Bank of Canada Should Lower Its Inflation Target: C.D. Howe Institute

TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - The Bank of Canada should  lower  its inflation target as part of a new monetary policy agreement due at the end of 2011, according to a study released today by the C.D. Howe Institute.  In Moving Monetary Policy Forward: Why Small Steps - and a Lower Inflation target - Make Sense for the Bank of Canada, leading economist Angelo Melino explains why the Bank of Canada should keep its current inflation-targeting regime in the new agreement with the Department of Finance, but make several reforms, including a lower inflation target, to achieve some important goals.

Among the steps Dr. Melino recommends for the Bank of Canada:

  • Lower the inflation target: the Bank should move to a target of 1.5 percent over the next renewal period, with the expectation of a further reduction in the target to 1.0 percent at the subsequent renewal;
  • Incorporate past deviations in choosing future inflation targets: the most important payoff to announcing that future inflation targets will reflect past deviations from target is that it could lead to a reduction in medium- and long-horizon inflation uncertainty;
  • Announce that it would switch temporarily to price-level targeting (PLT) - a framework where deviations from the inflation target are eventually corrected - if it ever again hits the Zero Lower Bound  for the policy rate;
  • Consider the credit cycle in choosing the policy rate: regulation should be the first tool to deal with the credit cycle, he advises. But markets evolve quickly, and the Bank might need to stretch its flexibility under either IT or PLT on occasion and use its policy rate to help moderate the credit cycle.

Real-world experience with these measures, says Dr. Melino, will help us decide if we should move the inflation target closer to zero or adopt more features of PLT into our monetary policy framework in the future.

For the study go to: http://www.cdhowe.org/pdf/commentary_319.pdf

SOURCE C.D. Howe Institute

For further information:

Angelo Melino,
Professor, Department of Economics,
University of Toronto;
Philippe Bergevin, Policy Analyst,
C.D. Howe Institute,
416-865-1904; email: cdhowe@cdhowe.org


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