DP9722 | Forward Guidance by Inflation-Targeting Central Banks

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03/11/2013

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Abstract

This paper assesses the value of central-bank communication about likely future policy, with particular reference to the regular publication of projections for the future path of the policy rate, as with the Riksbank's publication of the repo rate path. It first discusses why publication of a projected interest-rate path represents a natural and desirable evolution of inflation-forecast targeting procedures, and the conditions under which the assumptions about future policy underlying such projections will be intertemporally consistent. It then discusses evidence on the extent to which central-bank statements influence private-sector interest-rate expectations. Particular attention is given to the potential use of forward guidance as an additional tool of policy when an executive lower bound for the policy rate is reached, and alternative approaches to forward guidance in this context are compared, including the recent adoption of quantitative "thresholds" for unemployment and inflation expectations by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The potential role of a nominal GDP level target within an inflation-targeting regime is also considered.