Inflation targeting in emerging countries: the exchange rate issues



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Texas A&M University


The current discussion of Inflation Targeting (IT) in emerging economies deals with the effects that nominal exchange rate movements have on the overall inflation rate. The literature has focused in the analysis of the advantages and disadvantages that IT has with respect to other monetary policy regimes and the relevancy of the nominal exchange rate pass-through effect into inflation. So far none of them have dealt with the differences arising from the policy instruments used to fight off inflationary pressure under an IT regime. The literature on IT for emerging economies can be separated in two categories. In the first category the monetary authority uses interest rate policy as the instrument variable to implement and control the inflation target. The second category illustrates when the monetary authorities use international reserves as the instrument to influence the nominal exchange rate in such a way that the depreciation rate is consistent with the overall inflation target. This dissertation presents a model in which both policy instruments are available to the monetary authority. This model is used to address two questions: i) Is IT better than a monetary rule regime? and ii) Is it better to intervene directly in the foreign exchange market rather than use interest rate policy to control exchange rate pressure on inflation, or are they equivalent? The results show that there are important differences between these choices and the answers to these questions are shock dependent. These differences arise because the intervention needed under IT is accompanied by important output costs or benefits depending on the direction of the shock being analyzed. Regarding the pass-through effect, some studies have shown that the pass-through effect from currency depreciation into inflation has been decreasing and therefore is becoming less of an issue for these countries. The literature has offered different explanations for these declines but so far they have not been directly linked to the adoption of IT. This dissertation shows that lower pass-through levels can be a natural result of fear of floating observed in emerging countries that adopted IT and therefore exchange rate effects on inflation are still relevant.