The transmission mechanism of monetary policy Banco Central do Brasil conference: “One year of inflation targeting” 10th July 2000 Alec Chrystal Bank of England www.bankofengland.co.uk
Structure of remarks • Briefly outline main elements of the transmission mechanism of monetary policy as set out by the UK Monetary Policy Committee. (BoE Quarterly Bulletin, May 1999; available on web site.) • Does “money” have a role? • Suggest some aspects that might differ in other countries and other institutional arrangements • Discuss some puzzles and problems for monetary policy makers
The transmission mechanism Official rate Inflation ?
The transmission mechanism Market rates Asset prices Official rate Expectations/ confidence Exchange rate
Official rate changes other market rates • Bank of England sets 2 week repo rate • This affects other market short rates similarly • Banks adjust their “base” lending rates, mortgage rates, and savings rates • Long rates respond to any new information about course of future short rates and expected inflation
Asset prices • Equity and bond prices respond to new information about term structure of discount rates, real growth prospects, and inflation prospects • House and other property prices adjust (maybe slowly) to new borrowing costs
Expectations and confidence • Policy actions and policy announcements have effects on expectations of future growth in real activity and inflation • They also affect the confidence with which such expectations are held and the credibility of the monetary authorities themselves • Specific policy decisions may have small effects in this regard but the cumulative impact of decisions and pronouncements can be important • Credibility is hard to gain but easy to lose
The exchange rate • Official rate changes may create changes in the FX value of domestic currency • Lower rates generally cause depreciation and vice versa • BUT anything can happen, depending on impact on market expectation • ALSO interest rate changes explain only small part of variation in the exchange rate
The transmission mechanism Market rates Domestic demand Asset prices Total demand Official rate Net external demand Expectations/ confidence Exchange rate
Interest rates, asset prices, expectations, and the exchange rate affect domestic and net external demand • Consumer spending: interest rates, wealth effect, confidence, income and employment prospects • Investment: cost of capital, asset values, prospective demand, confidence • Net trade: affected by domestic demand relative to supply and real exchange rate • Total demand relative to supply leads to domestic inflationary pressure
The transmission mechanism Market rates Domestic demand Domestic inflationary pressure Asset prices Total demand Official rate Net external demand Expectations/ confidence Exchange rate
Domestic inflation results from combination of domestic inflationary pressure and imported inflation • Imported inflation depends on world inflation (in foreign currency) combined with the exchange rate • So depreciating currency will be associated with higher inflation for given world inflation rate • NB: domestic price level and exchange rate are two different measures of the same thing: the value of domestic money
The transmission mechanism Market rates Domestic demand Domestic inflationary pressure Asset prices Total demand Official rate Net external demand Expectations/ confidence Inflation Imported inflation Exchange rate Note: For simplicity of exposition, this chart does not show interactions between variables, but these can be important.
How long does it take for a change in the official rate to affect output and then inflation? • Old rule of thumb was: one year to output and two years to prices • Simulation with Bank model suggests similar order of magnitude • However, truth may be different in different circumstances and may be asymmetrical • Range of outcomes based on different reaction functions
Some simulations Effect on real GDP, relative to base, of 100 bp increase in the official rate maintained for 1 year
Some simulations Effect on inflation rate, relative to base, of 100 bp increase in the official rate maintained for 1 year
Estimated average length and strength of transmission mechanisms1 months percentage points 50 2 Points (right had scale) represent estimated Bars (left-hand scale) represent average strength of full impact of change in 45 estimated average time for full interest rates on inflation 1.5 impact of change in policy 40 instrument to affect inflation 35 1 30 25 0.5 20 0 15 10 -0.5 5 0 -1 Source: Bank of England survey of Monetary Frameworks
Implications of lags for policy • Latest inflation level is history: cannot do anything about it. • The same is true for some time in the future. • Decisions taken today do start to have effects a year or so later. • Inflation forecast takes on key role. • “Inflation forecast targeting”
The role of money • ‘inflation is ... a monetary phenomenon’? • Long-run relationship between M and P. • For each path of official rate, there is an implied path for M. • With inflation target, monetary aggregates are not instruments or targets, but indicators. • Possible shocks to the monetary system. • Credit aggregates may be at least as useful.
Potential elements of MTM in other systems • Other instruments: • monetary base • exchange rate • credit controls • exchange controls • prudential controls on banks • fiscal policy constraints • These may have direct and more powerful effect on domestic demand and net trade • So lags and scale of impact may be very different in different countries • Institutional differences and different inflation history also create a different response to policy rate changes---especially until credibility of the regime is established.
Puzzles and problems I • Easy to tell what lags and scale of impact are in specific model but very hard to know in reality • Policy is designed to offset shocks, so successful policy changes may not appear to have any relationship with targets • Taylor Rules: OK? • It is simple to cause ripples but it is very hard to offset exogenous shocks and internal cycles to achieve stability • Business cycles have been around a long time. It requires great optimism (or stupidity?) to believe that they have been eliminated
Puzzles and problems II • Does the recent benign inflation environment in many countries result from successful inflation targeting and understanding of the MTM? • Good policy or good luck? • To what extent does inflation control depend on credibility rather than actual policy decisions? • Does uncertainty about MTM mean that it is better to do too little rather than too much? • Or do the lags involved mean that pre-emptive action is better than delayed reaction?