The effects of a central bank's inflation forecasts on private sector forecasts: Recent evidence from Japan

BIS Working Papers No 585
September 2016

How central banks can best communicate to the market is an increasingly important topic in the central banking literature. With ever greater frequency, central banks communicate to the market through the forecasts of prices and output with the purposes of reducing uncertainty; at the same time, central banks generally rely on a publicly stated medium-term inflation target to help anchor expectations. This paper aims to document how much the release of the forecasts of one major central bank, the Bank of Japan (BOJ), has influenced private sector expectations of inflation, and whether the degree of influence depends to any degree on the adoption of an inflation target (IT). Consistent with earlier studies, we find the central bank's forecasts to be quite influential on private sector forecasts. In the case of next year forecasts, their impact continues into the IT regime. Thus, the difficulties of aiming at an inflation target from below do not necessarily diminish the influence of the central bank's inflation forecasts. 

JEL classification: E31, E52, E58

Keywords: central bank communication, Bank of Japan, inflation forecast, inflation targeting