Monetary policy response in emerging market economies: why was it different this time?

BIS Bulletin  |  No 32  | 
12 November 2020

Key takeaways

  • During the Covid-19-induced financial stress in March 2020, central banks in emerging market economies (EMEs) departed from their monetary policy playbook by cutting rates even in the face of sharp currency depreciations and massive capital outflows.
  • Two factors were at play. First, the cyclical position of EMEs gave more room for easing of monetary policy, while structural changes improved the anchoring of inflation expectations and kept a lid on exchange rate pass-through. Second, the swift monetary policy easing by the Federal Reserve and other advanced economy central banks calmed global financial conditions. These policies capped the appreciation pressures on the US dollar, an EME risk factor, and gave EMEs greater room to cut interest rates.
  • Monetary easing and asset purchases helped cushion the impact of portfolio outflows on local currency sovereign bond markets. Synchronised monetary and fiscal policies supported one another.

Online appendix