Three central banks in the past 24 hours have reiterated their commitment to easy money. Norway and Sweden both announced earlier this morning they will maintain rates at current levels (1.5 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively) in order to "support economic recovery." Yesterday Canada removed rate hike language from its own press release, implying low rates for longer.
Their actions (or lack of, depending on your perspective) should come as no surprise. Nine additional central banks have lowered benchmark lending rates since September.
Banks around the world are clearly concerned about the tepid level of growth in the global economy. They're providing as much liquidity as possible in hopes of making capital available to borrowers... an understandable orientation given the IMF announcement last week to lower its own global growth forecast, to 2.9 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2014 from a previous 3.1 percent and 3.8 percent.
So what's a banker to do? Follow the granddaddy of all bankers, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. To borrow a phrase, "Maintain policy accommodation for an extended period." Here's what that accommodation looks like:
Accommodation has swollen the Fed's balance sheet to a record $3.8 trillion. This train shows no immediate sign of slowing into the station, as the $85 billion monthly purchases will likely continue well into 2014 according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg last week.
Fiscal conservatives may despair, but investors certainly aren't. They know one immutable fact: As goes the Fed printing press, so goes the stock market. Everyone on twitter is buzzing about this chart. Take a look, it's all you need to know. All aboard.