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Global Central Bank Monetary Policy Weekly Review – for weekended 11th May 2013

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Monetary Policy Week in Review – May 11, 2013: 8 banks cut rates by 550 bps as BOJ easing ripples through world – Central Bank News.

Last week 16 central banks took policy decisions with a record eight banks cutting rates by a total of 550 basis points as the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) monetary easing looks to become a watershed event in global monetary policy by opening a new front in the currency wars.
Only weeks after the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed that they  “will refrain from competitive devaluation,” Australia and Korea – two of the G20 members – surprised markets by cutting interest rates.
Observers questioned the motives behind the two rate cuts as the global economic outlook had not drastically deteriorated.
It is already clear that the ripples from the BOJ’s easing is upsetting global balances, with a range of competitors reacting to the 17 percent plunge in the value of the yen to the U.S. dollar so far this year.
The only substantial change in the policy statements from the Reserve Bank of Australia(RBA) and the Bank of Korea (BOK) from April to May was the reference to foreign exchange while their observations about growth were largely unchanged.
The other six central banks that cut rates this week did not refer to exchange rates but said a lack of inflationary pressure had given them space to boost growth.
But the RBA said the exchange rate of the Australian dollar had been “little changed at a historically high level” while the BOK said Korea’s output gap would continue for a considerable time due to slow global growth, “the influence of the Japanese yen weakening” and geopolitical risks.
To be sure, the global economy has entered a soft patch. But that is exactly the point of international agreements. When times get tough, policy makers are supposed to consider the international ramifications of their actions and look to the common good.
The official reaction of the international community, both the G20 and the Group of Seven, to the BOJ’s new and more aggressive quantitative easing is that it benefits everyone because it strengthens global growth by supporting Japan’s domestic demand and stopping deflation.
Meanwhile, individual countries are adjusting their policies to the impact of the lower yen and the inflow of excess funds to their markets from the BOJ’s easing. Data showed that Japanese investors were net buyers of foreign bonds in recent weeks.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) intervened in foreign exchange markets for the first time since 2007 to weaken its dollar. The move was hardly a surprise after the RBNZ last month pinned some of the blame for the currency’s appreciation on Japan’s “substantial quantitative easing programme, ” which is making life hard for its exporters.
Thailand has been debating how to tackle the rise in its baht currency and capital inflows with the Bank of Thailand (BoT) on Monday meeting with government and private sector representatives to discuss a response.
The Thai finance minister has been vocal in his criticism of the BOT, saying it should take the strength of the currency into account when deciding on policy and not just inflation. So far the Thai central bank has resisted pressure and kept rates unchanged, arguing the inflows are due to investors’ confidence in the Thai economy and rate cuts would not make much of a difference.

Apart from Australia and Korea, the central banks of Kenya, BelarusPolandGeorgiaSri Lanka and Vietnam also cut rates this week. Seven banks held rates steady: MalawiNorway, the United KingdomMalaysia, PeruEgypt and Mozambique.
Gambia was the only central bank to raise rates this week. Four percent of all rate decisions this year have favored rate hikes, a largely stable ratio. It was Gambia’s first rate rise this year, reversing two rate cuts in 2012, with the bank citing accelerating inflation, partly due to currency depreciation.

 Since the BOJ announced its “new phase of monetary easing” on April 4, central banks’ policy rates have tumbled by a cumulative 1,235 basis points, accounting for 58 percent of the total decline in rates so far this year.
Although the decline in policy rates accelerated this week, the total fall this year only amounts to 2,126 basis points, still a far cry from cuts totaling 6,475 in 2012 and 7,517 in 2011. However, the fall in rates does not reflect the true extent of global monetary easing as it doesn’t take into account quantitative easing measures.
Through the first 19 weeks of this year, 24 percent of 186 policy decisions taken by the 90 central banks followed by Central Bank News have lead to rate cuts, a sharp increase from 20 percent after the first 18 weeks.
It was the highest number of rate cuts in one week so far this year, pushing down the average Global Monetary Policy Rate (GMPR) to 5.66 percent from 5.70 percent at the end of April and 6.2 percent at the end of 2012.
The majority of this year’s policy decisions still favor unchanged rates, but the trend is declining. At the end of this week, 72 percent of all decisions this year were to keep rates steady, down from 77 percent after the first 14 weeks of this year and 75 percent after the first 16 weeks.

LAST WEEK’S (WEEK 19) MONETARY POLICY DECISIONS:

COUNTRY MSCI     NEW RATE         OLD RATE        1 YEAR AGO
KENYA FM 8.50% 9.50% 18.00%
AUSTRALIA DM 2.75% 3.00% 3.75%
BELARUS 25.00% 27.00% 34.00%
GAMBIA 14.00% 12.00% 13.00%
MALAWI 25.00% 25.00% 16.00%
NORWAY DM 1.50% 1.50% 1.50%
POLAND EM 3.00% 3.25% 4.75%
GEORGIA 4.25% 4.50% 6.00%
SOUTH KOREA EM 2.50% 2.75% 3.25%
UNITED KINGDOM DM 0.50% 0.50% 0.50%
MALAYSIA EM 3.00% 3.00% 3.00%
PERU EM 4.25% 4.25% 4.25%
EGYPT EM 9.75% 9.75% 9.25%
SRI LANKA FM 7.00% 7.50% 7.75%
VIETNAM FM 7.00% 8.00% 12.00%
MOZAMBIQUE 9.50% 9.50% 13.50%

 NEXT WEEK  (Week 20) features five central bank policy decisions, including Serbia, Indonesia, Iceland, Latvia and Turkey.
On Monday Thailand’s finance minister meets with the Bank of Thailand’s monetary policy committee, government officials and the private sector to discuss the rise in the Thai baht. Markets are speculating the meeting will result in a rate cut. The next scheduled policy meeting by Bank of Thailand is on May 29.

COUNTRY MSCI              DATE               RATE        1 YEAR AGO
SERBIA FM 13-May 11.75% 9.50%
THAILAND EM 13-May 2.75% 3.00%
INDONESIA EM 14-May 5.75% 5.75%
ICELAND 15-May 6.00% 5.50%
LATVIA 16-May 2.50% 3.50%
TURKEY EM 16-May 5.00% 5.75%

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Monetary Policy of Global Central Banks Week in Review – March 16, 2013 week end

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Monetary Policy Week in Review – Mar 16, 2013: Eleven central banks keep rates steady, Norway delays rate rise – Central Bank News.

 Last week 11 central banks took policy decisions with every single bank keeping rates on hold though Norway, as Canada in January, delayed a planned rate rises due to lower inflationary pressure from sluggish growth that continues to plague the global economy.
    Norway’s decision illustrates how central banks are uneasy with very low policy rates as they tend to encourage risk taking and fuel asset bubbles. Yet, the central banks feel they have little choice but to keep rates low with major downside risks dominating the global economy, keeping consumers and investors on edge and thus holding back demand and inflation.
    In addition to Norway, the central banks of Mauritius, Mozambique, Kenya, Serbia, New Zealand, Korea, the Philippines, Switzerland, Latvia and Russia kept rates on hold last week.
    Through the first 11 weeks of the year, 78 percent of the 102 policy decisions taken by the 90 central banks followed by Central Bank News lead to unchanged rates, up from 76 percent after 10 weeks, strengthening this year’s trend toward steady policy rates worldwide.
    Globally, 19 percent of policy decisions so far this year have lead to rate cuts, largely by central banks in emerging economies, down from 21 percent after the first 10 weeks, a policy rates continue to decline.
    But the pace of rate cuts is slowing as many central banks shift toward a more neutral stance to gauge the impact of last year’s rate cuts.
    Of last week’s 11 policy decisions, seven were from central banks that cut rates last year, including Kenya and Mozambique, among the most aggressive cutters
    Oil-rich Norway is experiencing growing household debt and house prices, and following a rate cut in March 2012, Norges Bank started in June to prepare markets for higher rates as inflationary pressures were expected to rise.
    But last August it started to push back the time frame for a rate rise and then in October a rate rise was delayed until sometime this year. Now, a rate rise has been postponed until next spring as inflation and economic growth remains lower than expected.
    But Norwegian debt and house prices continue to rise so the central bank, like New Zealand, is preparing to introduce a counter-cyclical buffer in an attempt to rein in banks’ willingness to extend credit and also strengthen banks’ ability to withstand a crises.
    While New Zealand’s strong currency, drought and fiscal consolidation is restraining growth, reconstruction after the 2010 Canterbury earthquake along with rising house prices are creating upside risks. Seeking to strike the right balance, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it expects to keep rates on hold through the year.
    Russia’s central bank struck a less hawkish tone last week, dropping its previous statements that the risk of a slowdown from tight money was minor and the economy was operating at close to potential.
    Instead, the Bank of Russia noted slowing economic growth, strengthening the impression – already boosted by the nomination of Putin aide Elvira Nebiullina as new bank president – that rate cuts are on their way.
     Switzerland also took note of the lack of inflationary pressure, trimming its inflation forecast to continued deflation this year and only a slight 0.2 percent rise in consumer prices next year, maintaining downward pressure on the Swiss franc.
    The contrast between Europe and Southeast Asia remains stark.
   Although the Bank of Korea underlined the downside risks to global growth from Europe and the U.S., it is looking ahead to rising inflation while the Philippines again cut rates on its Special Deposit Account (SDA) in an effort to stem the inflow of foreign funds and curb the rise in the peso.
    Fueled by ample global liquidity and low rates in advanced economies, many emerging markets with solid economic fundamentals are adjusting their policy framework to stem the flow of hot money yet still stimulate domestic growth.
    Like Turkey last year, the governor of Bangko Sentral ngPilipinas told journalists  that he is moving to an interest rate corridor system to help manage capital flows which not only puts upward pressure on currencies but also leads to asset bubbles.
    New Zealand’s central bank governor emphasized his concern over the strong kiwi dollar, warning markets that he would cut rates if the currency rises more than justified by the economic fundamentals.
    Meanwhile, Serbia – the only central bank worldwide to have raised rates this year in addition to Denmark – lived up to expectations and held rates after eight rate hikes despite the continuing rise in inflation.
    Last month the National Bank of Serbia signaled that it was starting to soften its tightening stance due to an expected drop in inflation, and this week it made good on that promise, saying that the last four months show that inflation is easing.
 LAST WEEK’S (WEEK 11) MONETARY POLICY DECISIONS:
COUNTRY MSCI     NEW RATE           OLD RATE        1 YEAR AGO
MAURITIUS 4.90% 4.90% 4.90%
MOZAMBIQUE 9.50% 9.50% 13.75%
KENYA FM 9.50% 9.50% 18.00%
SERBIA FM 11.75% 11.75% 9.50%
NEW ZEALAND DM 2.50% 2.50% 2.50%
SOUTH KOREA EM 2.75% 2.75% 3.25%
PHILIPPINES EM 3.50% 3.50% 4.00%
SWITZERLAND DM 0.25% 0.25% 0.25%
LATVIA 2.50% 2.50% 3.50%
NORWAY DM 1.50% 1.50% 1.50%
RUSSIA EM 8.25% 8.25% 8.00%
 Next week (week 12) features eight central bank policy decisions, including India, Nigeria, the United States, South Africa, Iceland, Egypt, Chile and Trinidad & Tobago.
    The U.S. Federal Reserve changed the time for announcing policy decision to 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time from 2:15, with the press conference at 2:30 p.m.
COUNTRY MSCI          MEETING               RATE        1 YEAR AGO
INDIA EM 19-Mar 7.75% 8.50%
NIGERIA FM 19-Mar 12.00% 12.00%
UNITED STATES DM 20-Mar 0.25% 0.25%
SOUTH AFRICA EM 20-Mar 5.00% 5.50%
ICELAND 20-Mar 6.00% 5.00%
EGYPT EM 21-Mar 9.25% 9.25%
CHILE EM 21-Mar 5.00% 5.00%
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 22-Mar 2.75% 3.00%



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