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RBA Keeps Qualitative Easing Documents Under Wraps

Michael Heath

(Bloomberg) -- Australia’s central bank said it found 10 items relevant to a Bloomberg Freedom of Information request for documents relating to unconventional monetary policy. But it’s not releasing any of them.

It wouldn’t even provide titles for nine of the documents as that would deliver “significant pointers’’ to their intended use, according to Anthony Dickman, secretary at the Reserve Bank of Australia, in an email Wednesday.

“There is one that I can tell you is titled ‘Unconventional Monetary Policy spreadsheet’,” he said.

The freedom of information request sought documents compiled since Jan. 1 on the potential implementation of unconventional monetary policy, specifically any analysis or estimates of tools that would be appropriate to the nation’s economy and financial markets. Among reasons cited for withholding them:

“Prior knowledge of some of the bank’s possible actions in a quantitative easing scenario could reasonably be expected to diminish the value of those possible actions’’;“The documents represent the bank’s options/possible actions in a quantitative easing scenario and that revealing such information could reasonably be expected to compromise the effectiveness of the bank’s possible policy actions’’; and“Disclosure of the bank’s response options in a quantitative easing scenario could reasonably be expected to damage the economy by undermining the bank’s options/possible actions.’’

Dickman added: “It is my view that the bank must be very cautious about its disclosures in respect of quantitative easing issues, for the aforementioned effects that such disclosures could have on the bank’s ability to act effectively in a situation where quantitative easing might be a policy option.’’

Earlier today, the RBA reiterated some of its thinking on unconventional monetary policy in a response to written questions from an Australian lawmaker. Dickman did provide a link to these.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net, Chris Bourke, Edward Johnson

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