Cost-benefit analysis of leaning against the wind

Presentation at the AQR Institute of Asset Management event Perspectives: Unprecedented Monetary Policy Intervention, London Business School, London, June 25, 2015.

Previous version presented at the Bank of England-Hong Kong Monetary Authority-International Monetary Fund conference on Monetary, Financial and Prudential Policy Interactions in the Post-Crisis World held at Bank of England, London, June 16-17, 2015.

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FT Alphaville post on Riksbank with many errors

Matthew Klein has published an FT Alphaville post with many errors, “Sweden’s inflation record is less interesting than you think.” Its main point is that “the harshest criticisms [of the Riksbank] seem to be unjustified” and that “A reevaluation of the Riksbank’s recent record looks to be in order.” But the post’s reasoning and conclusion do not stand up to scrutiny. Continue reading

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Update: The Riksbank’s target achievement does not look better with CPIF and CPIX inflation, or with HICP inflation

Update of previous post, now with data through March 2015 and with HICP inflation. CPIF inflation has an upward bias, since it excludes the effect on inflation of mortgage rates trending down but includes the effect of housing prices trending up. Nevertheless, counter to what is sometimes argued, the Riksbank’s target achievement does not look better with either CPIF and CPIX inflation, or with HICP inflation.

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Update of comparison of monetary policy in Sweden, the Eurozone, the UK, and the US

A previous post has been updated with new figures comparing the policy rates, inflation rates, and real policy rates in Sweden, the Eurozone, the UK, and the US. The Riksbank’s real policy rate increased by 3.5 percentage points to plus 1 during 2010-2011, whereas the real policy rates stayed low and negative in the other economies. According to this measure, the Riksbank’s policy was extremely tight during 2010-2013. More recently, the real policy rates has fallen in Sweden and risen in the other economies except the US.  Continue reading

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Harry Flam: Missing minutes of Riksbank monetary policy meeting

This is an English translation of an Ekonomistas post.

The current Riksbank monetary policy is inconsistent. This creates uncertainty, which in turn weakens the efficiency of monetary policy. The detailed minutes of the monetary policy meetings are an important part of the Riksbank’s communication policy. Oddly enough, such minutes are missing from the Riksbank’s latest monetary policy decision, creating additional uncertainty about monetary policy. It is important that monetary policy is clear and credible. This increases the Riksbank’s power to create consensus among economic decision makers about the economic outlook and thereby reduce uncertainty, which is good for the economy.

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Stefan Palmqvist: A contradictory monetary policy

This is an English translation of a Swedish Ekonomistas guest post  by Stefan Palmqvist, PhD, who works as an advisor at Finansinspektionen (the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority). The opinions expressed are his own and not necessarily those of anyone else at Finansinspektionen.

In a post on Ekonomistas (in Swedish), Mats Persson discusses if the Riksbank should use more weapons than the repo rate. Mats argues that such actions would not do any harm at present, but that they also would not do much good. I mean that they certainly can do harm. The Riksbank’s current interest rate path indicates that the repo rate will be increased, while the Riksbank at the same time buys government bonds to bring down interest rates in general and to weaken the krona. With such a contradictory monetary policy the Riksbank’s possibility to influence expectations is reduced, which in turn can make it difficult to achieve the inflation target.  Continue reading

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Bernanke on monetary policy and financial stability, including the Swedish experience

In his blog post “Should monetary policy take into account risks to financial stability?“, Ben Bernanke refers to the Swedish experience and my cost-benefit calculation, using the Riksbank’s own estimates, of the Riksbank’s leaning against the wind from the summer of 2010. According to this calculation, the benefit of the Riksbank’s actions was only about 0.4 percent of the cost.

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