Monetary policy

Post n°168
Published on 06/30/2020

With nominal interest rates close to zero, the scope for using conventional monetary policy becomes very limited. However, this liquidity trap does not undermine central banks’ capacity for action. A recent study shows that they can stimulate the economy even in periods of low interest rates, and that they are therefore equipped to act effectively in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Chart 1 – The effect of monetary easing remains positive in the euro area in ELB times
Chart 1 – The effect of monetary easing remains positive in the euro area in ELB times Source: Lhuissier, Mojon and Jubio-Ramirez (2020). NB: The accommodative monetary policy decision (“monetary policy shock”) corresponds to a fall in two-year sovereign interest rates of the order of 10 basis points.
Post n°166
Published on 06/12/2020

The Eurosystem responded quickly to the COVID-19 crisis, deploying significant measures to support the provision of financing to the economy through the bank lending and market financing channels. The measures take three forms: credit operations have been adjusted and extended, collateral easing measures have been introduced, and securities purchase programmes have been strengthened.

Table: main monetary policy decisions taken in March-June 2020
Table: main monetary policy decisions taken in March-June 2020 Source: Banque de France
Post n°164
Published on 06/05/2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted lender-of-last-resort interventions and massive asset purchases by central banks. Such responses are all the more necessary since the transmission of monetary policy to the real economy is asymmetric. Evidence suggests that the effects of an expansionary monetary policy are more limited than those of a contractionary policy. One reason lies in the existence of downward bank lending rate rigidity.

Chart 1 - Year-on-year changes in Eonia and bank lending rates in the euro area (per cent)
Chart 1 - Year-on-year changes in Eonia and bank lending rates in the euro area (per cent) Source: Levieuge and Sahuc (2020)
Post n°162
Published on 05/20/2020

Is central bank money “magic money” that could avoid issuing government debt or extinguish existing debt? This blog explains what is central bank money, how it is created, and the relationship between central bank and government finances. There are no easy options to avoid paying for fiscal deficits.

Figure 1: Sovereign debt held by the Eurosystem as % of GDP
Figure 1: Sovereign debt held by the Eurosystem as % of GDP Source : ECB ; Note : last data point 2019 Q4.
Post n°157
Published on 04/15/2020

Covid-19 is a public health emergency. Economic activity has been suspended due to the necessary confinement measures taken almost everywhere in the world. The targeted policies of major central banks to address this economic crisis share many common features but differ in details and labels.

Chart 1: Timeline of central banks’ main responses to the Covid-19 crisis.
Chart 1: Timeline of central banks’ main responses to the Covid-19 crisis. Source: Banque de France.
Post n°151
Published on 02/04/2020

Over the cycle, monetary policy can be redistributional. Lower interest rates boost asset prices and lower borrowing costs but also increase employment and wages. But in the long run, monetary policy does not have systematic distributional effects; intergenerational transfers, globalisation, taxes and technological changes are the key fundamental drivers of inequality.

Chart 1: Wealth and income concentration at the top of the distribution in France and in the United States
Chart 1: Wealth and income concentration at the top of the distribution in France and in the United States Sources: Garbinti, Goupille and Piketty (2016), Piketty, Saez, and Zucman, (2016), wid.word. Note: Pre-tax national income share held by the Top 1%; net personal wealth share held by the Top 1%.
Post n°150
Published on 01/28/2020

The Taylor rule provides a natural paragon of short-term nominal interest rates, albeit one that is subject to considerable uncertainty. This post quantifies this uncertainty and shows how this quantification contributes to monetary policy assessment. It shows that, in 2019, short-term interest rates in the euro area were close to the middle of the benchmark interval thus obtained.

Chart 1: Distribution of Taylor rates, 2015-2019 Sources: Eurostat and author’s calculations. Note: The pink areas, from the darkest to the lightest, indicate the 50%, 70%, 80%, 90% and 95% confidence intervals of Taylor rates.
Post n°144
Published on 12/13/2019

By Jean Barthélemy and Eric Mengus

The anchoring of inflation expectations results from an equilibrium between the private sector’s expectations of future central bank actions and the latter's actual actions. This equilibrium is often reduced to the question of a monetary policy rule. While the adoption of a rule helps in the formation of inflation expectations, it is not sufficient to anchor them permanently.

Post n°128
Published on 08/20/2019

The recent inflation dynamics in advanced countries are difficult to understand and forecast. This post looks at the contribution of Consensus Economics Inc. projections in forecasting total one-year inflation in France over the period 2009-2019.

Chart 1: Capturing the inflation trend using Consensus Economics Inc. projections
Chart 1: Capturing the inflation trend using Consensus Economics Inc. projections Sources: INSEE, Consensus Economics Inc., author’s calculations. Chart 1: Total inflation (year-on-year HICP), average of one-year inflation projections for year (N+1) of Consensus Economics Inc., and inflation trend for France
Post n°127
Published on 08/02/2019

The ECB balance of risks for price stability and growth provides useful information on the Governing Council’s assessment of risks to the euro area outlook. Abstracting from unconventional monetary policy measures, an analysis since mid-2003 shows that: i) upside risks to inflation are associated with rate hikes, ii) downward risks to growth with rate cuts, and iii) in the case of conflicting signals, inflation takes priority.

Figure 1. ECB balance of risks and key ECB policy rates
Figure 1. ECB balance of risks and key ECB policy rates Sources: ECB and authors’ calculations. Since Sept. 2014 (vertical dashed line), no comment on inflation risks, except for downside risks from Sept. 2015 to March 2016. The DFR cut of 8 Oct. 2008, reversed the day after, is not shown.

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