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The natural interest rate in Latin America


  • Javier G. Gómez-Pineda

    (Banco de la República de Colombia)


The natural interest rate is a critical building block in the evaluation of a monetary policy stance. We estimate the natural interest rate for the five largest Latin American economies. We follow the method in Laubach and Williams (2003), complemented with rational and survey inflation expectations and adapted to Bayesian maximum likelihood estimation. The model is the standard neo-Keynesian model, complemented with equations for the natural interest rate in nominal terms and the rational inflation expectations. We find that in real terms the natural interest rate trends down and remains above zero in the larger economies (Brazil, Mexico and Colombia), while it remains without a noticeable trend although closer to zero in the smaller economies (Chile and Peru). We also find that in nominal terms, the natural rate trends down, in most economies a consequence of the drop in inflation and inflation expectations. Regarding the policy implications, the natural interest rate still does not pose a critical challenge for monetary policy in Latin America, as it does in advanced economies (Ball 2014). Nonetheless, in Chile and Peru the natural rate in nominal terms is just above 2 and 3 percent, respectively, offering narrow room for expansionary monetary policy. **** RESUMEN: La tasa de interés natural es un elemento crítico en la evaluación de la postura de la política monetaria. El artículo presenta la estimación de la tasa de interés natural en las 5 economías más grandes de América Latina. Seguimos el método de Laubach y Williams (2003), complementado con expectativas racionales y de encuestas, y adaptado a la estimación de máxima verosimilitud bayesina. El modelo es el neo-keynesiano estándar, complementado con ecuaciones para la tasa de interés natural en términos nominales y para las expectativas de inflación racionales. Encontramos que en términos reales la tasa de interés natural muestra una tendencia decreciente y permanece por encima de cero en las economías más grandes (Brasil, México y Colombia), mientras que permanece sin tendencia discernible aunque más cerca de cero en las economías más pequeñas (Chile y Perú). También encontramos que en términos nominales la tasa natural muestra una tendencia decreciente, en la mayoría de las economías como consecuencia de la caída en la inflación y en las expectativas de inflación. En cuanto a las implicaciones de política, la tasa de interés natural aún no representa un desafío crítico para la política monetaria en América Latina, como es el caso en las economías avanzadas (Ball 2014). Sin embargo, en Chile y Perú la tasa de interés natural en términos nominales se encuentra apenas por encima de 2 y 3 por ciento, respectivamente, ofreciendo un margen estrecho para una política monetaria expansiva.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier G. Gómez-Pineda, 2019. "The natural interest rate in Latin America," Borradores de Economia 1067, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:1067
    DOI: 10.32468/be.1067

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John B. Taylor, 2017. "Rules Versus Discretion: Assessing the Debate Over the Conduct of Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 24149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Svensson, Lars E. O., 1999. "Inflation targeting as a monetary policy rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 607-654, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gómez-Pineda, Javier G., 2020. "Volatility spillovers and the global financial cycle across economies: Evidence from a global semi-structural model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 331-373.

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    More about this item


    Natural interest rate; Semi-structural model; Inflation expectations; Expansionary monetary policy; Tasa de interés natural; Modelo semiestructural; Expectativas de inflación; Política monetaria expansiva;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • E37 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

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