The monetary base-a statistical note

Quarterly Bulletin 1981 Q1
Published on 01 March 1981

This note describes possible components of the monetary base and provides statistics back to 1919.

Although 'monetary base' is a term in common use in discussions on monetary control, there is in fact no universally accepted definition of it. Nevertheless, in general terms the monetary base comprises some or all of the liabilities of the monetary authorities. These are primarily the liabilities of the Bank of England (the remainder being coin issued by the Royal Mint), and statistics are available over a long period. The purpose of this note is to describe these statistics, including something of their history, and to provide tables containing monthly information from 1961 to date, and annual averages back to 1919. Most of the note is related to the Bank Return, a summary balance sheet of the Bank of England, which has been published weekly since 1844.

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