During the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, emerging market economies (EMEs) loosened monetary policy considerably to cushion the shock. In previous crises episodes, by contrast, EMEs generally had to tighten monetary policy to defend the value of their currencies, to contain capital flight, and to bolster policy credibility. Our study aims to understand the factors that enabled this remarkable shift in monetary policy, and also to assess whether this marks a new era in which EMEs can now conduct countercyclical policy, more in line with advanced economies. The results indicate statistically significant linkages between some characteristics of the economies and their ability to conduct countercyclical monetary policy. We find that macroeconomic fundamentals and lower vulnerabilities, openness to trade, and international capital flows, financial reforms, and the adoption of inflation targeting all facilitated the conduct of countercyclical policy. Of these factors, the most important have been the financial reforms achieved over the past decades and the adoption of inflation targeting. As long as EMEs maintain these strong economic fundamentals, continue to reform their financial sector, and adopt credible and transparent monetary policy frameworks such as inflation targeting, the conduct of countercyclical monetary policy will likely be sustainable.
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Last update: February 28, 2012