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This year's fireworks will be from central banks

Halloween is over and winter is fast approaching. The nights are drawing in and the weather is getting colder.

In the U.K. this week, the streets and skies will be alight with firework displays for Bonfire Night. Next week, India will be doing similar for its Deepavali celebrations.

But this year, the real fireworks will be coming from the top policymakers at the world's central banks.


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Mario Draghi and his team at the European Central Bank last month gave more than a hint that its 1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) quantitative easing (QE) program will be extended or ramped higher in December. Within 24 hours, the Chinese central bank had cut its main benchmark rate for the sixth time since November last year.

By the following Sunday, both Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, and Vice Chairman Fritz Zurbruegg, from the Swiss National Bank, were both penning dovish messages in their country's national newspapers.

Last week, Sweden's Riksbank decided to expand its own program. The Bank of Japan and the Central Bank of Russia, meanwhile, kept rates on hold. But, it's only a matter of time. The latter signaled that it would cut rates in the coming months. The former is gearing up to increase the size of the asset purchases in the hope of boosting inflation.

Altering rates and QE - or even just hinting at the prospect - can be one way that a country's central bank can intervene against currency fluctuations, despite it supposedly not being a primary goal for policymakers. However, a lower exchange rate can boost exports and provide a short-term fillip for an economy.

Natixis, a French corporate and investment bank, predicts that the BoJ will soon add 5 trillion Japanese yen ($44 billion) to its program with larger purchases of exchange traded funds (ETFs), Japan's real estate investment trusts (J-REITs), corporate bonds and commercial paper.

Forget "currency wars," this will be yet another global display of glittering easy money after years of ultra-low rates. Expect fountains of liquidity, soaring balance sheets and shooting exchange rates as policymakers try to ignite their economies.

Matthew Beesley, head of global equities at Henderson Global Investors, estimates that there's been over 70 different central bank "easings" during 2015. And there'll be more to come, no doubt.

Political wrangling in Greece and a scandal at Volkswagen did little to lower the single currency this summer. Thus, Draghi will have to get really "trigger happy" to produce the desired effects and cause his counterparts at other central banks to grow increasingly desperate.

Will the U.S. Federal Reserve be the only central bank to dampen the mood with a rate rise this winter? Can it really tighten after disappointing data last week on personal income and consumer confidence?

Whatever the outcome, it's going to be an interesting finale to 2015 for asset markets. Enjoy the show.