Major central banks put inflation fight first as growth slows

Brian Leclere - 08 September 2022 - APP Economy MARKET_WATCH

The European Central Bank on Thursday lifted its key interest rate by an unprecedented 75 basis points and signalled further hikes, the latest major central bank to prioritise taming inflation before a weakening economy.

Canada and Australia also lifted rates this week. Japan, which is yet to lift rates in this cycle, is the holdout dove among the 10 big developed economies.

In total, the following central banks have so far raised rates in this cycle by a combined 1,615 basis points.

Here’s a look at where policymakers stand in the race to contain inflation, from hawkish to dovish.


GRAPHIC: Fight against inflation



Traders anticipate an 84% chance the U.S. Federal Reserve will deliver a third consecutive 75 basis-point (bps) rate rise at its next meeting on Sept. 20-21.

Fed chief Jerome Powell has made clear that taming inflation is the central bank’s priority even if that comes at the expense of weaker economic growth.


GRAPHIC: Is U.S. inflation peaking?



The Bank of Canada on Wednesday hiked interest rates by 75 bps to 3.35%, a 14-year high, and promised further tightening to battle inflation at a four-decade high.

In July, the BoC delivered the first 100-bps rate increase among the world’s advanced economies in the current policy-tightening cycle.


GRAPHIC: Canada goes big again to tame inflation



The Reserve Bank of New Zealand last month delivered its seventh straight hike — and fourth consecutive rise of 50 bps — to lift rates to 3%, the highest since September 2015.

The RBNZ also struck a more hawkish tone. It now sees rates at 4% by early 2023, versus a previous projection of 3.7%, implying at least one more 50 bps rate hike at upcoming meetings.


GRAPHIC: New Zealand monetary policy



The Bank of England is expected to hike again by as much as 75 bps when it meets next week. Last month, the BoE lifted its key rate by half a percentage point to 1.75% – its highest level since 2008.

It has warned that Britain faced a recession with a peak-to-trough fall in output of 2.1%. The prospect of soaring double-digit inflation has investors expecting rate hikes will not stop until around June 2023 with peaks near 4.4%.


GRAPHIC: Bank of England under pressure again



Norway, the first big developed economy to kick off a rate-hiking cycle last year, last month raised rates another half a percentage point to 1.75% and said more hikes were likely, probably including one in September. The Norges Bank meets on Sept. 22.


GRAPHIC: Soaring inflation



The Reserve Bank of Australia hiked by another 50 bps on Tuesday, for a fifth month running. But the central bank dropped a reference to “normalising” policy, suggesting rates were now closer to neutral, while flagging it had more work to do.

The RBA has delivered 225 bps of hikes since May, taking its key rate to a seven-year high of 2.35%.


GRAPHIC: RBA looks for a path back to inflation target



A late-comer to the inflation battle, Sweden’s Riksbank delivered a 50 bps hike on June 30 to 0.75%, its largest in over 20 years.

The Riksbank has reversed its forecasts to keep rates unchanged until 2024 and now expects to hike to 2% in early 2023. Markets are fully pricing in a 75 bps move at the Sept. 20 meeting.


GRAPHIC: Sweden joins the rate race



The ECB was late to the hiking game but is catching up fast.

Following up on its July rate hike, the ECB on Thursday raised its deposit rate to 0.75% from zero and lifted its main refinancing rate to 1.25%, their highest levels since 2011, with further moves anticipated in October and December.

The ECB also raised its inflation projections once again, lifting the 2023 outlook to 5.5% from 3.5% and putting the 2024 rate at 2.3%, above its 2% target.


GRAPHIC: ECB monetary policy



The Swiss National Bank (SNB) meets on Sept. 22 and has flagged further monetary tightening to contain inflation running well above the 0%-to-2% target range at 3.5%.

The SNB in June unexpectedly hiked rates by 50 bps. It is also prepared to let the Swiss franc strengthen to try to curb imported inflation, departing from its years-long stance of reining in the franc’s value and protect its export-reliant economy.


GRAPHIC: SNB’s price stability issue



is the holdout dove. The Bank of Japan next meets on Sept 21-22 and will likely keep rates at an ultra-low -0.1%.


Although inflation has exceeded the Bank of Japan’s 2% target for several months, the BoJ is resolved to keep rates low to support a fragile economy.

Source: Major central banks put inflation fight first as growth slows

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