FOMC preview – please hike, but be careful going forward

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to hike the Fed funds target rate by 25bp today. The real question is how much more the Fed will deliver going forward.

To get an idea about we are happy to give you a sneak preview on the “country page” for the US monetary policy from our soon to be launched Global Monetary Conditions Monitor (GMCM).

See here (in PDF here):

Skærmbillede 2017-03-15 kl. 07.20.51.png

Just to explain what we are doing in GMCM we do not try to forecast what central bankers will do, but rather we assess or measure monetary conditions. This is a lot less straight forward than people often think. For example the actually level of the key policy rate – in the case of the Fed the Fed funds target rate – on its own says very little about the monetary stance.

Overall, the price level and nominal demand in the economy is determined by the interaction between the money supply and money demand.

It is the task of the central bank to use whatever instrument(s) it uses to to ensure that this interaction between money supply and money demand causes the target – for example inflation – to be hit.

Therefore our starting point in GMCM is to assess monetary conditions relative to the given central bank’s target. In the case of the Fed a 2% inflation target.

Said in another way in our composite indicator for monetary conditions a zero “score” indicates that the Fed will hit its 2% inflation target in the medium-term (2-3 years). If the score is above (below) the then it indicates that the central bank will overshoot (undershoot) its inflation target.

Similar we say that monetary policy is too easy (tight) if the composite indicator is above (below) zero.

The composite indicator is a weighted average of four sub-indicators – broad money supply growth (in the case of the US Divisia M4-), nominal demand growth (often nominal GDP, but in the case of the US Private Consumption Expenditure growth), exchange rate developments and finally the key policy rate (the Fed funds target rate in the US).

For all of these sub-indicators we calculate a growth rate or level, which we believe is what we call “policy-consistent” meaning the growth rate of for example broad money supply growth, which is necessary to hit the central bank’s inflation target.

In the case of the US we see that broad money supply growth (here measured as Divisia M4- growth) presently is more or less in line with the policy-consistent growth rate meaning that looking at money supply growth along we should expect the Fed to hit it’s 2% inflation target in the medium-term.

For the money supply we calculate the policy-consistent growth rate based on the Equation of Exchange (in growth rates):

(1) m + v = p + y

Where m is the growth rate of the broad money supply, v is money-velocity growth, p is inflation and y is real GDP growth

We can re-arrange that:

(1)’ m-target = p-target + y* – v*

m-target is our policy-consistent growth rate for broad money growth, p-inflation is the inflation target (in the case of the US 2%), y* is the strutural trend in real GDP growth and v* is the structural trend in money-velocity. We generally use HP-filters to estimate y* and v*.

In the graph broad money supply growth on the US “country page” the dark green line is actually broad money supply growth and the light green line is m-target (the policy-consistent growth of m).

The difference between the two is essentially a measure of the monetary stance. This is the bars in the graph. Taking into account that monetary policy works with “long and variable lags” we take an 3-year weighted moving average of this gap. That is also the input into the composite indicator.

We use the same kind of method for the three other sub-indicators.

In the case of the US we see that money supply growth and nominal demand growth are pretty much in line with the policy-consistent growth rates, while the rate of appreciation of the dollar is (or rather has been) slightly too fast and the interest rate level is slightly too high.

Overall, we see that the composite indicator for the US is quite close to zero, but still below. This indicates that US monetary conditions are what we term “broadly neutral”, but also that inflation risks in the medium-term are twisted slightly to the downside relative to Fed’s 2% inflation target.

We also see this from our inflation forecast graph. The inflation “forecast” is essentially a simulation of the most likely path for inflation given the present monetary stance (not to be confused with Fed’s key policy rate) and the recent trends in inflation.

We see that the forecast is for US inflation to continue to inch up, but it will not quite get to 2%. This is pretty much also what for example TIPS breakeven inflation expectations show.

What does this mean for market pricing?

When assessing the overall monetary stance it is always very important to remember that we have to look at for example interest rates or the exchange rate relative to expectations. Hence, a 25bp interest rate hike today from the Fed in itself is not monetary tightening is it is completely priced in already.

Therefore, if we want to assess future monetary developments in the US we need to look at market pricing.

Overall the markets are presently pricing in somewhere between two and three 25bp hikes from the Fed this year – including the hike expected for today.

The purpose of our framework in Global Monetary Conditions Monitor is not to forecast how many rate hikes the Fed will deliver this year. But it can tell us about the consequences of difference paths for interest rates.

Hence, one can say that since our composite indicator for US monetary conditions indicates that the Fed is likely to slightly undershoot its 2% inflation target then it would be better for the Fed to deliver a little be less in terms of rate hikes than is presently priced by the markets.

This is not a forecast as central banks often do things they shouldn’t – if they didn’t it would be very easy to forecast their actions – but it nonetheless tells us something about the potential risks relative to market pricing if we assume that the Fed at least in he end will end up doing the right thing.

Looking for reviewers

We are looking forward to publishing Global Monetary Conditions Monitor very soon, but we are also still looking for input. So we are looking for “reviewers” of what we call the country pages of the 25 countries covered in GMCM.

So if you are interested in getting a sneak preview on parts of the GMCM in return for comments please let us know. Mail LC@mamoadvisory or We prefer policy makers/central bankers and market participants, but don’t be shy to drop us a mail.




Another look at our Global Monetary Conditions Monitor – the case of Hungary

Yesterday, we wrote a short post on Israeli monetary policy and linked to one page on Israeli monetary conditions to give an example of how the “country pages” in our – Markets & Money Advisory – new monthly flagship publication Global Monetary Conditions Monitor (GMCM) will look like. We expect to publish the first edition in March – coinciding with the launch of our new website.

So what is the GMCM? Overall one can say it is our attempt to create a measure of monetary conditions for investors and policy makers alike so they can track global monetary developments.

It will not be a forecasting publication as such, but obviously investors can use the publication to make informed decisions on investments as there certainly is no doubt that changes in monetary conditions have a significant impact on changes asset prices.

The overall structure in GMCM will be the following.

First of all, the firsts page (5-6 pages) will discuss global monetary developments with a particular focus on what we call the Global Monetary Superpowers – the Federal Reserve, PBoC, ECB, BoJ, BoE and SNB. The discussion will be based both on our new composite indicator of monetary conditions (see more below) in each of the “Superpowers” and on what the financial markets are telling us about monetary conditions and expectations for monetary policy.

This will be followed by a monthly “special topic” (1-2 pages). That could for example be about the relationship between our measure(s) of global monetary conditions and the development in equity prices or commodity prices or we could decide to zoom in on monetary policy developments in a given country that we find of particular interest.

Finally we will “country pages” for each of the 25 countries covered in the publication. The countries are the following:

Czech Republic
Euro zone
New Zealand
South Africa
South Korea
United Kingdom
United States

We expect to expand the number of countries to more than 30 countries in the coming months based on client requests and interests. The main focus is on countries with floating exchange rates with inflation targets or similar nominal targets. If  you are missing a country you are terribly interested in please let us know.

Each country page will consist of six graphs.

The first graph will be a graph for the development in our composite indicator for monetary conditions in that given country. This indicator is calibrated so that a value of zero indicates that the central bank is likely to hit its inflation target in the medium-term (2-3 years).

A score below (above) zero indicates that the central bank will undershoot (overshoot) its inflation target and hence is keeping monetary conditions too tight (easy). Overall, we define monetary conditions to be “broadly neutral” when the indicator is between -0.5 and +0.5.

The second graph will be a graph with an inflation forecast for the given country three years ahead. The inflation forecasts is based on composite indicator for the monetary conditions (assuming no supply side shocks).

In addition to that there will be four graphs on the sub-indicators on which the composite indicator is constructed.

These indicators are the following: Broad money supply growth (typically M2 or M2), nominal demand growth (typically nominal GDP or nominal consumption expenditure), exchange rate developments and finally the key policy interest rates.

For each of these these indicators we calculate a level or a growth rate, which we think would be consistent with the given central bank’s inflation target. Based on this we calculate a gap between the policy-consistent growth rate of for example the money supply and the actual growth rate of the money supply. This gap we use as input into our composite indicator.

The Hungary central bank is on track to (nearly) hit its 3% inflation target

Yesterday we showed an example of how such a country page in the GMCM would look like. Yesterday’s example was Israel because we had a Israeli monetary policy decision yesterday. If you missed it yesterday have a look at the country page for Bank of Israel here.

Today we have another monetary policy decision in Hungary. Therefore we think it is suiting to use Hungary as the next example of a country page.

This is how it looks.


If you want a closer look you can also see it in PDF here.

We are already getting a lot of feedback on the GMCM, but would be very happy to hear what you think so we can incorporate comments and ideas before the launch of the GMCM.

The Global Monetary Conditions Monitor will be priced at EUR 2,000 for a 12-month subscription. Furthermore, discounts can be negotiated for more than one subscription or as part of a general advisory deal.

If you want to hear more about Global Monetary Conditions Monitor please contact us by mail on (Lars Christensen) or (Laurids Rising).

See more on the Global Monetary Conditions Monitor:

M&M Advisory to launch new publication on Global Monetary Conditions

Our Global Monetary Conditions Monitor – what we write about Bank of Israel

Our Global Monetary Conditions Monitor – what we write about Bank of Israel

It is hard to be very critical about the conduct of monetary policy in Israel. I have earlier praised the Bank of Israel (BoI) for essentially being an NGDP targetter and when Stanley Fischer was BoI governor nominal GDP basically was kept on a straight line (see here).

And even though Fischer’s successor Karnit Flug initially back in 2014 kept monetary conditions slightly too tight (see here) it now seems like the BoI under Flug’s leadership is back on track.

At least that is what our – Markets & Money Advisory’s – composite indicator for Israeli monetary conditions is showing.

Introducing Global Monetary Conditions Monitor

The indicator will be part of the first edition of our new flagship publication Global Monetary Conditions Monitor (GMCM), which will be published in March and given the Bank of Israel today (3pm CET) has its monetary policy announce we thought it would be a good idea to share a page from the upcoming GMCM on israel.

You will see the country page on Israeli monetary conditions here.


You can also see the page as a PDF here.

When we put out GMCM there will be 25 such pages on different countries plus of course addition commentary on global monetary matters. A 12 month subscription will be priced at EUR 2,000.

If you are interested in more information on the Global Monetary Conditions Monitor please let us know. Mail to or

Please share!


As expected the BoI kept its key policy rate unchanged at 0.1%.

See more on the Global Monetary Conditions Monitor:

M&M Advisory to launch new publication on Global Monetary Conditions

If anything the Bank of Canada should ease monetary conditions

While the Federal Reserve – rightly or wrongly – has initiated a rate hiking cycle it is not given the the central bank in neighboring Canada should follow suit. In fact, according to our our composited indicator for Canada monetary conditions monetary policy is too tight for the the Bank of Canada to hit its 2% inflation over the medium-term.

The Bank of Canada will announce its rate decision on Wednesday and we should stress that our indicator does not say what the BoC will do, but rather what it ought to do to ensure it will hit its 2% inflation over the medium-term (2-3 years).

Four key monetary indicators

In February we – Markets & Money Advisory – will start to publish our Global Monetary Conditions Indicator covering monetary conditions in around 30 countries around the globe. Canada is one of that those countries.

In the Monitor we will publish a composite indicator for monetary conditions in each of these 30 countries and indicator will be based on four sub-indicators – broad money supply growth (typically M2 or M3), nominal GDP growth, exchange rate developments and the level of the key policy rate.

For these four sub-indicators we define what we call a policy-consistent growth rate, which mean that this would be the needed growth rate of for example M2 or nominal GDP to ensure that a given central bank hits its inflation target over the medium-term given the development in factors outside of the direct control of the central bank – for example money velocity, trend real GDP or foreign price developments.

The composite indicator is then an weighted average of these four sub-indicators and the indicator is calibrated so that a zero score in the indicator indicates that it is likely that inflation will be in line with the inflation target (in the case of Canada 2%) within the next 2-3 years.

Below you see the four sub-indicators for Canadian monetary conditions.





Overall, we see that while broad money supply growth (M3) is broadly in line with the policy-consistent growth path the three other indicators have been on the “tight side” for the past 1-2 years.

At the root of this excessive tightening of monetary conditions likely is the fact that the drop in global oil prices, which started in 2014 caused the Bank of Canada to essentially hit the Zero Lower Bound on interest rates and as the BoC (so far) has refused to implement monetary easy though the use of other instruments – for example intervention in the FX market – monetary conditions have more less “automatically” become too tight since early 2015.

This is very similar to the development in other countries with otherwise successful monetary policy – Norway and Australia – where monetary conditions also have been tightening excessively over the past 1-2 years.

BoC likely to undershoot its inflation target in the medium-term

The graph below shows our composite indicator for Canadian monetary conditions.

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We see that the indicator has been trending downwards since early 2014 – indicating a tightening of monetary conditions and since early 2015 the indicator has been below zero indicating downward risks relative to BoC’s inflation target and recently the indicator has dropped below -0.5.

We overall define the range from -0.5 to +0.5 to be ‘broadly neutral’ monetary conditions. Hence, presently monetary conditions are excessively tight.

Concluding, it might be that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates further in 2017, but the Bank of Canada certainly should not be in a hurry to hike rates given the fact that monetary conditions presently are too tight to ensure that the BoC will hit its inflation target in the medium-term.

In fact, the most important issue for the BoC seems to much more clearly articulate how it plans to conduct monetary policy at the Zero Lower Bound. A possibility would be to use the exchange rate as a intermediate target/instrument to implement an easing of monetary condition at the Zero Lower Bound. See more on this here and here.

However, one thing is what that BoC ought to do another thing is what the BoC will do and we should stress that the purpose of our Global Monetary Conditions Monitor is not to forecast monetary policy action, but rather to evaluate in a consistent and objective way the monetary stance of a given country such as Canada.

Finally, stay tuned for the publication of our Global Monetary Conditions Monitor in February. For inquiries please drop us a mail (LC@mamoadvisory or

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