In the complex landscape of macroeconomic dynamics, central banks’ forays into monetary expansion, particularly via open-market operations and other liquidity instruments, often occupy center stage in fiscal discourses. A salient illustration is the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) recent dalliance with unconventional monetary policy tools, leading to palpable liquidity augmentation.
To demystify the current monetary milieu, an examination of liquidity aggregates is instructive. For August 2023, the narrow money supply, termed M1, encompassing both currency in circulation and demand deposits, stood robustly at 25,963,970 PKR Million. Dissecting M2 to extricate M1 provides an elucidation of quasi-monetary components. These include, but are not limited to, savings deposits, term deposits, and non-institutional money-market mutual funds.
An empirical assessment for August delineates a monetary landscape where M1 amounted to 25,963,970 PKR Million, whilst the quasi-money, representing financial assets with higher liquidity transformation, resonated at 5,244,804 PKR Million.
Amidst this monetary backdrop, Pakistan’s discussions about demonetizing the Rs 5000 note are intensifying, notably due to its probable effects on M1. Supporters believe that demonetization can curb black money and counterfeiting, prompting a digital transaction shift and potentially enhancing bank liquidity. Conversely, skeptics caution about immediate disturbances, particularly for sectors reliant on cash, and the persistent efficacy against black money and counterfeit schemes. Furthermore, this abrupt change in the money supply might induce inflationary pressures.
However, this expansionary monetary stance is not devoid of intricate ramifications. Primarily, an engorged monetary base, though consonant with the Keynesian doctrine of demand-side stimulus, incubates inflationary pressures. This is a classic manifestation of the Quantity Theory of Money, where a surfeit of monetary units competes for a relatively static basket of goods and services, precipitating a price level upswing. Concurrently, potential repercussions on the foreign exchange market can’t be eschewed. An inflated domestic monetary base may exert depreciative pressures on the local currency, rendering imports costlier and thereby accentuating imported inflation.
The challenges don’t just reside in inflation. Utilizing the Mundell-Fleming model as a lens, we can infer that such a monetary policy can lead to currency depreciation, further complicating the macroeconomic scenario in a world of high capital mobility. Additionally, an aggressive monetary expansion can lead to a rightward shift in the LM curve, potentially leading to higher interest rates if countered by contractionary measures. This scenario, in turn, might depress the Investment-Savings curve, signaling a slowdown in economic activity.
Further intricacies arise if the augmented liquidity is directed towards bolstering sovereign debt, stirring concerns about the nation’s fiscal discipline and solvency. Over time, this trajectory can amplify the sovereign risk premium, raising public debt service costs.
An oversized government credit absorption might overshadow the private sector, stifling entrepreneurial endeavors—a phenomenon known as ‘crowding out.’
In conclusion, while proactive monetary strategies can provide short-term relief, an overemphasis may risk upsetting the fragile balance of economic indicators. Crafting a sound monetary policy requires a judicious consideration of immediate concerns, balanced against the long-term vision of macroeconomic stability.
The author is a dynamic academician, trainer and researcher who has a multidisciplinary background in Economics, Blue Economy, Ecofeminism, Institutional Governance, and Climate Change. Internationally, he has been affiliated with the Rensselaer University, Harvard University, Cambridge University, and the University of Bern-Switzerland, amongst several others. He also serves as the Board of Director for Maritime Study Forum, Islamabad. He is a visiting Professor at Institut Supérieur d’Economie et de Management Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis France, Tsinghua University, Beijing, Peoples Republic of China.