Money Supply

Money is anything that is widely accepted as a method of payment. However, credit cards are not considered to be “money”, they are just a convenient loan. Stocks and bonds are also not generally accepted as payment. The Money Supply (MS) is the total cash in circulation and bank account deposits. Changes in the money supply affects rate of inflation, the exchange rate and the business cycle.

money supply

How is the Money Supply Measured?

The money supply is measured through monetary aggregates, usually classified as types of “M”s. They range from narrow to broad measures of money supply.

Money Supply M1

Transactions money: This includes cash + checking + travelers checks + money orders

In the U.S. economy, this makes up roughly $1.4 trillion or 10% of GDP.

The most volatile monetary aggregate is the transfer from checking to saving.

Money Supply M2

This is M1 + savings account + individually held money market mutual funds (MMMFs), Money Market deposit accounts + small Certificate of Deposit (CD). M2 is a broader measure of money supply.

In the U.S. economy, this mkaes up roughly $7.5 trillion or 50% of GDP

Money Market Mutual Funds (MMMFs) – is the share price of a mutual fund. Regular mutual funds would buy commodities, stocks  & bonds. A MMMF holds only money market asset like treasury bills, commercial papers (short term loans).

Ex: $100m from checking to MMMF

If M1 goes down by $100m, M2 remains the same as it contains M1.

Why is the Money Supply Important?

It affects variables like:

1. Price level

The price level tends to be higher when MS levels increase.

2. Inflation

Higher MS growth rates tends to cause higher rates of inflation.

  • Hyperinflation – very high rates of inflation,  >50% /month
  • Money demand – people’s demand for money for transactions and savings

3. Recession

Recessions are linked to steep declines in MS growth.

How is the Money Supply Measured?


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