Taiwan: Central Bank keeps rates unchanged in September
At its monetary policy meeting on 21 September, the Board of Directors of Taiwan’s Central Bank (CBC) left the policy rate at 1.875%. The CBC hiked interest rates 75 basis points from early 2022 to early 2023, a much milder tightening cycle than that of most other countries.
Mild price pressures supported the Bank’s decision to stay put: Both headline and core inflation have averaged at 2–3% so far this year, less than half the rate in other advanced economies. Moreover, the CBC judged that inflation would trend slightly lower in the second half of the year than in the first. In addition, economic activity is moderate, with a negative output gap expected this year and next.
The Bank gave no explicit forward guidance. Our panelists see interest rates unchanged at the CBC’s final meeting of the year on 14 December. Next year, some panelists see rates unchanged while others see the Central Bank cutting rates.
Giving their take on the outlook, United Overseas Bank’s Ho Woei Chen said: “We reiterate our call for an extended rate pause in Taiwan. Our forecast for the discount rate remains at 1.875% through to end-2024, considering the level of inflation rate and a higher for longer interest rate environment globally.” In contrast, Goldman Sachs’ analysts are slightly more dovish: “While we maintain our view that the CBC is done with policy rate hikes, we are pushing back the timing of the first rate cut to Q4 2024 (from Q2 2024 previously).”