Friday, July 22, 2011

Monetary Policy Week in Review - 23 July 2011

The past week in monetary policy was relatively quiet, with just five central banks announcing interest rate decisions.  The only central bank to adjust rates was the Banco Central do Brasil, which increased its Selic rate by 25 basis points to 12.50%.  The other banks that held rates unchanged were: Canada at 1.00%, South Africa at 5.50%, Turkey at 6.25%, and Egypt at 8.25%.  Elsewhere in central banking, Taiwan's central bank increased commercial bank minimum liquidity requirements as part of an ongoing program to strengthen risk management in the banking system.

So for the central banks that reviewed monetary policy settings it was very much a case of wait and see, with the banks largely viewing current settings as appropriate.  Indeed if holding rates steady was the theme, the BRIC economy Brazil was consistent with this even though it increased rates, in that the Brazilian central bank slightly altered the tone of its statement; perhaps hinting that it is near the end of its tightening cycle.  Another theme within this was strong vigilance of risks, particularly those emanating from the Euro area, with still high levels of uncertainty as to how the crisis will unfold.

Listed below are some of the key quotes from central bank monetary policy statements and media releases from the week ending 23 July 2011:
  • Bank of Canada (held interest rate at 1.00%): "To the extent that the expansion continues and the current material excess supply in the economy is gradually absorbed, some of the considerable monetary policy stimulus currently in place will be withdrawn, consistent with achieving the 2.0 percent inflation target.  Such reduction would need to be carefully considered".
  • Banco Central do Brasil (increased rate +25bps to 12.50%): "evaluating the prospective scenario and the balance of risks for inflation, the Copom decided, unanimously, at this moment, to raise the Selic rate to 12.50% p.a., with a neutral bias."
  • South African Reserve Bank (held interest rate at 5.50%): "The MPC is not complacent and will remain vigilant and continue to monitor closely any indications of second-round effects on inflation emanating from these cost pressures as well as the changing risk profile of the inflation outlook."... "The view of the MPC continues to be that the underlying inflation pressures are mainly of a cost push nature, notwithstanding signs of a possible moderate increase in underlying inflation."
  • Central Bank of Turkey (held interest rate at 6.25%): "it would be appropriate to narrow the interest corridor gradually should the sovereign debt problems regarding some European economies and the concerns on global growth continue to have adverse impact on the risk appetite.  The Committee has also stated that all policy instruments may be eased should global economic problems intensify and lead to a contraction in domestic economic activity."
  • Central Bank of Egypt (held interest rate at 8.25%): "the slowdown in economic growth should limit upside risks to the inflation outlook. Given the balance of risks on the inflation and GDP outlooks and the increased uncertainty at this juncture, the MPC judges that the current key CBE rates are appropriate." 
Next week is set to be relatively busy in terms of monetary policy decisions, with at least 8 central banks scheduled to review policy settings. Many of the banks are in emerging market countries so it will be timely to get an update on what they are thinking about and concerned about:
  • ILS - Israel (Bank of Israel) - expected to hold at 3.25% on the 25th of July
  • HUF - Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank) - expected to hold at 6.00% on the 26th of July
  • INR - India (Reserve Bank of India) - may increase rate 25bps to 7.75% on the 26th of July
  • NGN - Nigeria (Central Bank of Nigeria) - may increase rate 50bps to 8.50% on the 26th of July
  • KES - Kenya (Central Bank of Kenya) - expected to hold at 6.25% on the 27th of July
  • NZD - New Zealand (RBNZ) - expected to hold at 2.50% on the 28th of July
  • PHP - Philippines (Bankgo Sentral ng Pilipinas) - expected to hold at 4.50% on the 28th of July
  • PKR - Pakistan (State Bank of Pakistan) - expected to hold at 14.00% on the 30th of July


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