Monetary policy: Week in review (Nov 17, 2011)

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The review below comes courtesy of Central Bank News, an authoritative source of monetary policy news from around the globe.

The past week in monetary policy saw interest rate decisions announced by 11 central banks.  Of those adjusting interest rates, all were reductions; Mozambique -100bps to 15.00%, Mauritius -10bps to 5.40%, Norway -50bps to 1.75%, and Denmark -10bps to 0.70%.  Meanwhile those that held interest rates unchanged were: US 0-0.25%, Hong Kong 0.50%, Chile 5.25%, Switzerland 0-0.25%, Sri Lanka 7.00%, India 8.50%, and Colombia 4.75%.  The US FOMC also announced no changes to its quantitative easing programs, and the Swiss National Bank maintained a strong stance on its exchange rate floor with the Euro.

Following are some of the key quotes from the central banks that announced monetary policy decisions over the past week:

  • Reserve Bank of India (held rate at 8.50%):  “On the domestic front, growth is clearly decelerating. This reflects the combined impact of several factors: the uncertain global environment, the cumulative impact of past monetary policy tightening and domestic policy uncertainties.Both inflation and inflation expectations are currently above the comfort level of the Reserve Bank. However, reassuringly, inflationary pressures are expected to abate in the coming months despite high crude oil prices and rupee depreciation. The growth deceleration is contributing to a decline in inflation momentum, which is also being helped by softening food inflation.”
  • Norges Bank (dropped rate 50bps to 1.75%):  “The turbulence in financial markets has intensified and external growth is now expected to be clearly weaker, particularly in the euro area. In order to dampen the impact on the Norwegian economy, the Executive Board has decided to lower the key policy rate.”  The Bank further noted: In order to guard against an economic setback and even lower inflation, we are of the view that a reduction in the key policy rate is now appropriate.”
  • Bank of Mauritius (cut rate 10bps to 5.40%):  “The MPC observed a decline in externally-generated inflationary pressures…. The MPC is of the view that the Key Repo Rate is  broadly appropriate in view of the expected impact of the 2012 budget measures. However, to signal its concern about the low level of business and consumer confidence, it has decided to cut the Key Repo Rate by 10 basis points.”
  • Banco Central de Chile (held rate at 5.25%):  “Domestically, economic activity has evolved somewhat below projections, while domestic demand is still strong. Labor market conditions continue to be tight. Financial conditions are somewhat more constrained, reflecting the situation in global markets. Headline inflation has exceeded expectations somewhat, due to the incidence of fuels and foodstuffs. Core inflation figures remain contained. Inflation expectations are close to the target.”
  • US Federal Reserve (held rate at 0-0.25%):  “To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with the dual mandate, the Committee decided today to continue its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in September. The Committee is maintaining its existing policies of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction. The Committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate.”

Looking at the central bank calendar, there’s a couple more Europe area banks meeting which will be interesting in the sovereign debt crisis context, and the Bank of Japan may or may not be interesting. There’s also meeting minutes due from the RBA on Tuesday, and the Bank of England on Wednesday.

  • SEK – Sweden (Riksbank) expected to hold at 2.00% on the 20th of Dec
  • HUF – Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank) expected to hold at 6.50% on the 20th of Dec
  • JPY – Japan (Bank of Japan) expected to hold at 0-0.10% on the 21st of Dec
  • CZK – Czech Republic (Czech National Bank) expected to hold at 0.75% on the 21st of Dec
  • GHS – Ghana (Bank of Ghana) expected to hold at 12.50% on the 21st of Dec
  • TRY – Turkey (Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey) expected to hold at 5.75% on the 22nd of Dec

Source: Central Bank News, December 16, 2011.

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Monetary policy: Week in review (Nov 27, 2011)

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The article below comes courtesy of Central Bank News, an authoritative source on monetary policy developments.

The past week in monetary policy saw interest rate decisions announced by six central banks around the world. Of those changing rates, Georgia dropped -25bps to 7.00%, Egypt increased +100bps to 9.25%, and Colombia increased +25bps to 4.75%. Meanwhile those that held interest rates unchanged were Turkey at 5.75%, Nigeria at 12.00%, and Russia at 8.25%.  Croatia also announced a cut to its Lombard rate (-275bps to 6.25%). Elsewhere, China made headlines when it was revealed that a number of rural cooperative banks were to have their required reserve ratios reversed by 50 basis points to 16.00%. Also, the ECB noted it had purchased EUR 8 billion last week, up from EUR 4.5 billion the previous week.

Following are some of the key comments and quotes from central bankers that announced monetary policy decisions over the past week:

  • National Bank of Georgia (dropped rate 25bps to 7.00%): “Given that the total output is below the potential and the existing forecasts indicate that the inflation in the next year will remain below the target, the Monetary Policy Committee of the NBG considered it appropriate to continue easing the monetary policy and decided to decrease the policy rate by 25 basis points.”
  • Central Bank of Turkey (held rate at 5.75%): “Recent data releases suggest that the rebalancing between the domestic and external demand is ongoing as envisaged. With the credit growth decelerating to more reasonable levels, the desired increase in private  savings has already started to take place. Accordingly, the improvement in the current  account balance is expected to become more significant in the final months of the year.”
  • Central Bank of Russia (held rate at 8.25%): “Considering recent domestic and international macroeconomic developments the Bank of Russia judged that the current level of money market interest rates was appropriate to balance the inflationary risks and the risks of economic growth slowdown.  The increase in money market interest rates, resulting from the transition to the liquidity shortage in the banking sector together with the instability on the global financial markets, puts upward pressure on other interest rates in the economy.  Thereupon the Bank of Russia will continue to monitor the money market conditions and the external economic developments, and to assess the risks of further increase in the market interest rates and its consequences.”
  • Central Bank of Colombia (increased rate 25bps to 4.75%): “Given the central forecast described above, and the risks of financial imbalances, the Board considers it prudent to increase 25 basis points interest rate intervention and believes that this movement is achieved monetary stance which helps to maximize the growth of output and employment consistent with the achievement of future targets for inflation. This decision also includes the possibility of early detection of a substantial change in external conditions of the economy and to react quickly to it.”

Looking at the central bank calendar, there’s a series of emerging market monetary policy decisions due to be announced; Brazil will be one of the key ones to watch as it previously cut its rate twice in a row at its past two meetings.  The other emerging market central banks will also be informative in terms of how the policy makers are thinking about their economies.  Elsewhere the US Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book economic survey on Wednesday.

  • HUF – Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank) expected to hold at 6.00% on the 29th of Nov
  • THB – Thailand (Bank of Thailand) expected to cut from 3.50% on the 30th of Nov
  • BRL – Brazil (Banco Central do Brasil) expected to cut from 11.50% on the 30th of Nov
  • PHP – Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) expected to hold at 4.50% on the 1st of Dec
  • MXN – Mexico (Banco de Mexico) expected to hold at 4.50% on the 2nd of Dec

Source: Central Bank News, November 26, 2011.

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Monetary policy: Week in review (Nov 19, 2011)

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The article below comes courtesy of Central Bank News, an authoritative source on monetary policy developments.

The past week in monetary policy saw just 6 central banks announcing interest rate decisions. Of those to change interest rates, Rwanda increased 50bps to 7.00%, while Belarus added 500bps to 40.00% as the country deals with hyperinflation. Those that held rates unchanged were: Japan 0-0.10%, Chile 5.25%, Sri Lanka 7.00%, and Latvia 3.50%. Elsewhere Argentina dropped dollar reserve requirements, and the World Gold Council announced record buying of gold by central banks.

Following are some of the key quotes from the central banks which made monetary policy announcements:

  • Belarus (increased 500bps to 40.00%) “Another increase in the refinancing rate and interest rates on liquidity management operation is a sequential step to curb inflation and stabilize the economy and financial sector in general. Dunn’s measure will also support renewed growth in recent months Urgent rubles deposits in banks and stabilize inflation expectations in the economy, and will become more factor to enhance the balance of payments surplus. National Bank and continues to conduct a balanced monetary policy, with the individual attention necessary to ensure price stability in the economy.”
  • National Bank of Rwanda (increased 50bps to 7.00%): “Rwanda’s macroeconomic stability. The financial sector is sound and resilient to external shocks, the inflation remains moderate, the currency is stable and this has contributed to high economic growth expected to reach 8.8% by the end of the year. However, there still exist risks in the global economy that may affect Rwanda. This includes: the persistent debt crisis in the euro zone, the global high food and fuel prices and increasing regional inflationary pressures. This calls for preventive action to mitigate any negative impact on the Rwandan economy.”
  • Bank of Japan (held rate at 0-0.10%): “Japan’s economic activity has continued picking up, but at a more moderate pace mainly due to effects of a slowdown in overseas economies. As for domestic demand, business fixed investment has been increasing moderately and private consumption has remained firm. On the other hand, exports and production have continued to increase, due in part to the restocking of inventories abroad that had declined after the earthquake, but at a more moderate pace mainly reflecting the effects of the slowdown in overseas economies.”
  • Sri Lanka (held rate at 7.00%): “The outlook for Sri Lanka’s economy remains positive with the economy continuing along the high growth trajectory”, and “even though inflation and the inflation outlook remain benign, the Monetary Board is of the view that a change to the existing monetary policy stance is not warranted.
  • Banco Central de Chile (held rate 5.25%): “Domestically, output figures are evolving close to projections in the last Monetary Policy Report’s baseline scenario, while domestic demand is somewhat stronger. Labor market conditions remain tight. Headline inflation has been somewhat higher than expected because of the incidence of fuels and foodstuffs. Core inflation figures remain contained. Inflation expectations are close to the target.
  • Latvijas Banka (held rate at 3.50%): “As the global prices of energy resources and food are stabilizing and assuming that the Government will refrain from raising any taxes, a substantial drop in inflation can be predicted for next year. Domestic demand is growing slowly and represents no risk of rising prices; moreover it is becoming likely that economic growth in Latvia will be slower next year as the demand in external markets drops because of the global debt crisis.”

Looking at the central bank calendar, there’s just Turkey scheduled to meet next week to review monetary policy settings. However there are meeting minutes due from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on Tuesday (1-2 Nov meeting), Bank of Japan on Monday (Oct 27th meeting), and the Bank of England on Wednesday (10th Nov meeting); so it will be a good chance to see some of the key issues the central bankers are thinking and debating about.

  • TRY – Turkey (Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey) expected to hold at 5.75% on the 23rd of Nov

Source: Central Bank News, November 18, 2011.

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Monetary policy: Week in review (Nov 13, 2011)

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The article below comes courtesy of Central Bank News, an authoritative source on monetary policy developments.

The past week in monetary policy saw interest rate decisions announced by 9 central banks around the world.  Of those that changed interest rates (all dropping rates) were: Indonesia -50bps to 6.00%, Serbia -75bps to 10.00%, and Jamaica -50bps to 6.25%.  Meanwhile those that held interest rates unchanged were: The UK 0.50%, South Africa 5.50%, South Korea 3.25%, Poland 4.50%, Malaysia 3.00%, and Peru 4.25%.

Some of the key themes and trends emerging through the week included an increasing bias towards easing monetary policy settings. Indonesia surprised the markets with a 50 basis point cut in its rate, Serbia did likewise, as the external risks and slowing global growth has put pressure on central banks to put in place preventative measures to support their economies. For other central banks the already loose monetary policy settings, and inflationary pressures have been among the only things stopping a wider adoption of emergency/preventative policy loosening and stimulus measures.

Following are some of the key soundbites from the central bank monetary policy media releases:

  • Bank Indonesia (cut rate -50bps to 6.00%):”The decision to decrease BI Rate has been taken in line with the decreasing trend in inflation pressures and also as Bank Indonesia efforts to narrow the interest rate term structure. This decision is also intended to reduce the impacts of worsening global economic prospect on Indonesian economy. Production and consumption indicators in developed countries continue to show a slowing down while global financial markets remain volatile albeit there was a rebound.”
  • National Bank of Serbia (cut rate -75bps to 10.00%): “Inflation continued down, in accordance with the NBS projection from the August Inflation Report. It is expected to decline further in the coming period. The key disinflationary factors will be weaker cost-push pressure on food prices, low aggregate demand and slower growth in administered prices. The process of disinflation will also be aided by the continued drop in inflation expectations.”
  • Bank of Korea (held rate at 3.25%): “domestic demand has faltered but exports have continued to grow strongly. The trend of improvement in employment conditions has been sustained, led by the private sector. The Committee anticipates that the domestic economy will keep up its long-term trend of growth going forward, but recognizes the situation to be one in which downside risks to growth remain high due to the impact of external risk factors.”
  • South African Reserve Bank (held rate at 5.50%): The Committee assesses the risks to the inflation outlook to be on the upside mainly due to cost push pressures. The exchange rate is also seen to pose some upside risk to the outlook, while downside risks are seen to come from possible contagion effects from the European crisis and associated slow growth. The committee is aware of the dangers of a disorderly resolution of the crisis and the systemic implications for the global and domestic economy, and remains ready to act appropriately should the need arise.”
  • National Bank of Poland (held rate at 4.50%): “the medium term inflation will be curbed by somewhat lower domestic economic growth amidst fiscal tightening, including reduced public investment spending, and interest rate increases implemented in the first half of 2011, as well as the expected global economic slowdown. Such an assessment is also supported by the November projection of inflation and GDP. The impact of the situation in the global financial markets on zloty exchange rate continues to be an upside risk to domestic price developments”
  • Central Reserve Bank of Peru (held rate at 4.25%):”This decision takes into account the lower growth being recorded by some components of expenditure, as well as the intensification of international financial risks. Should these trends continue, the Central Bank will change its monetary policy stance.”

Looking at the central bank calendar, of the major central banks, next week there’s just the Bank of Japan scheduled to meet to review monetary policy settings.  Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of Australia  will release the minutes on Tuesday of its last meeting where it cut rates 25bps.

  • JPY – Japan (Bank of Japan) expected to hold at 0-0.10% on the 16th of Nov.

Source: Central Bank News, November 12, 2011.

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Monetary policy: Week in review (November 5, 2011)

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The past week in monetary policy saw 8 interest rate changes announced among the 12 central banks that met to review policy settings. Of those changing interest rates, those that increased rates were: Uganda +300bps to 23.00%, Kenya +550bps to 16.50%, and Iceland +25bps to 4.75%. Meanwhile those that cut rates were: Australia -25bps to 4.50%, Fiji -100bps to 0.50%, Europe -25bps to 1.25%, Romania -25bps to 6.00%, and Denmark -35bps to 1.20%. Those that held rates unchanged were: Trinidad & Tobago 3.00%, USA 0-0.25%, Hong Kong 0.50%, and the Czech Republic 0.75%.

Some of the main themes apparent in the past week included the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the European debt crisis, along with further signs that Europe is largely headed for a period of recession; as reflected in the interest rate cuts by the ECB and other Europe based central banks.  The poor global growth outlook also spurred internationally focused economies like Australia to cut rates to be on the safe-side.  Meanwhile there were still pockets of tightening going on, driven by economy specific inflation pressures, particularly in emerging and frontier markets.
Some of the key quotes from the central bankers that met last week are included below:

  • US Federal Reserve (Kept policy settings unchanged): “To support a stronger economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with the dual mandate, the Committee decided today to continue its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in September. The Committee is maintaining its existing policies of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities and of rolling over maturing Treasury securities at auction.”
  • European Central Bank (Cut rates -25bps to 1.25%): “Owing to their unfavourable effects on financing conditions and confidence, the ongoing tensions in financial markets are likely to dampen the pace of economic growth in the euro area in the second half of this year and beyond. The economic outlook continues to be subject to particularly high uncertainty and intensified downside risks. Some of these risks have been materialising, which makes a significant downward revision to forecasts and projections for average real GDP growth in 2012 very likely. In such an environment, price, cost and wage pressures in the euro area should also moderate; today’s decision takes this into account.”
  • Reserve Bank of Australia (Cut rate -25bps to 4.50%): “Over the past year, the Board has maintained a mildly restrictive stance of monetary policy, in view of its concerns about inflation. With overall growth moderate, inflation now likely to be close to target and confidence subdued outside the resources sector, the Board concluded that a more neutral stance of monetary policy would now be consistent with achieving sustainable growth and 2–3 per cent inflation over time.”
  • Reserve Bank of Fiji (Cut rate -100bps to 0.50%): “The weaker outlook on global and domestic growth warrants such a move, particularly at this juncture where foreign reserves levels are comfortable and the outlook is stable, while inflation is expected to moderate over the coming months,”
  • Central Bank of Iceland (Increased rate +25bps to 4.75%): “Recent data and the Central Bank forecast published today in the Monetary Bulletin confirm that Iceland’s economic recovery continues, despite weakening global growth and increased uncertainty. Output is expected to grow slightly faster in 2011 and 2012 than was forecast in August, and inflation is projected to be somewhat lower in coming quarters as a result of a stronger króna and lower imported inflation.”
  • Central Bank of Kenya (Increased rate +550bps to 16.50%): “Inflation continued to rise while exchange rate volatility persisted in October 2011. Consistent with the monetary policy stance taken by the last MPC meeting, there is therefore a need for further tightening of monetary policy to tame these inflationary pressures and stabilize the exchange rate.”
  • Bank of Uganda (Increased rate +300bps to 23.00%): “The Bank of Uganda expects that inflation will peak in the coming months and will then decline during 2012, with core inflation reaching single digit levels at about the end of that year. Core inflation is projected to fall further to the Bank of Uganda’s policy target of 5 percent in the medium term. However, should upside risks to inflation increase, monetary policy will need to be tightened further.”

Looking at the central bank calendar, next week several emerging market central banks will be announcing policy decisions; which will provide some insight into how resilient their economies are proving as downside risks to the global growth outlook come to fore. The Bank of England is also scheduled to meet, but consensus says no change to its asset purchase program or interest rate. Elsewhere, the European Central Bank releases its monthly bulletin on Thursday, and the Chicago Fed will be hosting its 14th Annual International Banking Conference.

  • PLN – Poland (National Bank of Poland) expected to hold at 4.50% on the 9th of Nov
  • IDR – Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) expected to hold at 6.50% on the 10th of Nov
  • GBP – UK (Bank of England) expected to hold at 0.50% on the 10th of Nov
  • ZAR – South Africa (South African Reserve Bank) expected to hold at 5.50% on the 10th of Nov
  • KRW – South Korea (Bank of Korea) expected to hold at 3.25% on the 11th of Nov
  • MYR – Malaysia (Bank Negara Malaysia) expected to hold at 3.00% on the 11th of Nov

Source: Central Bank News, November 4, 2011.

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Monetary policy: Week in review (October 22, 2011)

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The article below comes courtesy of Central Bank News, an authoritative source on monetary policy developments.

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.”

Looking at the central bank calendar, next week will be reasonably busy in monetary policy with 9 central banks scheduled to review monetary policy settings. Also on the radar is the ECB’s bank lending survey, due out on Wednesday (and of course the EU leaders are meeting this weekend to try and agree on a plan to stem contagion from the sovereign debt crisis). The key announcements to watch will be Canada, India, Japan, and Russia.

  • ILS – Israel (Bank of Israel) expected to hold at 3.00% on the 24th of Oct
  • HUF – Hungary (Magyar Nemzeti Bank) expected to hold at 6.00% on the 25th of Oct
  • CAD – Canada (Bank of Canada) expected to hold at 1.00% on the 25th of Oct
  • INR – India (Reserve Bank of India) expected to hold at 8.25% on the 25th of Oct
  • JPY – Japan (Bank of Japan) expected to hold at 0-0.10% on the 27th of Oct
  • NZD – New Zealand (RBNZ) expected to hold at 2.50% on the 27th of Oct
  • SEK – Sweden (Riksbank) expected to raise 25bps from 2.00% on the 27th of Oct
  • COP – Colombia (Central Bank of Colombia) expected to hold at 4.50% on the 28th of Oct
  • RUB – Russia (Bank Rossii) expected to hold at 8.25% on the 28th of Oct

Source: Central Bank News, October 21, 2011.

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