Saturday, October 29, 2011

Monetary Policy Week in Review - 30 Oct 2011

The past week in monetary policy saw 15 central banks announce interest rate decisions.  Those that increased interest rates were: India +25bps to 8.50%, and Mongolia +50bps to 12.25%, while those that decreased interest rates were: The Gambia -100bps to 14.00%, Sierra Leone -300bps to 20.00%, and Georgia -25bps to 7.25%.  Also announced was Angola's central bank setting its new benchmark interest rate at 10.50%.  The central banks that held interest rates unchanged were: Israel 3.00%, Canada 1.00%, Hungary 6.00%, New Zealand 2.50%, Japan 0-0.10%, Russia 8.25%, Namibia 6.00%, Sweden 2.00%, and Colombia 4.50%.  Also in the news was the Bank of Japan announcing a 5 trillion yen addition to its quantitative easing program.

With just two months left in the year this week's summary chart shows a good representation of monetary policy this year. The key word of course is diversity. On the one hand there is developed markets with unusually low interest rates (and low growth and low inflation pressures). While on the other hand is the emerging and developing markets with much higher interest rates (and relatively higher growth rates and inflationary pressures). Even within developing economies there is diversity in the trajectory of interest rates as some begin to feel the pinch of policy tightening, paired with the deteriorating outlook in western economies, and in particular the ongoing sovereign debt issues in Europe (short-term crisis-containment measures notwithstanding).

Some of the key quotes from the monetary policy makers are included below:
  • Reserve Bank of India (increased rate 25bps to 8.50%): "both inflation and inflation expectations remain high. Inflation is broad-based, and is above the comfort level of the Reserve Bank. We expect these levels to persist for two more months. There are potential risks of expectations becoming unhinged in the event of a pre-mature change in the policy stance. However, reassuringly, momentum indicators, particularly the de-seasonalised quarter-on-quarter headline and core inflation measures, indicate moderation. This is consistent with the projection that inflation will decline beginning December 2011."
  • Bank of Japan (added 5 trillion to QE): "some more time will be needed to confirm that price stability is in sight and due attention is needed for the risk that the economic and price outlook will further deteriorate depending on developments in  global financial markets and overseas economies.  While steadily implementing its decision in August to enhance monetary easing, especially through the purchase of financial assets, the Bank deemed it necessary to further enhance monetary easing so as to ensure a successful transition to a sustainable growth path with price stability."
  • Central Bank of Russia (held rate at 8.25%): "Considering recent domestic and international macroeconomic developments and the effect of the monetary policy measures, implemented in recent months, the Bank of Russiajudged that the current level of money market interest rates is appropriate to balance the inflationary risks and the risks of economic growth slowdown in the nearest future"
  • Bank of Mongolia (increased rate 50bps to 12.25%): "The rapid expansion of budget expense, cash hand-out from the Human Development Fund and the high increase in loans are contributing to higher demand. This sharp increase in demand builds the pressure on core inflation even the total supply and the real capacity of economy have not added on yet. The consecutive growth in prices of non-food products from the beginning of 2011 and the current stand in yoy 11.3% prove that the increase of total demand is bringing the growth of core price."
  • Riksbank (held rate at 2.00%): "The difficulties in resolving the public finance crisis in Europe has led to increased uncertainty regarding the future. In Sweden, growth is expected to be slightly weaker in the coming period. At the same time, inflationary pressure is low. The Executive Board of the Riksbank has therefore decided to hold the repo rate unchanged at 2 per cent and to wait to increase it until sometime next year."
  • Bank of Canada (held at 1.00%): "The global economy has slowed markedly as several downside risks to the projection outlined in the Bank's July Monetary Policy Report (MPR) have been realized. Financial market volatility has increased and there has been a generalized retrenchment from risk-taking across global markets. The combination of ongoing deleveraging by banks and households, increased fiscal austerity and declining business and consumer confidence is expected to restrain growth across the advanced economies.  The Bank now expects that the euro area—where these dynamics are most acute—will experience a brief recession." 
  • Reserve Bank of New Zealand (held rate at 2.50%): "Given the ongoing global economic and financial risks, it remains prudent to continue to keep the OCR on hold at 2.5 percent for now. However, if global developments have only a mild impact on the New Zealand economy, it is likely that gradually increasing pressure on domestic resources will require future OCR increases."

Looking at the central bank calendar, next week will be a very interesting week in central banking with the very important US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank both announcing monetary policy decisions.  All eyes will be focused on whether the US FOMC announces or hints at any further quantitative easing; meanwhile people will be watching to see if the new ECB president, Mario Draghi, decides to cut the interest rate or provide any other supportive measures to aid the faltering Eurozone economies.
  • AUS - Australia (Reserve Bank of Australia) expected to hold at 4.75% on the 1st of Nov
  • ISK - Iceland (Central Bank of Iceland) expected to hold at 4.50% on the 2nd of Nov
  • USD - USA (Federal Reserve) expected to hold at 0-0.25% on the 2nd of Nov
  • CZK - Czech Republic (Czech National Bank) expected to hold at 0.75% on the 3rd of Nov
  • EUR - Eurozone (European Central Bank) expected to hold at 1.50% on the 3rd of Nov


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