Monetary policy in a changing environment
The papers in this volume were presented and discussed at the Autumn Central Bank Economists' Meeting held at the BIS in Basel on 14-15 October 2002. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss challenges that central banks have faced in the current environment characterised by low and comparatively stable inflation, structural supply side improvements, the apparently high credibility of central banks' anti-inflation commitment and liberalised financial markets. These challenges have included learning how to deal with unforeseen potential increases in productivity growth, major expansions in credit and asset prices, and, in some cases, even financial instability and deflation. Another challenge has been the recent sudden and widespread slowdown in economic activity that, uncharacteristically, was not triggered by a tightening of monetary policy designed to quell inflationary pressures but rather by the unwinding of an investment boom. The meeting explored potential changes in the dynamics of the business cycle, in particular the ability to identify inflationary and deflationary pressures, and the implications for monetary policy, including the challenges posed by the zero lower bound on interest rates.
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