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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%

www.CentralBankNews.info

Monetary Policy Week in Review for last week – Central Bank News

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Monetary Policy Week in Review – Mar 30, 2013: Chance of global crises eases as 3 banks cut rates, 8 hold, 1 raises – Central Bank News.

Last week 12 central banks took policy decisions with three banks cutting rates (Vietnam,Hungary and Georgia), eight keeping rates on hold (Israel, AngolaTurkeyMoroccoTaiwan,ZambiaCzech Republic and Romania) and Tunisia becoming the fifth central bank to raise rates this year.
    The main message gleaned from central banks last week was that the global economy continues to recover, but every time it seems to pick up a little steam, confidence is undermined by developments in Europe, the only major risk to a sustained recovery. 
    But like a resilient boxer, the global economy dusts itself off and gets back on its feet, adjusting to the fact that large bank depositors in Europe may have to share the costs of future bank bailouts with tax payers, the main lesson from Cyprus.
    After the shock from this major but ultimately positive policy shift, there was a sense of relief that Europe had muddled through, once again, and financial markets had taken the events in stride.
     “It appears that there has been a decline in the probability of a crises occurring, a development which has reduced the high level of uncertainty that prevailed in the last year,” the Bank of Israel said in its statement.
    But as both Israel and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) acknowledged, the global economic picture remains mixed and “it is too early to say whether the improved market sentiment over the past six months is the beginning of a sustained recovery, or merely a temporary upswing.”
    The challenges facing Europe’s policy makers is considerable. Not only do they have to restore financial health to governments and banks, they must also find ways to strengthen economic growth at a time of growing challenges from emerging markets.
    “The renewed market tension associated with the handling of the sovereign and banking crisis in Cyprus in recent weeks has provided a reminder of the political, economic and social challenges of resolving the pervasive fiscal and banking sector problems,” the RBA said in its financial review.
     In the latest manifestation of the structural shift in the global economy – illustrated by a stagnating Europe and growing emerging markets – the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa and China agreed to establish a New Development Bank.
    The leaders of these five countries, known as the BRICS countries, acknowledged that their infrastructure has to be improved but currently there is insufficient long-term and foreign investment in capital stock.
    Acknowledging their role and responsibility for global governance, the BRICS leaders said a bank, which now will be established, would use global financial resources more productively and thus make a positive contribution in boosting global demand.
    They also agreed to establish a $100 billion financial reserve arrangement that would “help BRICS countries forestall short-term liquidity pressures, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability,” the leaders said in their March 27 Durban declaration.
     The Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) would help strengthen the global financial safety net during times of market turmoil.
         
    Through the first 13 weeks of the year, 77 percent of the 125 policy decisions taken by the 90 central banks followed by Central Bank News lead to unchanged rates, marginally down from 78 percent after the first 11 weeks.
    Globally, 19 percent of policy decisions this year have lead to rate cuts, largely by central banks in emerging economies, a ratio that was steady from last week.
    Of the 24 rate cuts worldwide so far this year, 42 percent have come from central banks in emerging markets and the remainder from frontier markets and other countries.
    No central banks in developed markets have cut rates this year, but this is largely because many of those central banks slashed rates to effectively zero five years ago and then switched to various forms of so-called quantitative easing to stimulate demand.
LAST WEEK’S (WEEK 13) MONETARY POLICY DECISIONS:
COUNTRY MSCI     NEW RATE           OLD RATE        1 YEAR AGO
ISRAEL DM 1.75% 1.75% 2.50%
VIETNAM FM 8.00% 9.00% 14.00%
ANGOLA 10.00% 10.00% 10.25%
TURKEY EM 5.50% 5.50% 5.75%
MOROCCO EM 3.00% 3.00% 3.00%
HUNGARY EM 5.00% 5.25% 7.00%
GEORGIA 4.50% 4.75% 6.50%
TAIWAN EM 1.88% 1.88% 1.88%
ZAMBIA 9.25% 9.25% 9.00%
CZECH REPUBLIC EM 0.05% 0.05% 0.75%
TUNISIA FM 4.00% 3.75% 3.50%
ROMANIA FM 5.25% 5.25% 5.25%
Next week (week 14) features six central bank policy decisions, including Australia, Thailand, Uganda, Japan, United Kingdom and the euro area.
COUNTRY MSCI          MEETING               RATE        1 YEAR AGO
AUSTRALIA DM 2-Apr 3.00% 4.25%
THAILAND EM 3-Apr 2.75% 3.00%
UGANDA 3-Apr 12.00% 21.00%
JAPAN DM 4-Apr 0.10% 0.10%
UNITED KINGDOM DM 4-Apr 0.50% 0.50%
EURO AREA DM 4-Apr 0.75% 1.00%