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Global Money Supply (2008 Update)

This essay makes comparisons between the money supply of 25 selected economic areas and discusses the ratios between the values of official gold reserves to outstanding currency.

For the purposes of this essay, the Euro-Zone includes the thirteen countries that use the Euro currency: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. China includes Hong Kong. All other economic areas are individual countries.

These 25 economic areas include 38 countries and make up 89.6% of the world's GDP and 65.1% of the world's population.

Monetary Aggregates for Selected Countries

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has a link on their website which lists all of the central banks for different countries. The following charts use money supply data from these official websites. The link to the raw data is at each country's name.

There exists variability in the methodology for calculating different monetary aggregates. This makes cross-country comparisons difficult. Money is defined across a continuum from narrow money that includes highly liquid forms of money (money as a means of exchange) to broad money that covers less liquid forms of money (money as a store of value).

In general terms, M0 refers to outstanding currency (banknotes and coins) in circulation excluding vault cash. M1 is currency plus overnight (demand) deposits plus vault cash. M2 includes the sum of M1 and savings deposits (agreed maturity of up to two years or deposits redeemable at notice of up to three months). M3 is the sum of M2 and repurchase agreements, money market fund shares/units and debt securities up to two years.

Additionally, not every country publishes all four of the common monetary aggregates.

For instance, the Bank of England does not publish official numbers for M1, M2 or M3. For this article, estimates using European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) aggregates for the U.K. are used. These standards are based on those employed by the European Union.

Some countries, such as the U.S. do not officially publish M0. Where available, figures for outstanding currency in circulation were used. The U.S. Federal Reserve ceased publishing M3 on May 23, 2006. However, various independent sources have continued to publish U.S. M3 figures and one such source is used here for U.S. M3 money supply.

The money supply levels for each country were converted into U.S. dollars on July 11, 2008 at the displayed exchange rates for ease of comparison. The last column shows the date at which the money supply data is taken from.

Name of Country M0 (US$bn) M1 (US$bn) M2 (US$bn) M3 (US$bn) Exchange (1USD = ) Date Taken
Australia 37.7 208.0 459.3 962.0 1.0426 AUD Apr-08
Brazil 56.3 114.3 519.2 1,060.8 1.6141 BRL May-08
Canada 49.0 386.6 800.1 1,228.6 1.0114 CAD May-08
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Posted in Monetary Commentary, Mike Hewitt

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