QE boosts net household wealth by £600bn

According to the Bank of England's latest report into the effects of quantitative easing, households are now £600m better off as a result of the £375bn cash injection. But it's mainly the rich getting richer.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The positive effects of QE have not been felt by everyone, it seems. Crunching ONS data, the BoE has found that the richest 10% of the population are the ones who have benefitted the most, gaining (a, quite frankly, hard to believe) £129,000 per household.

If you drill down even deeper into the data, it is really the asset hoarders - those who own their own property - who have seen the greatest boost: namely pensioners and workers nearing retirement who own houses and share portfolios that account for more than half of those household assets. This is pretty interesting, given the amount of ire directed at government over QE lowering annuity rates and impoverishing pensioners.

While annuity rates have dropped, asset values are much higher. As a result, the Bank has concluded that the overall effect on annuities has been 'broadly neutral'. On the flipside, QE has hurt pensions by increasing the deficits of many final-salary schemes. But today's pensioners won't be the ones to suffer. It is those who are retiring in 10 to 20 years who will feel the pain of these increases. As the BoE summed up: 'the burden of these deficits is likely to fall on employers and future employees, rather than those coming up for retirement now'.

The report paints a worrying picture for today's young people. Those who are looking to get on the property ladder and start saving will find it much tougher than previous generations as QE makes houses less affordable by pushing up prices. Record low interest rates of 0.5% haven't helped either, as it becomes every harder to build up a deposit. As ever, the sins of the fathers shall be visited on the sons...

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