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The past week in monetary policy saw interest rate decisions announced by 9 central banks around the world. Of those that changed interest rates (all dropping rates) were: Indonesia -50bps to 6.00%, Serbia -75bps to 10.00%, and Jamaica -50bps to 6.25%. Meanwhile those that held interest rates unchanged were: The UK 0.50%, South Africa 5.50%, South Korea 3.25%, Poland 4.50%, Malaysia 3.00%, and Peru 4.25%.
Some of the key themes and trends emerging through the week included an increasing bias towards easing monetary policy settings. Indonesia surprised the markets with a 50 basis point cut in its rate, Serbia did likewise, as the external risks and slowing global growth has put pressure on central banks to put in place preventative measures to support their economies. For other central banks the already loose monetary policy settings, and inflationary pressures have been among the only things stopping a wider adoption of emergency/preventative policy loosening and stimulus measures.
Following are some of the key soundbites from the central bank monetary policy media releases:
Looking at the central bank calendar, of the major central banks, next week there's just the Bank of Japan scheduled to meet to review monetary policy settings. Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of Australia will release the minutes on Tuesday of its last meeting where it cut rates 25bps.
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The Bank of Jamaica reduced its policy rate by a cumulative 50 basis points to 6.25% in the September quarter. The Bank said in it's quarterly report: "The Bank's policy rate, the interest rate payable on 30-day certificates of deposit, was reduced on two occasions by a cumulative 50 basis points. Accordingly, at the end of September the policy rate was 6.25 per cent. The Bank's action was informed by an improved outlook for inflation for the rest of the fiscal year, a protracted period of stability in the exchange rate, adequate net international reserves and weak but improving domestic demand conditions."
The Central Reserve Bank of Peru held its monetary policy reference rate unchanged at 4.25%. The Bank said: "This decision takes into account the lower growth being recorded by some components of expenditure, as well as the intensification of international financial risks. Should these trends continue, the Central Bank will change its monetary policy stance."
Peru's central bank also held the interest rate at 4.25% at its September meeting, while the bank last raised the monetary policy reference rate by 25 basis points to 4.25% in May this year. Peru reported annual inflation of 4.2% in October, up from 3.73% in September, 3.35% in August and July, and compared to 2.9% in June, 3.07% in May, 3.34% in April, and above the Bank's 1-3% inflation target.
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