Tag Archives: Zambia

Can Africa win Trump over?

By Rafiq Raji, PhD

In mid-May, at the Africa Finance Corporation’s 10th year anniversary infrastructure summit (“AFC Live 2017”) held in Abuja, I asked Jay Ireland, the president and chief executive of GE Africa – the subsidiary of the American industrial giant on the continent – about his thoughts on whether Donald Trump, the American president, would be good or bad for Africa. Specifically, I wanted to know if President Trump would be worth the trouble of winning over. As Mr Trump does not know much about Africa, if the little mention the continent got during his election campaign is anything to go by, engaging with him early on might spring pleasant surprises, some pundits argue. Despite such assurances, I remained a little sceptical. So the opportunity to ask Mr Ireland, who incidentally is also the chair of former President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and co-chair of the US Africa Business Centre, which leads the American business community’s engagement activities on the continent, was huge. In a sign of the times and the peculiar style of the current American president, Mr Ireland demurred, humorously wondering if his answer might not become the “subject of a tweet.” More importantly, he said a strong case was being made to the Trump administration to continue ongoing initiatives. I was particulary interested in the “Power Africa” programme initiated during the Obama administration; especially since even during Mr Obama’s tenure, it was floundering, talk less that of Mr Trump. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), is not as vulnerable to a Trump rethink, albeit the administration could still exercise certain prerogatives over the choice of beneficiary countries and so on. My interpretation of Mr Ireland’s comments are as follows: Should Africa indeed not be a priority for Mr Trump, ongoing African initiatives may simply continue under the aegis of able and experienced technocrats at the American State department. And in the event Mr Trump suddenly develops a keen interest on African issues, proactive engagement with the administration like his and the business people he represents may be hugely differential. It has also been argued that African heads of state should do likewise.

Focus on first-order issues
In light of the recent exit from the Paris climate accord by Mr Trump, however, some are now beginning to think whether there is a need to even try. I would not be too quick to give up. True, with African countries already beginning to see the negative effects of climate change via droughts and so on, the recent American action is a setback. And of course, African countries initially had their own reservations about the accord. Not a few wondered why they should have to be environment-friendly at the expense of their development; especially as currently developed countries were not similarly cautious. But with research showing a nexus between climate change and increasing incidents of conflict in a number of African countries, there is a growing consensus about the need to be more caring of the Earth we live in. Still, to do this, African countries would require financial and technological support. To this end, the Paris agreement makes substantial provisions. With the American exit, however, also goes its financial commitments. It is also evidence that a Trump presidency would (at least for now) have second-order negative effects for Africa when the issues relate to broader international and multilateral arrangements that Mr Trump is averse to. So it is on the more specific African initiatives that African leaders should hope to influence him on.

Show respect
At the recent G7 summit in Italy, it was all too clear Mr Trump was not enjoying himself. He was particularly irritated by Emmanuel Macron’s (the French president) “macho-diplomacy”: Mr Macron’s overly firm and lingering handshake with Mr Trump at their very first meeting since the former’s inauguration was well-reported. As if determined to rattle the American president or put him to size, Mr Macron also made sure to refer to the incident afterwards as deliberate. That and another, where Mr Macron seem to be moving towards Mr Trump to shake hands, as the G7 leaders and invited guests did their traditional group-walk in front of the press, but at almost the last minute swerved to shake that of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, must have been a little unnerving for a man known for his fragile ego. Thus, it is very likely that unpleasant experience was at least a secondary motivation for his action on the Paris accord. In his speech announcing the decision, Mr Trump was almost certainly taking aim at Mr Macron when he said: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” (The Washington Post did a very insightful article on the dynamics leading to Mr Trump’s decision.) At the G7 summit it turns out, one of few instances where Mr Trump seemed to be enjoying himself was when he ran into some of the African delegates: Yemi Osinbajo (Nigeria), Alpha Conde (Guinea), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia) and Akinwumi Adesina (African Development Bank). With deft handling, Mr Trump could become an ally.

Also published in my BusinessDay Nigeria newspaper column (Tuesdays). See link viz. http://www.businessdayonline.com/can-africa-win-trump/

Africans can judge themselves

By Rafiq Raji, PhD 

Unfair system makes easy prey of Africans
At least three African countries have announced plans to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). South Africa and Burundi would almost certainly be out by October next year. Many are likely to follow. Their reason? The ICC unfairly targets Africans. Established in 2002 to prosecute genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, the ICC could as well relocate to Africa instead of its current wintry abode in the Netherlands. All but one – relates to allegations of war crimes in the 2008 Georgian armed conflict – of the ten cases currently being investigated by the ICC are related to African states. For a United Nations (UN) body, it is almost ludicrous that two permanent members of the UN Security Council do not subscribe to the court. China never ratified the Rome Statute, the treaty which established the ICC. The United States decided not to ratify the treaty in 2002, after having signed it two years earlier. The case of America, that supposed bastion of democracy and justice, is particularly shameful. Even as it has not subjected itself to the jurisdiction of the court, America, or any of the other three members of the Security Council, can block any case from being referred to the ICC. The United States would almost certainly stop any attempt to prosecute Israeli officials for alleged war crimes in Palestine. And under the current geopolitical order, it is very unlikely that Russia would allow the prosecution of the Syrian Assad regime, under whose watch that country has been virtually decimated. Not that that couldn’t change if the Russian regime suddenly rearranged its priorities, like its ever-scheming leader, Vladimir Putin, is wont to do.

Justice for all
If the ICC is to become legitimate, all members of the UN must be subject to its jurisdiction. Else, no African country has any business being a party to it. The ICC’s African tilt thus far certainly feeds the derogatory notion that Africans could not be trusted to dispense justice for themselves. Worse still, western exceptionalists are able to point to Africans’ longstanding mistrust of their ‘big men.’ And there might be some merit to that supposition, when you look at how justice is perpetually subverted in a lot of African countries. Ironically, the judiciary is probably the most credible institution left standing in most of them. Relatively, that is. For even as it was well known that judicial officers were similarly engaged in a myriad of corrupt activities, they at least went about their indiscretions with some sense of shame. And most of the corrupt ones tried to avoid ostentation. Not all of them it turns out. Considering how they had been largely left alone, the seeming impunity made some of them careless: Nigerian judges currently have a credibility problem, after raids on the homes of some very senior ones amongst them revealed they may have been living above their means. About a year ago, Ghanaian judges were actually caught on video by an investigative journalist demanding for bribe and sex, leading to the dismissal of at least twenty judges and magistrates. Still, judicial corruption is not peculiar to African countries, albeit it is more rampant. The South African system is probably as robust as it can get though. Regardless, Africans have demonstrated they can rise up to the cause of justice when needed: in May 2016, with support from the African Union, former Chadian dictator, Hissene Habre, was successfully prosecuted in Senegal for crimes ranging from torture to slavery during his almost a decade rule.

Empower the African court
At the core of the flawed state of the ICC is equity and equality. Is it a coincidence that most cases at the ICC are on African countries? Surely it is not the only continent where such atrocities have been committed. I am still personally distraught watching how Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, a sitting African head of state, was made to go through the indignity of a trial on live international television. If that is not reminiscent of colonialism, I don’t know what is. Although the charges against him were eventually dropped, Mr Kenyatta has the unenviable record of being the first head of state to be so tried. I agree that victims of the violence during the elections that heralded his emergence deserve justice. But still, heads of states are treated with respect not because of who they are but because they embody the sovereignty of a people. Yes, most leave much to be desired. Even so, some pretensions matter: everyone deserves a certain level of dignity. I have heard arguments about the motive of the Zuma-led South African government in seeking to exit the ICC at this time. Critics of the South African move have suggested that given the country’s stature, it may have unwittingly provided cover for some not so well-regarded African leaders – ‘elected dictators’ – to now make similar moves. The Gambia proved the point all too quickly, announcing its withdrawal shortly after. No matter. There is an opportunity in the growing anti-ICC sentiment: the mandate of the AU’s African Court of Justice and Human Rights should be expanded.

Also published in my BusinessDay Nigeria newspaper back-page column (Tuesdays).

African central banks decide on rates

By Rafiq Raji, PhD

This week, the US Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan (BoJ) meet to decide interest rates. Both would be announcing their decisions on 21 September. I don’t expect any surprises from the former. In fact, I would be hugely surprised if the Fed does anything this year. Market participants are a little anxious about the BoJ though, as it tests the limits of negative interest rates and could increase the pace of its stimulus programme. African central banks, in Ghana (19 September), Nigeria (20 September), Kenya (20 September) and South Africa (22 September), would also be announcing their decisions during the week. Between them, their economies represent about 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa GDP. The Bank of Zambia could also announce its long-awaited decision this week – see earlier 9 August 2016 column (“Zambians and their central bank decide“) for my views. Understandably, they are mostly in hold mode. Not Kenya though. If the east African country’s central bank desires to cut rates, it has room to do so now. Kenyan growth should be almost 6 percent this year. And its inflation outlook is quite encouraging. The others, not so much. Nigeria is in recession – and growth would probably contract for the year, amid high and rising inflation. Ghana is still trying to curb longrunning double-digits inflation, albeit growth is a little decent; about 4 percent this year is my reckoning. For South Africa, currently in a tightening cycle as the inflation outlook remains relatively bleak, growth remains sobering; probably zero percent this year, albeit authorities plan to revise their forecasts upward. The South African Reserve Bank may not find it apropos to raise rates at this meeting. But the outlook suggests it may need to before year-end. At least, that is my thinking at the moment. Ahead of the monetary policy decisions, my firm, Macroafricaintel, published its Q4-2016 outlook reports. Below are some of the thoughts.

Kenya – Room for another rate cut
After having to pause policy easing hitherto on resurgent but likely temporary upward inflationary risks, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) could, if it wanted to, cut rates by 100 basis points to 9.5 percent, as early as its monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting this week – last time was in May, when the CBK cut rates by 100 basis points to 10.5 percent. I actually think it could ease policy further by another 100 basis points to 8.5 percent before year-end, when inflation could have eased to about 5 percent. Concerns about fuel price increases, which rose in mid-July amid resurgent insecurity, have since subsided or diminished. There is risk however of potential electricity tariff hikes, as geothermal power plants shut down for maintenance have created a supply gap of about 200MW and imports – that from Uganda (more than 90 percent of imports) up 32 percent in the year to July for instance – of diesel-fired and hydro-powered alternatives to fill it are relatively expensive. Chances are the electricity sector regulator would not entertain any new price hike requests this year; especially since the disruptions are not likely to be secular. Never mind that electioneering is already in high gear. Otherwise, the inflation outlook looks good. The Shilling has been relatively stable and should remain so. My view discountenances the downgrade of the currency by Fitch Ratings in mid-July. Why? The US$1.5 billion IMF precautionary facilities have proved quite effective buffers thus far. No reason why they shouldn’t continue to be.

South Africa – 25bps rate hike likely in November, continued pause in September
After barely coming within range in July at 6 percent, inflation would likely accelerate enough to breach the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) 6 percent upper bound target from August to March 2017. I anticipate a justifiable 25 basis point tightening to 7.25 percent at the November MPC meeting, the likely peak of the cycle. Thereafter, it is probable the SARB may see room to start easing rates from Q2 2017. My revised inflation forecasts see the headline averaging above 7 percent for the five months to year-end, from 6.8 percent in August to about 8 percent in December. Drought-induced food price increases are expected to continue, as the prospects for improved rains have diminished significantly. Some rand volatility is also expected towards year-end as expectations gyrate over a potential ratings downgrade to junk status by at least one of the global rating agencies, SPGlobalRatings especially. Political uncertainty would perhaps continue to hover over all considerations in any case. Above-inflation wage deals also weigh on the outlook. In September, auto workers agreed an 8-10 percent wage increase over 3 years with employers. Other labour unions are expected to take a cue from this. In the past, the SARB expressed significant worries about how these wage deals could be differential to its rate-setting decisions.

Ghana – Policy easing probably next year
My inflation forecasts suggest the headline may be about 14.1 percent by December, the 2016 trough of a downward trend since June – level then was 18.4 percent – albeit there is likely a slight pick-up in September, to 17.6 percent in my view. The most recent inflation data showed a slight year-on-year acceleration to 16.9 percent in August from 16.7 percent a month earlier. But the monthly pace was negative, -0.6 percent, after an almost 2 percent average run in the year to July. Ordinarily, this would motivate some serious consideration of a potential easing of policy. Bank of Ghana (BoG) governor, Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku, who in my view is decidedly dovish, would jump at the slightest opportunity in any case. Elections in December, a few months away, requires that the BoG exercise the utmost prudence, however. Thus, I think keeping rates as they are for the remainder of the year would be most appropriate. As I see the inflation rate in the high single digits in Q1 2017 and lower for the remainder of that year, averaging at about 7 percent in 2017 from about 17 percent in 2016, an aggressive easing of policy then might be justfied. My current view is that the policy rate (26 percent going into this week’s meeting) could be cut by 300 basis points in each quarter next year, with the end-2017 level still significantly positive in real terms against my inflation forecast of about 6 percent for December 2017.

Nigeria – CBN tightening pause likely for remainder of the year
Inflation has accelerated since the last monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The annual headline rose to 17.6 percent in August. My forecasts put it higher in coming months, probably ending the year at 18 percent. A weaker naira, food price increases, higher fuel prices, intermittent power shortages are just a few of the factors that I expect would buoy prices up. Manufacturers have already indicated more of their inputs’ continued price increases would now be passed on to consumers more quickly. Foreign-sourced inputs continue to be expensive because foreign exchange remains relatively scarce and dearer. Supply of local alternatives have not kept pace with increased demand. The prices for staples have also gone up, bread for instance, hiked by 20 percent in mid-August. After raising the monetary policy rate (MPR) by 200 basis points to 14 percent in May (after a 100 basis points spike to 12 percent in March), amid backlash from influential members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, there are strong signs the CBN would be reluctant to raise rates further. There have even been threats of cutting interest rates via legislation. A likely economic emergency stabilization bill to be tabled before the legislature this month, I fear, may be used to do just that. The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, probably had this at the back of his mind, when he recently signalled all tools within the reach of the CBN, would be used to stimulate the economy. I interpret this to mean the apex bank would resort to more unconventional monetary easing. For instance, plans are afoot to boost the capital base of the government-supported Bank of Agriculture. The Bank of Industry could also get a boost – I suggest this in any case. The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) is another government-backed institution that could use some help. My view remains unchanged: the CBN should focus on its primary mandate of price stability. And it should tighten policy as necessary. But then there is now a need for it to balance that mandate with needed political pragmatism. The CBN needs to be able to set interest rates in the first place. That type of pragmatism, it must also extend to not making the mistake of overstretching itself: the CBN’s capacity to stimulate the economy is overrated. And it should not be easily forgotten that it tried to do just that without much success in the recent past. Banks, the health of which remains concerning (about 15 percent or more of total loans outstanding is either bad or non-performing), are currently undergoing a thorough examination by the CBN. Little things like these – tweaking regulations to ease flows, directing capital to neglected sectors, providing incentives to manufacturers, cleaning up banks and so on – could be more far-reaching and effective than undermining whatever monetary policy credibility it currently has.

Also published in my BusinessDay Nigeria newspaper back-page column (Tuesdays). See link viz. http://www.businessdayonline.com/en/african-central-banks-decide-on-rates/

Zambians and their central bank decide

By Rafiq Raji, PhD

Zambians go to the polls this week (11 August). They would also be asked to endorse a constitutional amendment in tandem. Holding the referendum together with the elections has been criticized: the amendment enjoys wide support, potentially tilting the electoral vote towards the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party. Quite naturally, heightened tensions ahead of the vote have spurred fears of potential violence in the aftermath of what are likely to be disputed results. Just before then (8-9 August), Zambia’s central bank, Bank of Zambia (BoZ), decides on its benchmark interest rate, which I reckon would remain unchanged at 15.5 percent.

Polls may be violent, but not all too much
Zambia’s president, Edgar Lungu, faces a tough challenge in polls this week from the leading opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) candidate, Hakainde Hichilema – two elections in a row now – who he barely beat (and under controversial circumstances) in the 2015 by-election, following the death of erstwhile leader, Michael Sata. If social media following were a valid benchmark, Mr Hichilema would win by a wide margin. In any case, dissatisfaction and economic woes since Mr Lungu’s ascension to the presidency may have strengthened Mr Hichilema’s following. There are pointers: Mr Sata’s former deputy, Guy Scott, who was also briefly president, has endorsed the leading opposition candidate – evidence of divisions within the ruling party. There have also been incidents of violence, mostly against opposition supporters. A popular independent newspaper critical of the Lungu administration has also had to endure the weight of officialdom, with tax authorities accusing it of evasion. Mr Lungu has also not been shy to use threatening language: it is widely reported that he has tremendous admiration for Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, known for his ruthless strangulation of opposition elements in his country; leading many to believe Mr Lungu could deploy similar tactics against opponents in the aftermath of elections that he could lose. True, the opposition could potentially lead the vote or the two leading candidates’ tallies may be so close, like the last time, as to be within the margin of error; and hence instigate potentially violent protests. However, authorities’ heavy-handedness ahead of the elections fan these fears some more. Mr Hichilema has expressed concerns: he does not believe the elections would be free and fair, citing recent cancellations of two rallies by authorities. Even so, I am not convinced that any potential violence would be so significant or widespread as to put the economy in jeopardy. Former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, who is leading the African Union observer mission, believes the elections would be ‘satisfactory.’ Naturally a pacifist, Mr Jonathan tends to take a positive view, especially of constituted authority. Regardless, both sides need a peaceful country to retain their support base, currently frustrated in light of still ongoing economic headwinds – drought, power shortages, high food prices, and expensive electricity. And even if Mr Hichilema feels cheated in the event that he is declared to have lost, his vast local business interests should be good enough reason for him to adopt a peaceful approach. All that may be needless: Mr Lungu may yet prove to be a statesman.

BoZ would likely hold rates
Expectedly, Zambian consumer inflation has started trending downwards: the annual headline slowed to 20.2 percent in July from 21.8 percent at the beginning of the year. The monthly inflation pace is more instructive: it slowed to a paltry 0.1 percent in July from 1.3 percent in January; surprisingly little affected by the election cycle. Current measures have been adequate in fending off price pressures, which typically intensify ahead of elections. After the polls, fears about potential violence might cause an initial artificial scarcity: affecting food and transportation prices. And electricity tariffs remain high: even when the poor are spared the expense, continued power shortages mean second-round effects transmit to prices of goods and services that depend on electricity in one form or another. Regardless, my forecasts have not changed much since my last column on Zambia (10 May 2016): I still see annual consumer inflation slowing to single-digit levels before year-end. Thus, the BoZ may see the wisdom in cutting rates at its monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting in November, by 350 basis points to 12 percent, say. But at the meeting this week, the committee would likely keep the benchmark rate unchanged at 15.5 percent.

Also published in my Business Day Nigeria newspaper back-page column on 9 Aug 2016 (Tuesdays). See link viz. http://businessdayonline.com/zambians-and-their-central-bank-decide/

Zambia to maintain tight monetary policy

By Rafiq Raji, PhD

The monetary policy committee of the Bank of Zambia meets on 12-13 May 2016. I think the committee would keep the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 15.5 percent; raised to this level by 300 basis points in November 2015. Although headline inflation remains in the double-digits – and would probably remain so for most of the year (except probably in December), the monthly pace has slowed; 0.3 percent month-on-month in April from a monthly pace of above 1.0 percent at the beginning of the year. Headline inflation was 21.8 percent year-on-year in April from 22.2 percent in the prior month. Food supply is expected to ease and the kwacha has been recently stable. There is worry that upcoming elections in August and drought effects could accelerate prices. Additionally, power shortages remain. Zambia continues to import the supply shortfall – at least 300 mega watts (MW) – from South Africa and Mozambique. It is also feared that power tariff hikes reversed by President Edgar Lungu earlier in the year – clearly motivated by a desire to win the support of the electorate ahead of the August 2016 polls – may be reinstated after the elections. To ensure Zambia returns to a fiscally sustainable path, this is likely one of the measures to be insisted upon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) when authorities start a programme with the Fund in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Last week, Zambian authorities also announced downward revisions to its growth forecasts. Authorities now see about 3.0 percent growth in 2016 – little different from the 2015 headline of 3.2 percent announced on 5 May 2016 – with the fiscal deficit for the year likely coming out just a little below the 2015 level of about 8 percent. In February, authorities had expected 3.7 percent growth in 2016 and above 4 percent for subsequent years. My 2016 growth forecast is 3.1 percent. Zambian authorities see economic challenges that emerged since 2015 enduring for the remainder of 2016, even as they work towards surmounting them. These challenges include a continued power shortage and likely lower for longer copper prices. In early May, ongoing load-shedding – 8 hours of power per day – worsened as a power connector in neighbouring Zimbabwe through which Zambia imports power from South Africa and Mozambique had technical faults. The power supply problems come as two major hydroelectric power stations are running below capacity. The Kafue Gorge power station with an installed capacity of 990MW is currently producing 600MW. The Kariba dam station with an installed capacity of 1,080MW is currently producing below 300MW, as water levels remain low. So the 300MW authorities import – that is even when there are no power connector problems – is inadequate. Authorities are building new power stations. They are due for completion years out, however. So growth would probably continue to come out below potential in 2016-17. Thus, I am a little skeptical about the authorities’ expectation of about 6 percent growth in 2017, when they believe improved power supply and cost-reduction measures by mining companies should begin to take effect. I agree that some improvements would be recorded. But a double acceleration in growth in just a year? That seems a little bit optimistic. Additionally, there is likely limited price pressure from the kwacha (relative to the currency’s volatile trend hitherto), which has been stable of late. In March, the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a US$125 million loan for Zambia – I wonder about this though, considering elections are just months away. The August elections were a major reason why the IMF programme was proposed for the fourth quarter of 2016, after the elections. It would be somewhat curious if the AfDB chooses to disburse its loan before then. Incidentally, investor confidence has recovered somewhat. In March, Glencore – a global mining giant – announced a US$1.1 billion investment in new copper mines. The vote of confidence comes as authorities revised their royalty tax system to a price-based one, welcome relief for mining investors who hitherto had to contend with frequent and abrupt changes to the royalty tax regime by authorities. With copper output for 2016 put at 700 thousand tonnes in 2016 and 2017, a significant recovery in economic output is likely only evident in 2018 when copper production of 1 million tonnes is expected.

Fears about food shortages may be misplaced, in 2016 at least – albeit the risk of a prolonged drought remains. In early May, President Lungu announced a bumper maize harvest – 2.7 million tonnes – for the 2015/16 farming season. As the monthly maize consumption is put at 100 thousand metric tonnes, the harvest is more than sufficient to cater for the local population for the remainder of 2016. Authorities point to dubious millers for the artificial price increases for mealie meals – the local maize-produced staple food. In April, it announced that the Food Reserve Agency had since November 2015 distributed about 700 thousand metric tonnes of maize from the country’s grain reserves to millers at subsidized prices. It alleges that some millers instead chose to export the subsidized supplies, causing an artificial shortage and price hikes. This motivated an earlier maize export ban, which was lifted in April. These considerations suggest to me inflation may not likely accelerate as much as authorities expect – about 15 percent by year-end. Even as my model allows for some acceleration in the months around the elections – that is, July, August, and September – it doesn’t come out with that significant a number. My end-2016 inflation forecast is actually about 9-10 percent year-on-year. This underpins my view that the Bank of Zambia may find it suitable to ease interest rates at its monetary policy committee meeting in November, by 350 basis points to 12 percent say. For this meeting in May, I think holding rates would be more appropriate: hiking rates further even as real interest rates are negative may not be of much use. Thus, the Bank of Zambia may choose to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 15.5 percent when it announces its decision on 13 May.

Also published in my BusinessDay Nigeria newspaper back-page column. See link viz. http://businessdayonline.com/2016/05/zambia-to-maintain-tight-monetary-policy/