Economy51 minutes ago (Oct 14, 2021 05: 50PM ET)
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: International Monetary Fund logo is seen inside the headquarters at the end of the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, U.S., October 9, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
By David Lawder and Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The International Monetary Fund’s steering committee on Thursday urged global policymakers to monitor pricing dynamics closely, but to “look through” inflationary pressures that are transitory and will fade as economies normalize.
The International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), made up of 24 finance ministers and central bank governors from IMF member countries, said in a final communique https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2021/10/14/communique-of-the-forty-fourth-meeting-of-the-imfc that governments should “carefully calibrate” domestic policies to an evolving pandemic.
“We will continue to prioritize health spending and protecting the most vulnerable, while shifting focus, as appropriate, from crisis response to promoting growth and preserving long-term fiscal sustainability,” they said.
Inflation concerns, stoked by pent-up demand, supply chain bottlenecks, higher energy and commodity prices and weather events have been a hot debate topic at IMF and World Bank annual meetings this week, and contributed to the Fund trimming its global growth outlook https://www.reuters.com/business/imf-cuts-global-growth-outlook-supply-bottlenecks-hobble-pandemic-recovery-2021-10-12 on Tuesday.
“Central banks are monitoring price dynamics closely and can look through inflation pressures that are transitory. They will act appropriately if risks of inflation expectations de-anchoring become concrete,” the IMFC said, a reference to the banks using monetary policy tools to control inflation.
The language was toned down from an earlier draft that called for central banks to be ready to take “decisive actions to maintain price stability.”
TRANSITORY OR DURABLE?
Policymakers are wrestling with the inflation question as wealthy countries move beyond the pandemic to recovery, while developing economies struggle with COVID-19 variants, low vaccine access and a lack of resources. An abrupt tightening of monetary policy in the United States or Europe could prompt devastating fund outflows from developing countries, the IMF has warned.
“The key question is to know whether this is a transitory inflation or not. Nobody has a response to that key question,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters on Thursday, adding that he’s been discussing it this week with U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde.
Magdalena Andersson, the Swedish finance minister who chairs the IMFC panel, told a news conference that more initiatives were needed to ease global shortages of key goods, adding: “It’s important that we get the global value chains working better than they are today.”
The IMFC also called for clear communications by policymakers to limit negative cross-cou