Peterson Institute for International Economics

Roubini Topic Archive: Monetary Policy and Inflation

  • The Last Bullet

    US policymakers are running out of options to solve our massive unemployment problem and get the economy growing again. The Administration’s jobs bill faces resistance in Congress. The best option that can be implemented without a vote of Congress is to work through the market that started this mess in the first place—housing. The Administration […]

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  • Bernanke Did Not Bomb

    On Wednesday afternoon, April 27, 2011, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave the first scheduled press conference by a Federal Reserve chairman immediately following a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC).  Chairman Bernanke was sure footed and appeared not to be surprised by any of the questions. He answered most of the questions directly, although, like any public official, he did not always answer the question precisely and sometimes declined to do so.

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  • Exchange Rate Policy in Brazil

    The macroeconomic regime implanted in Brazil during the second administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and largely maintained by his successor, is typical of those of the advanced countries. The anchor is provided by an inflation-targeting regime (with a target inflation rate somewhat greater than in most advanced countries, of 4.5 percent a year, with a band around it of +/–2 percent). The exchange rate floats. The float is often described as free, but given the extent of recent reserve accumulation it would not qualify as a free float as understood by most economists. Fiscal policy has actually been more ambitious under the Lula regime, resulting for a time in a primary surplus of at least 4.25 percent of GDP (subsequently reduced to allow for a higher rate of public investment, and also temporarily reduced further to help combat the crisis). Monetary policy has then been directed at achieving the inflation target given fiscal policy, which—given history—has implied maintaining high interest rates.

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  • To Ease or Not to Ease? A Dialogue

    Joseph E. Gagnon and Michael Mussa discuss the merits of the Federal Reserve and other central banks engaging in quantitative easing to stimulate the economy.

    Edited transcript, recorded October 1, 2010. © Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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  • The Sun Is Rising in the East

    What hand wringing there has been recently on both sides of the Atlantic as the major European economies pursue austerity in their budgets and social programs! But is it not overdone? Europeans and Americans need only look east—to the European Union’s new eastern members—to see that austerity can deliver growth and improve the efficiency of the European economic and social systems.

    Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were hit by profound financial crisis in late 2008, but their cure has proven effective. Almost all East European economies are growing and their public sectors have become leaner and more efficient.

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  • New Imbalances Will Threaten Global Recovery

    Op-ed in the Financial Times June 10, 2010 Global imbalances are about to jump again. New estimates from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development suggest that the sharp decline in the exchange rate of the euro, along with tepid European growth, will produce eurozone surpluses of at least $300 billion (€251 billion, £208 billion) […]

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  • The G-20 and “Chermany”

    Op-ed in Business Standard June 23, 2010   

    Of all the major couplings that have gained prominence—Jairam Ramesh’s “Chindia,” Niall Ferguson’s “Chimerica,” and Martin Wolf’s “Chermany”—it is very much the latter that is in the spotlight.

    The announcement over the weekend by China to introduce greater exchange rate flexibility is unambiguously good news, provided, of course, that intent is followed up with some actual upward movement of the renminbi. Domestic economic imperatives, and specifically the role of currency appreciation in dampening overheating, have been widely credited as having influenced China’s decision. But there is a mystery here. China’s competitiveness was getting eroded by two sources: domestic wages and prices, which are rising faster than in partner countries, and by the decline of the euro, which—combined with China’s peg to the dollar—was causing the renminbi to rise in trade-weighted terms. So why is China, so wedded to the mercantilist export growth model, changing its policies to further aggravate the decline in competitiveness, especially when the global recovery is still looking shaky?

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  • A Default by Greece: Why and When?

    The $1 trillion rescue of the eurozone, aimed at averting a spread of contagion from Greece, did nothing to help the Greeks address their underlying and unsustainable fiscal situation. Greece is insolvent and needs to lower its total debt burden before 2012.

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  • Renminbi Undervaluation: Any Way You Look at It

    Intellectually, there are two ways of being in denial about renminbi undervaluation. The first is to succumb to what John Williamson has called the doctrine of immaculate transfer. Paul Krugman, in his recent blog posts, has been taking Stephen Roach and Joe Stiglitz to task for doing so: i.e., for their claiming that China’s current account surpluses have little to do with exchange rates and that surpluses are all about savings and investment in each of the trading countries. Specifically, raising savings in China will somehow—magically and automatically—translate into current account adjustments irrespective of changes in exchange rates (hence Williamson’s immaculate transfer metaphor).

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  • How Quickly Will China Move?

    If China does let its currency start rising again, as widely speculated, the overriding issue is whether it will move quickly and substantially enough. The renminbi is undervalued by about 25 percent on a trade-weighted average basis and by about 40 percent against the dollar. No one expects China to curtail this huge misalignment in a single step. But it needs to both make a sufficient “down payment” to be credible and assure that appreciation will continue until the undervaluation has been eliminated.

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