Fractional-reserve banking is the banking practice in which banks are required by governments to keep only a fraction of their deposits in reserve (as cash and other highly liquid assets) with the choice of lending out the remainder, while maintaining the simultaneous obligation to redeem all deposits immediately upon demand. This practice is universal in modern banking.
The process of fractional-reserve banking has a cumulative effect of money creation by banks. In short, there are two types of money in a fractional-reserve banking system: 1. central bank money (money created by the central bank regardless of its form (banknotes, coins and electronic money loaned to commercial banks))
2. commercial bank money (money created through loans in the banking system) - sometimes referred to as chequebook money
When a loan is funded with central bank money, new commercial bank money is created. As a loan is paid back, the commercial bank money disappears from existence.
Effects of an increased money supply
Fractional reserve banking involves the issuance and creation of commercial bank money, which increases the money supply on an exponential basis. According to the quantity theory of money, this increase in the money supply leads to more money "chasing" the same amount of goods, which leads to inflation.
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time. The term "inflation" once referred to increases in the money supply (monetary inflation); however, economic debates about the relationship between money supply and price levels have led to its primary use today in describing price inflation. Inflation can also be described as a decline in the real value of money—a loss of purchasing power in the medium of exchange which is also the monetary unit of account. When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, which is the percentage change in a price index over time.
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