CHART OF THE WEEK 📈
Inflation has been a global problem, and the world’s central banks seem in sync on monetary policy tightening to fight it. While the direction of policy is uniform, the pace and aggression of central banks have been quite different.
First, there are the prompt and aggressive ones like the US, England and India
In the US, at its last policy meeting, the Fed raised its target interest rate by 75 bps to 3.00-3.25%, and signalled more increases as it set projections at 4.40% by the end of this year, and 4.60% in 2023, before it moderates.
In England, the BoE has raised rates seven times in succession since December 2021. With sticky inflation, the street is pricing in a hike of 1 pp next month and sees benchmark rates going up to 6% by May 2023 from the current 2.25%.
In India, the RBI considers the inflation trajectory to be uncertain, and like all other central banks seems committed to fighting it. With an increase in rates by 50 bps to 5.9%, the last meeting marked India’s fourth straight rate hike.
Then there are ones which started slow and have now picked up the pace
Europe started super slow on fighting inflation, but increased rates by 125 bps in the past two meetings, the fastest it has gone in terms of policy tightening. For months Europe was trying to lift rates to a ‘neutral’ setting (1.5-2%). But that needs to now change to ‘restrictive’ as Europe’s gas problems seem increasingly aggravating.
And we have an outlier
China stands out by slashing its key interest rates unexpectedly to prop up an economy hit hard by COVID lockdowns and a worsening realty market meltdown.