14 September - Northern Rock is bailed out. Deploying monetary policy in a precursor to quantitative easing, the Bank of England opens a facility allowing high street lenders to tap central bank reserves at cheap rate.
15 September: Lehman Brothers crashes, ending a run of rescue operations that saw investment banks Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch swallowed by rivals. In the aftermath major lenders - mostly banks in the US, the UK, Japan and Europe - are bailed out by their respective governments as the global financial system plunges into crisis.
8 October - In response to the growing financial crisis the Bank of England cuts interest rates by half a percentage point in a co-ordinated move with the central banks in the US, the eurozone, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden and Canada. More interest rate cuts follow. US Congress backs $700bn (£460bn) Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp) and $250bn bank share purchase plans, forcing Goldman Sachs among others to boost reserves with government loan.
25 November: the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, unveils an $800bn quantitative easing (QE) plan. This involves printing money to buy assets off financial institutions, in the expectation that they will reinvest the funds in the wider economy. It includes spending $100bn buying mortgages from providers Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac and $500bn on mortgage-backed securities issued by banks.
5 March: The Bank of England launches its QE programme with an initial spending target of £75bn. Threadneedle Street refuses to buy mortgage debt from lenders. It focuses on safe assets, mainly long-term government bonds. It also cuts the base interest rate to 0.5%.
18 March: The Federal Reserve increase its QEdebt pile by $1 trillion, adding government debt to the mortgages on its balance sheet. US stock markets rally and the dollar falls in value.
25 March: The Bank of England begins buying corporate bonds to boost lending to companies.
2 May: In a move that signals the start of the eurozone crisis, Greece is bailed out for the first time, after eurozone finance ministers agree to grant the country rescue loans worth €110bn (£84bn).
3 November: The Federal Reserve targets consumer loans with a $400bn programme. Car loans tops list of consumer debt bought by the Fed.
10 October: The Bank of England’s rate-setting monetary policy committee endorses a further £50bn worth of QE, taking total purchases of government bonds to £275bn. It later increases the total to £375bn.
12 July: A Bank of England report says the well-off, who have investments such as pensions and property, benefit from QE more than the poorest.
13 July: The Bank of England and the Treasury announce the Funding for Lending scheme that subsidises lending by banks and building societies. It is credited with reducing loan and mortgage rates, but fails to increase lending to businesses.
26 July: Amid growing concerns that Italy and Spain would be unable to re-finance their debts, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi says he will do “whatever it takes” to maintain the stability of the eurozone.
20 February: The Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, and two other monetary policy commiteemembers are outvoted on the MPC after calling for an increase in QE.
4 April: Japan’s central bank boss Haruhiko Kuroda promises to unleash a massive QE programme worth $1.4tn (£923bn) that will double the country’s money supply.
October: The Federal Reserve buys its last $15bn of bonds under QE, freezing the amount spent under the policy at just below $4 trillion.
6 November: Draghi gives a strong signal that QE for the eurozone is on its way. He says: “Should it become necessary to further address risks of too prolonged a period of low inflation, the governing council is unanimous in its commitment to using additional unconventional instruments within its mandate.”
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