largest reserve currency as well as the second most traded currency in the world after the United States dollar.
As of August 2018, with more than €1.2 trillion in circulation, the euro has one of the highest combined values of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.S. dollar.The name euro was officially adopted on 16 December 1995 in Madrid. The euro was introduced to world financial markets as an accounting currency on 1 January 1999, replacing the former European Currency Unit (ECU) at a ratio of 1:1 (US$1.1743). Physical euro coins and banknotes entered into circulation on 1 January 2002, making it the day-to-day operating currency of its original members, and by March 2002 it had completely replaced the former currencies. While the euro dropped subsequently to US$0.83 within two years (26 October 2000), it has traded above the U.S. dollar since the end of 2002, peaking at US$1.60 on 18 July 2008. In late 2009, the euro became immersed in the European sovereign-debt crisis, which led to the creation of the European Financial Stability Facility as well as other reforms aimed at stabilising and strengthening the currency.European Central Bank
The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy of the Eurozone, which consists of 19 EU member states and is one of the largest currency areas in the world. It is one of the world's most important central banks and is one of the seven institutions of the European Union (EU) listed in the Treaty on European Union (TEU). The capital stock of the bank is owned by the central banks of all 28 EU member states. The Treaty of Amsterdam established the bank in 1998, and it is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. As of 2015 the President of the ECB is Mario Draghi, former governor of the Bank of Italy, former member of the World Bank, and former managing director of the Goldman Sachs international division (2002–2005). The bank primarily occupied the Eurotower prior to, and during, the construction of the new headquarters.
The primary objective of the ECB, mandated in Article 2 of the Statute of the ECB, is to maintain price stability within the Eurozone. Its basic tasks, set out in Article 3 of the Statute, are to set and implement the monetary policy for the Eurozone, to conduct foreign exchange operations, to take care of the foreign reserves of the European System of Central Banks and operation of the financial market infrastructure under the TARGET2 payments system and the technical platform (currently being developed) for settlement of securities in Europe (TARGET2 Securities). The ECB has, under Article 16 of its Statute, the exclusive right to authorise the issuance of euro banknotes. Member states can issue euro coins, but the amount must be authorised by the ECB beforehand.
The ECB is governed by European law directly, but its set-up resembles that of a corporation in the sense that the ECB has shareholders and stock capital. Its capital is €11 billion held by the national central banks of the member states as shareholders. The initial capital allocation key was determined in 1998 on the basis of the states' population and GDP, but the capital key has been adjusted. Shares in the ECB are not transferable and cannot be used as collateral.Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve or simply the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States of America. It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, after a series of financial panics (particularly the panic of 1907) led to the desire for central control of the monetary system in order to alleviate financial crises. Over the years, events such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Great Recession during the 2000s have led to the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System.The U.S. Congress established three key objectives for monetary policy in the Federal Reserve Act: maximizing employment, stabilizing prices, and moderating long-term interest rates. The first two objectives are sometimes referred to as the Federal Reserve's dual mandate. Its duties have expanded over the years, and currently also include supervising and regulating banks, maintaining the stability of the financial system, and providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions. The Fed conducts research into the economy and provides numerous publications, such as the Beige Book and the FRED database.
The Federal Reserve System is composed of several layers. It is governed by the presidentially appointed board of governors or Federal Reserve Board (FRB). Twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, located in cities throughout the nation, regulate and oversee privately owned commercial banks. Nationally chartered commercial banks are required to hold stock in, and can elect some of the board members of, the Federal Reserve Bank of their region. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) sets monetary policy. It consists of all seven members of the board of governors and the twelve regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents, though only five bank presidents vote at a time (the president of the New York Fed and four others who rotate through one-year voting terms). There are also various advisory councils. Thus, the Federal Reserve System has both public and private components. It has a structure unique among central banks, and is also unusual in that the United States Department of the Treasury, an entity outside of the central bank, prints the currency used.The federal government sets the salaries of the board's seven governors. The federal government receives all the system's annual profits, after a statutory dividend of 6% on member banks' capital investment is paid, and an account surplus is maintained. In 2015, the Federal Reserve earned net income of $100.2 billion and transferred $97.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury. Although an instrument of the US Government, the Federal Reserve System considers itself "an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the board of governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms."G20
The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union. Founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since. It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.Membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union (EU). The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank. Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.
With the G20 growing in stature after its inaugural leaders' summit in 2008, its leaders announced on 25 September 2009 that the group would replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations. Since its inception, the G20's membership policies have been criticized by numerous intellectuals, and its summits have been a focus for major protests by left-wing groups and anarchists.The heads of the G20 nations met semi-annually at G20 summits between 2009 and 2010. Since the November 2011 Cannes summit, all G20 summits have been held annually.Monetary policy
Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country, typically the central bank or currency board, controls either the cost of very short-term borrowing or the monetary base, often targeting an inflation rate or interest rate to ensure price stability and general trust in the currency.Further goals of a monetary policy are usually to contribute to the stability of gross domestic product, to achieve and maintain low unemployment, and to maintain predictable exchange rates with other currencies.
Monetary economics provides insight into how to craft an optimal monetary policy. In developed countries, monetary policy has generally been formed separately from fiscal policy, which refers to taxation, government spending, and associated borrowing.Monetary policy is referred to as being either expansionary or contractionary. Expansionary policy occurs when a monetary authority uses its tools to stimulate the economy. An expansionary policy maintains short-term interest rates at a lower than usual rate or increases the total supply of money in the economy more rapidly than usual. It is traditionally used to try to combat unemployment in a recession by lowering interest rates in the hope that less expensive credit will entice businesses into expanding. This increases aggregate demand (the overall demand for all goods and services in an economy), which boosts short-term growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Expansionary monetary policy usually diminishes the value of the currency relative to other currencies (the exchange rate).The opposite of expansionary monetary policy is contractionary monetary policy, which maintains short-term interest rates higher than usual or which slows the rate of growth in the money supply or even shrinks it. This slows short-term economic growth and lessens inflation. Contractionary monetary policy can lead to increased unemployment and depressed borrowing and spending by consumers and businesses, which can eventually result in an economic recession if implemented too vigorously.Nigerian naira
The naira (sign: ₦; code: NGN) is the currency of Nigeria. It is subdivided into 100 kobo.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the sole issuer of legal tender money throughout the Nigerian Federation. It controls the volume of money supplied in the economy in order to ensure monetary and price stability. The Currency & Branch Operations Department of the CBN is in charge of currency management, through the procurement, distribution/supply, processing, reissue and disposal/disintegration of bank notes and coins.Norges Bank
Norges Bank / Noregs Bank is the central bank of Norway. Apart from having traditional central bank responsibilities such as financial stability and price stability, it manages The Government Pension Fund of Norway, a stabilization fund that may be the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. The limited transparency of some SWFs makes it difficult to make accurate assessments of their assets under management.On 31 December 2010, the bank had 590 employees. All Executive Board appointments are made by the King of Norway, after a decision by the Council of State. The Chairman of the Executive Board, Øystein Olsen, who presides over the bank, is also the acting Central Bank Governor. Both the Governor and the Deputy Governor make speaking appearances across the country on a number of occasions each year.People's Bank of China
The People's Bank of China (PBC or PBOC; Chinese: 中国人民银行; pinyin: Zhōngguó Rénmín Yínháng) is the central bank of the People's Republic of China responsible for carrying out monetary policy and regulation of financial institutions in mainland China, as determined by Bank Law. Valued at US$3.21 trillion, The People's Bank of China has had the largest financial asset holdings of any central bank in the world since July 2017. Though possessing a high degree of independence by Chinese standards, it remains a department of the State Council.Reserve Bank of India
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is India's central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Indian rupee. Until the Monetary Policy Committee was established in 2016, it also controlled monetary policy in India. It commenced its operations on 1 April 1935 in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. The original share capital was divided into shares of 100 each fully paid, which were initially owned entirely by private shareholders. Following India's independence on 15 August 1947, the RBI was nationalised on 1 January 1949.The RBI plays an important part in the Development Strategy of the Government of India. It is a member bank of the Asian Clearing Union. The general superintendence and direction of the RBI is entrusted with the 21-member central board of directors: the governor; four deputy governors; two finance ministry representatives (usually the Economic Affairs Secretary and the Financial Services Secretary); ten government-nominated directors to represent important elements of India's economy; and four directors to represent local boards headquartered at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and the capital New Delhi. Each of these local boards consists of five members who represent regional interests, the interests of co-operative and indigenous banks.
The central bank was an independent apex monetary authority which regulates banks and provides important financial services like storing of foreign exchange reserves, control of inflation, monetary policy report till August 2016. A central bank is known by different names in different countries. The functions of a central bank vary from country to country and are autonomous or quasi-autonomous body and perform or through another agency vital monetary functions in the country. A central bank is a vital financial apex institution of an economy and the key objects of central banks may differ from country to country still they perform activities and functions with the goal of maintaining economic stability and growth of an economy.The bank is also active in promoting financial inclusion policy and is a leading member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). The bank is often referred to by the name Mint Street. RBI is also known as banker's bank.Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is the central bank of Zimbabwe headquartered in the capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare.