South Africa Leaves Key Rate at 6.75%
The South African Reserve Bank unexpectedly left is benchmark repo rate steady at 6.75 percent on September 21st 2017, following a 25bps cut in July, mentioning economic uncertainties. Markets were expecting a 25bps cut. However, policymakers left the door open for further loosening in November, saying it would be appropriate to reassess the data and the balance of risks at the next meeting.
Excerpts from the statement by Governor Lesetja Kganyago:
The Bank’s forecast for headline CPI inflation is unchanged at an annual average of 5.3% in 2017, and revised up by 0.1 percentage point to 5.0% and 5.3% in 2018 and 2019. A lower turning point of 4.6% is still expected in the first quarter of 2018. The same pattern is observed in the forecast for core inflation which is unchanged at 4.8% for 2017, but adjusted up to 4.9% and 5.0% for the next two years.
The main drivers of these changes are a lower repurchase rate, a less appreciated exchange rate assumption, a slightly narrower output gap and a marginal adjustment to the food price forecast as meat prices continue to surprise on the upside.
The domestic economic growth outlook remains constrained despite the higher-than-expected growth outcome of 2.5% in the second quarter of this year. This broad-based improvement, while welcome, is not expected to have a significant impact on the annual growth outcome. The Bank’s forecast for GDP growth for 2017 has been revised up marginally from 0.5% to 0.6%, while the forecasts for 2018 and 2019 have remained unchanged at 1.2% and 1.5%.
The rand remains a key upside risk to the inflation outlook. Furthermore, some of the event risks, particularly those of a political nature, are now more imminent but with no greater degree of clarity regarding the outcome. The prospect of a further ratings downgrade persists, particularly given the increased fiscal challenges and political uncertainty. The narrower current account deficit and the global environment remain supportive of the rand.
Although household consumption expenditure rebounded strongly in the second quarter, the MPC does not view this as indicative of the longer-term trend of expenditure, which is expected to remain constrained. The second quarter growth outcome, while positive, does not change our growth forecast significantly, and the outlook remains weak. The MPC assesses the risks to the revised growth forecast to be slightly on the downside. In light of these developments and the deteriorating assessment of the balance of the risks, the MPC has decided to keep the repurchase rate unchanged at 6.75% per annum. Three members preferred an unchanged stance and three members preferred a 25 basis point reduction. Ultimately the committee decided to keep the rate unchanged.
Given the heightened uncertainties in the economy, the MPC felt it would be appropriate to maintain the current monetary policy stance at this stage, and reassess the data and the balance of risks at the next meeting.
Source: Trading Economics
December Rate Rise on the Table Despite Weak Inflation
Several Fed policymakers thought that another increase in the target range later this year was likely to be warranted if the medium-term outlook remained broadly unchanged, despite worries about the risk of stubbornly low inflation, minutes from last FOMC meeting showed.
Excerpts from the minutes of the FOMC's September 19-20 meeting:
Participants raised a number of important considerations about the implications of persistently low inflation for the path of the federal funds rate over the medium run. Several expressed concern that the persistence of low rates of inflation might imply that the underlying trend was running below 2 percent, risking a decline in inflation expectations. If so, the appropriate policy path should take into account the need to bolster inflation expectations in order to ensure that inflation returned to 2 percent and to prevent erosion in the credibility of the Committee's objective. It was also noted that the persistence of low inflation might result in the federal funds rate staying uncomfortably close to its effective lower bound. However, a few others pointed out the need to consider the lags in the response of inflation to tightening resource utilization and, thus, increasing upside risks to inflation as the labor market tightened further.
In their discussion of monetary policy, all participants agreed that the economy had evolved broadly as they had anticipated at the time of the June meeting and that the incoming data had not materially altered the medium-term economic outlook. Consistent with those assessments, participants saw it as appropriate, at this meeting, to announce implementation of the plan for reducing the Federal Reserve's securities holdings that the Committee released in June. Many underscored that the reduction in securities holdings would be gradual and that financial market participants appeared to have a clear understanding of the Committee's planned approach for a gradual normalization of the size of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet. Consequently, participants generally expected that any reaction in financial markets to the start of balance sheet normalization would likely be limited.
With the medium-term outlook little changed, inflation below 2 percent, and the neutral rate of interest estimated to be quite low, all participants thought it would be appropriate for the Committee to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate at this meeting, and nearly all supported again indicating in the postmeeting statement that a gradual approach to increasing the federal funds rate will likely be warranted. Nevertheless, many participants expressed concern that the low inflation readings this year might reflect not only transitory factors, but also the influence of developments that could prove more persistent, and it was noted that some patience in removing policy accommodation while assessing trends in inflation was warranted. A few of these participants thought that no further increases in the federal funds rate were called for in the near term or that the upward trajectory of the federal funds rate might appropriately be quite shallow. Some other participants, however, were more worried about upside risks to inflation arising from a labor market that had already reached full employment and was projected to tighten further.
Consistent with the expectation that a gradual rise in the federal funds rate would be appropriate, many participants thought that another increase in the target range later this year was likely to be warranted if the medium-term outlook remained broadly unchanged. Several others noted that, in light of the uncertainty around their outlook for inflation, their decision on whether to take such a policy action would depend importantly on whether the economic data in coming months increased their confidence that inflation was moving up toward the Committee's objective.
Source: Trading Economics
Euro Area Interest Rate
ECB to Cut Bond-Buying to €30 Billion from January 2018
The ECB held its benchmark refinancing rate at 0 percent on October 26th, as widely expected, and decided to reduce its quantitative easing programme to a monthly pace of €30 billion from January with the option of extending it in September 2018.
Excerpts from the Introductory statement to the press conference by Mario Draghi:
First, the key ECB interest rates were kept unchanged and we continue to expect them to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time, and well past the horizon of our net asset purchases.
Second, as regards non-standard monetary policy measures, we will continue to make purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) at the current monthly pace of €60 billion until the end of December 2017. From January 2018 our net asset purchases are intended to continue at a monthly pace of €30 billion until the end of September 2018, or beyond, if necessary, and in any case until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim. If the outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, we stand ready to increase the APP in terms of size and/or duration.
Third, the Eurosystem will reinvest the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP for an extended period of time after the end of its net asset purchases, and in any case for as long as necessary. This will contribute both to favourable liquidity conditions and to an appropriate monetary policy stance.
And fourth, we also decided to continue to conduct the main refinancing operations and three-month longer-term refinancing operations as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment for as long as necessary, and at least until the end of the last reserve maintenance period of 2019.
Today’s monetary policy decisions were taken to preserve the very favourable financing conditions that are still needed for a sustained return of inflation rates towards levels that are below, but close to, 2%. The recalibration of our asset purchases reflects growing confidence in the gradual convergence of inflation rates towards our inflation aim, on account of the increasingly robust and broad-based economic expansion, an uptick in measures of underlying inflation and the continued effective pass-through of our policy measures to the financing conditions of the real economy. At the same time, domestic price pressures are still muted overall and the economic outlook and the path of inflation remain conditional on continued support from monetary policy. Therefore, an ample degree of monetary stimulus remains necessary for underlying inflation pressures to continue to build up and support headline inflation developments over the medium term. This continued monetary support is provided by the additional net asset purchases, by the sizeable stock of acquired assets and the forthcoming reinvestments, and by our forward guidance on interest rates.
ECB | Joana Ferreira | firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Trading Economics
China Interest Rate
UK Interest Rates Likely to Rise Over Coming Months
The withdrawal of monetary stimulus is likely to be appropriate over the coming months, if the economy and price pressures keep growing, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said in a speech at the IMF on Monday. Still, there are considerable risks to the UK outlook, which include the response of households, businesses and financial markets to developments related to the process of EU withdrawal, he added.
Excerpts from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney speech at the IMF:
On balance, the de-integration effects of Brexit can be expected to steepen the Phillips Curve and to be inflationary. At present, the main question concerns the extent to which this adjustment has been brought forward.
The latest indicators are consistent with UK demand growing a little in excess of the diminished rate of potential supply growth, and the continued erosion of what is now a fairly limited degree of spare capacity. If anything, recent developments suggest that the remaining spare capacity in the economy is being absorbed a little more rapidly than had been expected, and that inflation remains likely to overshoot the 2% target over the next three years.
The MPC’s reaction function is clear. The continued erosion of slack lessens the trade-off that the MPC is required to balance and, all else equal, reduces the MPC’s tolerance of above-target inflation.
As the Committee stated last week, if the economy continues to follow a path consistent with the prospect of a continued erosion of slack and a gradual rise in underlying inflationary pressure then, with the further lessening in the trade-off that this would imply, some withdrawal of monetary stimulus is likely to be appropriate over the coming months in order to return inflation sustainably to target.
The case for a modest monetary tightening is reinforced by the possibility that global equilibrium interest rates may be rising, meaning that monetary policy has to move in order to stand still.
Any prospective increases in Bank Rate would be expected to be at a gradual pace and to a limited extent, and to be consistent with monetary policy continuing to provide substantial support to the economy.
There remain considerable risks to the UK outlook, which include the response of households, businesses and financial markets to developments related to the process of EU withdrawal. The MPC will respond to these developments as they occur insofar as they affect the behaviour of households and businesses, and the outlook for inflation.
Source: Trading Economics
Russia Interest Rate
Japan Interest Rate
BoJ Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged
The Bank of Japan left its key short-term interest rate unchanged at -0.1 percent at its September 2017 meeting, hours after the Federal Reserve announced a plan to begin selling some of the assets on its balance sheet beginning in October. Policymakers also kept its 10-years government bond yield target around zero percent and maintained its upbeat view on private consumption and overseas economies.
With regard to the amount of JGBs to be purchased, the Bank will conduct buying at more or less the current pace -- an annual pace of increase of about 80 trillion yen.
The BoJ also determined by a 8-1 vote to purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japan real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) so that their amounts outstanding will increase at an annual paces of about JPY 6.0 trillion and about JPY 90 billion, respectively. As for CP and corporate bonds, the Bank will maintain their amounts outstanding at about 2.2 trillion yen and about 3.2 trillion yen respectively.
New board member Goushi Kataoka dissented to the BOJ's decision to keep its interest rate targets, saying current monetary policy was insufficient to bring inflation to 2 percent during fiscal 2019.
Excerpts from the Statement by the Bank of Japan:
Japan's economy is expanding moderately. Overseas economies have continued to grow at moderate pace on the whole. In this situation, exports have been on an increasing trend. On the domestic demand side, business fixed investment has been on a moderate increasing trend with corporate profits improving. Private consumption has increased its resilience against the background of steady improvement in the employment and income situation. Meanwhile, public investment have been increasing and housing investment has been more or less flat. Reflecting these increases in demand both at home and abroad, industrial production has been on an increasing trend, and labor market conditions have continued to tighthen steadily. Financial conditions are highly accommodative. On the price front, the year-on-year rate of change in the consumer price index (CPI, all items less fresh food) is around 0.5 percent. Inflation expectations have remained in a weakening phase.
With regard to the outlook, Japan's economy is likely to turn to a moderate expansion. Domestic demand is likely to follow an uptrend, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending being maintained in both the household and corporate sectors, on the back of highly accommodative financial conditions and fiscal spending through the government's large scale stimulus measures. Exports are expected to continue their moderate increasing trend on the back of an improvement in overseas economies. The year-on-year rate of change in the CPI is likely to continue on an uptrend and increase toward 2 percent, mainly on the back of an improvement in the output gap and a rise in medium-to long-term inflation expectations.
Risks to the outlook include the following: the US economy policies and the impact on global financial markets; developments in emerging and commodity-exporting economies; negotiations on the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (EU) and their efects; prospects regarding the European debt problem, including the financial sector, and geopolitical risks.
The Bank will continue with "Quantitative and Qualitative Monetary Easing (QQE) with a Negative Interest Rate," aiming to achieve the price stability target of 2 percent, as long as it is necessary for maintaining that target in a stable manner. It will continue expanding the monetary base until the year-on-year rate of increase in the observed CPI (all items less fresh food) exceeds 2 percent and stays above the target in a stable manner. The Bank will make policy adjustments as appropriate, taking account of developments in economc activity and prices as well as financial conditions, with a view to maintaining the momentum toward achieving the price stability target.
Source: Trading Economics