Monetary policy strategy in a global environment
This paper discusses the structural implications of real and financial globalisation, with the aim of drawing lessons for the conduct of monetary policy and, in particular, for the assessment of risks to price stability. The first conclusion of the paper is that globalisation may have played only a limited role in reducing inflation and output volatility in developed economies. Central banks should remain focused on their mandate to preserve price stability. However, the globalisation of financial markets over the last 25 years has had major implications for the conduct of monetary policy. Four elements characterise the new financial landscape: the decline in the “home bias”; the increase in the size of international financial transactions relative to transactions in goods and services; the increase in the number of countries adopting inflation targeting and currency peg monetary regimes; and the transformation of financial market microstructure. The paper argues that in this new environment monetary policy should systematically incorporate financial analysis into its assessment of the risks to price stability. Monetary policy should “lean against the wind” of asset price bubbles that could burst at a high cost and hinder the maintenance of macroeconomic and financial stability. Further, in view of the interlinkages among financial markets worldwide, macro-financial surveillance at the international level needs to be strengthened and monetary policymakers need to cooperate and exchange information on a wider scale and at a deeper level with financial supervisors. Finally, the paper reviews the rationale for a central bank to act (in concert with other central banks) as the ultimate provider of liquidity to financial markets in situations of extreme instability and market malfunctioning. A sudden and sharp liquidity drought in the market should be tackled with appropriate measures that could even go beyond the extraordinary refinancing of monetary and financial institutions. In these circumstances, the central bank should clearly communicate that the aim of its liquidity provision measures is to support the proper functioning of financial markets, and that they do not indicate a change in the monetary policy stance (“separation principle”). JEL Classification: E44, E58, F33, F42.
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