So QEII is $600bn, to be completed by the middle of next year. A figure of $500bn was the widely-given estimate, and it seemed reasonable that the Fed would want to surprise the markets to the upside — but a bit of a surprise should therefore have been in the price, and this is a bit of a surprise, as opposed to the “shock and awe” of $1tr.

How are the markets going to react? Risk assets may well drop in the short term, exhausted by their latest rally and without a proper surprise to keep them going. On the other hand, once QE starts to have an effect, I expect a choppy upward move as liquidity flows into risk assets overcome waves of panicky bearishness.

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