On (Current) Monetary Tightening and Inflation

In response to rising inflation, monetary policy in many countries around the world has recently been tightened, often sharply. This Research Brief shows that central banks have reacted with remarkable similarity, and that, contrary to what current policy rates might suggest, tightening in the USA and the euro area has so far been of roughly the same magnitude. It is also shown that the disinflationary effects of monetary tightening are not yet clearly evident. This is true both for the world's major currencies as well as for European currencies. The report then draws on new empirical evidence which shows that the ECB's interest rate policy from 1999 to 2019 had the desired effect on inflation, but that this effect unfolded only gradually. Thus, the price-dampening effects of the current tightening cycle have yet to materialise. The more monetary policy is tightened now, the more disinflation will be amplified as non-monetary price shocks unwind. It therefore seems appropriate to wait for the effects of the monetary policy measures taken so far before tightening further.