IWF stellt Inflationsziele infrage (+ updates)

IWF stellt Inflationsziele infrage
Alles auf Wachstum: Der Internationale Währungsfonds zieht die niedrigen Inflationsziele der meisten Notenbanken in Zweifel. Statt bei 2 Prozent könne es auch bei 4 Prozent liegen, schreibt der IWF-Forschungsdirektor in einem internen Papier.
ManagerMagazin
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Anmerkung
Grundsätzlich nicht die schlechteste Idee, die Makroziele neu zu definieren. Allerdings müsste dazu die Lohnpolitik speziell in Japan und Deutschland expansiver gestaltet werden. Dies könnte auf Sicht Japan helfen, aus der mittlerweile 20 Jahre andauernden Deflationspirale herauszufinden und in Deutschland die Binnenkonjunktur nachhaltig fördern.
Allein fehlt mir der Glaube, dass die Notenbanken in down-under (Infla-Ziel 2-3%), Kanada [1-3%), Süd-Korea (2,5%), UK (2,5%), EZB (2%) so ohne weiteres auf dieses Kurz einschwenken möchten.

Dazu ein Auszug aus dem Standardwerk „Volkswirtschaftslehre“ von Sibylle Brunner und Karl Kehrle (Seite 606):

„Wenn die Staatsverschuldung schwierig wird, bietet sich expansive Geldpolitik an, um die Firmen zu Investitionen zu veranlassen. Die japanische Zentralbank senkte daher die Nominalzinsen immer mehr. Seit Jahren liegen diese bei praktisch 0%, ohne dass dadurch die Investitionsneigung nenneswert zugenommen hätte.
Japan steckt in einer keynesianischen Liquiditätsfalle, in der man bekanntlich mit Geldpolitik nicht weiter kommt.
Krugman empfahl daher bereits 1998 einen sehr unkonventionellen Weg zur Bekämpfung der „Japanischen Krankheit“, nämlich eine „managed Inflation“. Er führte aus, dass nur eine gezielte Inflationspolitik Japan aus der Depression führen könne, da nur so die Realzinsen dauerhaft unter 0% gedrückt werden und auf diese Weise womöglich doch Investitionsanreize entstehen könnten. Wenn man allerdings erst mal in einer Liquiditätsfalle steckt, lassen sich kaum noch Inflationserwartungen herbeiführen.
Zur Lösung dieses Problems schlug Hans-Werner Sinn, der Chef des Ifo-Instituts, Mitte 2001 daher folgendes vor:
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„Die einzige reale Möglichkeit, die Japan heute noch verbleibt, ist die Abwertung der eigenen Währung. Diese kann die japanische Notenbank jederzeit realisieren, in dem sie neue Yen druckt und am Devisenmarkt für den Kauf von Dollars einsetzt. Die Abwertung stärkt die Auslandsnachfrage und hilft der Wirtschaft unmittelbar. Mittelbar hilft sie, indem sie die Schaffung eines Inflationstrends ermöglicht und der Notenbank in einer temporären Rezession das Mittel eines negativen Realzinssatzes zur Belebung der Investitionen zur Verfügung stellt.

Die japanische Krankheit muß man auch in Europa ernst nehmen … Das japanische Beispiel zeigt, dass nicht nur in der Inflation eine Gefahr liegt, sondern auch in einer zu rigoros verfochtenen Politik der Preisstabilität. Eine angemessene Abwägung beider Gefahren findet derzeit nicht statt.“

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Unmittelbarer Ausfluss solcher Besorgnis war eine Revision der Strategie der Europäischen Zentralbank im Jahr 2003, in der das Ziel eines stabilen Preisniveaus ausdrücklich spezifiziert wurde: Die Steigerungsrate des Harmonisierten Verbraucherpreisindex HVPI soll zwar runter, aber nahe bei 2% p.a. liegen. Das bedeutet, die Geldpolitik muss dafür Sorge tragen, dass nicht nur Inflation, sondern mindestens ebenso energisch Deflation bekämpft und die Gefahr einer Liquiditätsfalle à la Japan vermieden wird.“

Ihr Oeconomicus

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Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
What are the goals of U.S. monetary policy?
Monetary policy has two basic goals: to promote „maximum“ sustainable output and employment and to promote „stable“ prices. These goals are prescribed in a 1977 amendment to the Federal Reserve Act.
What do maximum sustainable output and employment mean?
In the long run, the amount of goods and services the economy produces (output) and the number of jobs it generates (employment) both depend on factors other than monetary policy. These factors include technology and people’s preferences for saving, risk, and work effort. So, maximum sustainable output and employment mean the levels consistent with these factors in the long run.
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If the Fed can stimulate the economy out of a recession, why doesn’t it stimulate the economy all the time?
Persistent attempts to expand the economy beyond its long-run growth path will press capacity constraints and lead to higher and higher inflation, without producing lower unemployment or higher output in the long run. In other words, not only are there no long-term gains from persistently pursuing expansionary policies, but there’s also a price—higher inflation.
What’s so bad about higher inflation?
High inflation is bad because it can hinder economic growth, and for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it makes it harder to tell what a change in the price of a particular product means. For example, a firm that is offered higher prices for its products can have trouble telling how much of the price change is due to stronger demand for its products and how much reflects the economy-wide rise in prices.
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So should the Fed try to get the inflation rate to zero?
Actually, there’s a lot of debate about that. While some economists have suggested zero inflation as a target, others argue that an inflation rate that’s too low can be a problem. For example, if inflation is very low or close to zero, then short-term interest rates also are likely to be very close to zero. In that case, the Fed might not have enough room to lower short-term interest rates if it needed to stimulate the economy. Of course, the Fed could conduct policy using more unconventional methods (such as trying to reduce long-term interest rates), but it’s not clear that those methods would be as easy to use or as effective. Another problem is that, when inflation is very close to zero, there’s a bigger risk of deflation.
What’s so bad about deflation?
First, let’s talk about the difference between disinflation and deflation. Disinflation just means that the rate of inflation is slowing—say, from 3% a year to 2% a year. Deflation, in contrast, means that there’s a fall in prices; and it’s not just a fall in prices in some sectors—like the familiar falling prices of a lot of computer equipment. Rather, in a deflation, prices are falling throughout the economy, so the inflation rate is negative. That may sound good, if you’re a consumer.
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So that’s why the other goal is „stable prices“?
Yes. Price „stability“ is basically a low-inflation environment where people and firms can make financial decisions without worrying about where prices are headed. Moreover, this is all the Fed can achieve in the long run.
If low inflation is the only thing the Fed can achieve in the long run, why isn’t it the sole focus of monetary policy?
Because the Fed can determine the economy’s average rate of inflation, some commentators—and some members of Congress as well—have emphasized the need to define the goals of monetary policy in terms of price stability, which is achievable.
But the Fed, of course, also can affect output and employment in the short run. And big swings in output and employment are costly to people, too. So, in practice, the Fed, like most central banks, cares about both inflation and measures of the short-run performance of the economy.
Are the two goals ever in conflict?
Yes, sometimes they are. One kind of conflict involves deciding which goal should take precedence at any point in time. For example, suppose there’s a recession and the Fed works to prevent employment losses from being too severe; this short-run success could turn into a long-run problem if monetary policy remains expansionary too long, because that could trigger inflationary pressures. So it’s important for the Fed to find the balance between its short-run goal of stabilization and its longer-run goal of maintaining low inflation.
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Why don’t the goals include helping a region of the country that’s in recession?
Often, some state or region is going through a recession of its own while the national economy is humming along. But the Fed can’t concentrate its efforts on expanding the weak region for two reasons. First, monetary policy works through credit markets, and since credit markets are linked nationally, the Fed simply has no way to direct stimulus only to a particular part of the country that needs help. Second, if the Fed stimulated whenever any state had economic hard times, it would be stimulating much of the time, and this would result in excessive stimulation for the overall country and higher inflation.
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Why don’t the goals include trying to prevent stock market „bubbles“ like the one at the end of the 1990s?
In theory, stock prices should reflect the value of firms‘ „fundamentals,“ such as their expected future earnings. So it’s hard to come up with logical explanations for why they would get out of line, that is, why a bubble would form. After all, U.S. stock markets are among the most efficient in the world—there’s a lot of information available and the trading mechanisms function very smoothly. And stock market analysts and others devote huge amounts of resources to figuring out what the appropriate price of a stock is at any point in time.
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Should the Fed ignore the stock market then?
Not at all. Stock markets provide information about the future course of the economy that the Fed may find useful in conducting policy. For instance, a sustained increase in the stock market is likely to make households feel wealthier, which tends to make them increase their consumption. And if the economy were already at full capacity, this would cause inflationary pressures. So a sustained increase in the stock market could lead the Fed to modify its inflation and output forecasts and adjust its policy response accordingly.
Beyond concerns about the economy, the Fed also pays attention to the stock market because of its concerns about financial market stability. A good example of this is what happened after the stock market crash of 1987. At that time, the Fed cut interest rates and stated that it was ready to supply the liquidity needs of the market because it wanted to ensure that markets would continue to function.
FED, San Francisco
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Nachträge und Ergänzungen
Was Sie über die Ursache der Weltwirtschaftskrise wissen sollten: Die Inflationspolitik vor dem großen Finale
Michael von Prollius, ef-Magazin – 31.03.2010
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Wie aus einer Kreditklemme eine Inflationspolitik wird
Thorsten Polleit, Handelsblatt – 30.01.2012
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Inflationsgefahr durch unbegrenzten Ankauf von Staatsanleihen durch die EZB
Die Europäische Zentralbank (EZB) plant, unbegrenzt Staatsanleihen von Euro-Krisenländern zu kaufen, um so die erdrückenden Zinsen jener Staaten auf ein erträgliches Maß zu senken.
Was bedeutet das? Fragen und Antworten.
Prof. Lüder Gerken (Centrum für Europäische Politik) – HNA – 04.10.2012