Loud and Clear? Can we hear when the SARB speaks?

22 September 2012
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: E42, E52, E58

Inflation targeting is a forward-looking framework for monetary policy that has brought unprecedented transparency to the process of monetary policy. This paper aims to assess the degree to which the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has, since the introduction of inflation targeting, successfully communicated to the public its policy analysis, and, in particular, the expected future policy changes. This paper follows international literature (Rosa and Verga (2007), Ehrmann and Fratszcher (2005)) in constructing a numerical index that is used to reflect the information content of the SARB’s communications, specifically the monetary policy statements that accompanied each of the MPC meetings since 2000. The information in these reports is translated into a five-point scale that reflects the policy inclination communicated by the MPC. This ranges from a clearly signalled inclination to ease policy at one end of the scale, to a clearly signalled inclination to tighten policy at the other end. Relating this index to subsequent policy decisions reveals the informativeness of the index and, by implication, the informativeness of the underlying monetary policy statements. This method allows us to judge, systematically, the degree to which the MPC has communicated successfully, and the evolution of that success over the past nine years.

Working Paper 155
1 November 2009