Economy 18-03-2024 14:44 9 Views

Taiwan’s Rate Hold Decision Amid 3.08% Inflation Spike

Taiwan

Taiwan’s Rate Hold Decision Amid 3.08% Inflation Spike

Quick Look

  • Taiwan’s central bank expected to hold the policy interest rate at 1.875%
  • Economists forecast a hold on rate adjustments until Q2 2025
  • Inflation concerns persist amidst rising consumer prices

As the world watches, Taiwan’s central bank stands on the brink of a decisive moment. With the quarterly meeting set for Thursday, a consensus among economists suggests a steady course for the island’s monetary policy. This analysis delves into the anticipated outcomes of the meeting, the reasons behind the central bank’s strategic patience, and the broader economic context shaping these pivotal decisions. At the heart of the central bank’s forthcoming deliberation is the benchmark discount rate, currently held at 1.875%.

Economists have their sights set beyond this week’s meeting. They anticipate the horizon will become clear in the second quarter of 2025. At that time, they expect a cautious reduction of the interest rate to 1.75%. This outlook is based on hints from central bank Governor Yang Chin-Long. He suggested maintaining the current rate until at least June 2024. His comments mentioned the possibility of adjusting inflation forecasts.

Inflation: The Unseen Adversary

February’s consumer price index (CPI) report unveiled a 3.08% increase, marking a 19-month peak largely fueled by Lunar New Year festivities. The spectre of inflation looms large, with expectations of continued pressure from potential hikes in electricity prices come April. Analyst Woods Chen of Yuanta Securities Investment encapsulates the central bank’s predicament: “The central bank considers that inflation is still high, and they are worried about that.”

Since March 2022, the central bank has adjusted rates five times, cumulatively raising them by 75 basis points. This strategy underscores a concerted effort to rein in inflation, a challenge that persists despite these measures.

The Economic Backdrop and Outlook

Amid these monetary policy manoeuvres, Taiwan’s economic landscape offers both caution and optimism. The central bank is also set to revise its growth and inflation forecasts, with a slight uptick in the 2024 GDP growth forecast from 3.08% to 3.12%, buoyed by a rebound in tech demand.

Taiwan, a linchpin in the global semiconductor supply chain, has felt the brunt of softened demand and global inflationary pressures, culminating in a modest 1.31% economic growth in the previous year – the slowest in 14 years. The global economic community awaits the outcomes, understanding that Taiwan’s monetary policy decisions resonate far beyond its shores. This highlights the interconnectedness of global markets and the shared challenges of navigating economic uncertainties.

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