The past week in monetary policy saw interest rate decisions announced by 7 central banks. The only bank to announce a change to its main monetary policy interest rate was the Banco Central do Brasil, which cut its interest rate by another 50 basis points to 11.50%. Meanwhile the other central banks held their key interest rates unchanged: Botswana 9.50%, Norway 2.25%, Thailand 3.50%, Ghana 12.50%, Philippines 4.50%, and Turkey 5.75%. A common theme mentioned by the central bankers was concern over signs of slowing global growth and the potential risks arising from the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe.
Some of the key quotes and soundbites from central bankers announcing monetary policy decisions during the past week are included below:
- Banco Central do Brasil (cut rate -50bps to 11.50%): "Continuing the process of adjusting monetary conditions, the Committee decided unanimously to reduce the Selic rate to 11.50% pa, without bias. The Monetary Policy Committee believes that the timely mitigate the effects coming from a more restrictive global environment, a moderate adjustment in the level of the base rate is consistent with the scenario of convergence of inflation to the target in 2012."
- Bank of Thailand (held rate at 3.50%): "The MPC deemed that the current level of the policy rate is appropriate in addressing upcoming inflationary pressure and supporting economic adjustments amidst heightened uncertainty in the global economy. Meanwhile, with the floods not yet over, their impact on the economy was not fully evident."
- Central Bank of Turkey (held rate at 5.75%): "Recent data releases suggest that there will be a notable reduction in economic growth in the second half of the year. External demand remains weak, and domestic demand continues to slow down. The deceleration in credit growth and domestic demand combined with the exchange rate movements have been contributing to the rebalancing of domestic and external demand. Accordingly, the Committee expects a significant improvement in the current account balance in the forthcoming period."
- Norges Bank (held rate at 2.25%): "The Executive Board is of the view that the outlook and the balance of risks now suggest that the key policy rate should be kept at the current level for some time ahead. If the economic unrest abroad intensifies, money market premiums remain high and the outlook for growth and inflation weakens further, the key rate may be reduced. If financial market turbulence subsides and there are prospects of higher growth and inflation, the key rate may rise."
- Bank of Botswana (held rate at 9.50%): "While short-term price developments have resulted in inflation remaining above the objective range of 3 - 6 percent, the medium-term outlook for consumer prices is more encouraging. As a result, the Committee judged that maintaining the Bank Rate at the current level is consistent with inflation converging on the objective range in the medium term."
- Bank of Ghana (held rate at 12.50%): "Looking ahead, wage pressures, payment arrears and recent depreciation of the exchange rate have increased the upside risks to inflation. In the short-term, the impact of these underlying inflationary pressures on the economy remains contained. The Bank's inflation forecasts show that the end year target will be achieved. Movements in the exchange rate remain consistent with the delivery of the Bank's inflation target."