4 Min Read
* IMF should consider spillover effects of country policy
By Huw Jones
OXFORD, England, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Turmoil in some emerging markets reflects a failure of advanced and developing economies to learn from the financial crisis and coordinate policies more effectively, a senior Bank of England official said on Tuesday.
Investors have been retreating rapidly from emerging markets as the U.S. Federal Reserve unwinds an economic stimulus policy that had made such high-yielding assets attractive, sending currencies skidding and forcing policymakers to hike interest rates.
Andy Haldane, the BoE's executive director for financial stability, said there was a central role for the International Monetary Fund to raise a flag about the spillover effects from national policies.
"Individual countries act in their own best interests without taking into account the broader best interest of the financial system as a whole," Haldane said, adding the agenda for improving coordination should be as radical as that pursued in financial regulation after the banking crisis.
India's central bank chief has led criticism of the Fed's handling of its policy reversal, saying Americans should be more attuned to the global impact of their policies.
The IMF has also called for vigilance given strains in financial markets.
Advanced economies were blaming emerging markets for being fragile, while emerging markets were telling the advanced economies to take care over monetary policy because of its effects elsewhere, Haldane said in a speech at the University of Oxford's Oxford Martin School.
"What is going on with the head-to-head combat is people pursuing policies of individual countries," Haldane
"What is at stake is the system as a whole," he added.
Advanced and emerging markets were acting with good intentions, he told an audience of students.
The Fed's actions were reshaping emerging markets and emerging market actions reshaping advanced economies and a recognition of that would help start a dialogue, he said.
"This is absolutely two ways... Right now there is denial on both sides," Haldane said.
The IMF largely focuses on individual countries when it assesses their economies, but it can and should take into account the cross-border spillovers of a given national policy despite the sensitivities, he added.
"This problem of capturing spillovers is pretty acute when you are the IMF and the advice you are giving is to a big country rather than to a small country," Haldane said.
"Yes, much more is needed if we are to monitor the system as a system. If the IMF is not doing that who is?" he added.
One example of better coordination would be on capital controls that 40 countries have introduced unilaterally.
"We are not managing these policies as a system. That is one of the many missing links we should forge in the years ahead."
Another solution could be to extend the permanent, bilateral currency swap lines among six leading economies to include emerging market countries, he said.
There were also spillover effects within emerging markets.
China, for example, was part of the recent spillover story with South Africa suffering not just because of Fed tapering but also because of developments in China, he said.