I have been trying to find a reliable source for the UK money supply over the past couple of decades, but it seems that in each different place I look I get completely different looking answers. Now I am aware that there are different measures of the money supply (M1, M2 etc) and I am also aware that these are defined differently in different countries, I am also aware that these definitions change from time to time.

What I would really like is the sum of instantly spendable British money that is currently possessed by all individuals and businesses. So I think this is the sum of notes&coins held outside banks plus the sum total of all sterling denominated demand deposits.

Certainly notes&coins on their own is not what I'm after because there is much more spendable money than that. This measure would be too small.

Also certainly I do not want to include the value of bonds or shares owned by people because that has to be sold (taking money from someone else) in order to convert their value into money. This measure would be too large.

I suspect that the data is probably available on this page on the Bank of England website, but there are so many choices and so much jargon that I am not at all confident of choosing the right data. Can anyone give me any pointers?


1 Answer 1


"What I would really like is the sum of instantly spendable British money that is currently possessed by all individuals and businesses"

The closest to what you want is $M1$ measure (see the informative table in the wikipedia article), but it seems that Bank of England does not provide it in its webpage (see the "explanatory notes" subpage if you want to learn what the different measures include).

This site provides the $M1$ measure and it appears you can export the data too.

On the same site, consider also the $M2$ measure. It includes "near-money" (i.e. assets that are quickly and easily converted into cash) and many economists consider it to be more representative of "money supply".

Here is the answer I received from Bank of England

Our Bankstats tables can be found here - www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/pages/bankstats/current/default.aspx

We publish M1 and M2 data in Bankstats table A2.3. Data is monthly and split into Seasonally adjusted and Not seasonally adjusted and then split again into Amounts outstanding, Changes and Growth rates. These are all shown on different tabs within the table.

For more details about the components and construction of these money measures, please see the M3 explanatory note which can be found here www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/Pages/iadb/notesiadb/m3.aspx

The table they refer to has the title "$M3$" but if you download the spreadsheet you will see that it contains also $M1$ and $M2$ measures.

  • $\begingroup$ I had seen that already - but I noticed that it said the source was the Bank of England - so I assumed that I should be able to find a graph on the BoE website that looked the same - I failed :-( also that wiki page only defines M0 and M4 for the United Kingdom. $\endgroup$
    – Mick
    Dec 2, 2016 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Mick ok then I will contact BoE to help us out here. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2016 at 14:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.