July 12, 2019 / 8:59 AM / 11 days ago

Swedish central bank keeps wary eye on global economy, ECB, Fed

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Members of the Swedish central bank’s rate-setting board said growing uncertainty about the global economy and potential monetary policy shifts abroad could influence future Riksbank moves, minutes of its latest meeting showed on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Sweden's Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves speaks during a news conference presenting decisions on the repo rate and monetary policy, at the Riksbank headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden July 3, 2019. TT News Agency/Magnus Andersson via REUTERS

The six-member board was unanimous its decision to hold rates at -0.25% this month, but the minutes showed them voicing caution about the effect of any loosening of monetary policy in the far larger U.S. and eurozone economies.

“If the markets are right, the major central banks may turn their monetary policy around, into a more expansionary direction,” Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves said in the meeting minutes.

“If this is the case, we will need to take a stance at our future monetary policy meetings on what it means for monetary policy in Sweden.”

The Riksbank on July 2 stuck by a forecast to tighten policy by early 2020 even as it highlighted risks posed by the global economic outlook. [nL8N2441D7]

Yet many economists believe it may have missed its window to embark on any significant near-term tightening with a Sino-American trade war denting global economic prospects and heavy hitters such as the U.S. Federal Reserve moving to ease policy.

“On the margin (the Riksbank minutes were) slightly on the dovish side where all board members highlight increasing risks and that policy can be reassessed if the outlook continues to weaken,” Swedish bank SEB said in a research note.

“The minutes do not change our view that the Riksbank will not hike rates this year.”

With Swedish inflation set to dip in coming months because of falling energy prices, several board members noted that were this to “significantly dampen” inflation expectations, the bank’s ability to keep prices near its 2% target would worsen, the Riksbank said.

“Several board members also pointed to the importance of underlying inflation continuing to rise,” the central bank said in a summary of several board members comments.

Reporting by Niklas Pollard and Helena Soderpalm; additional reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo and Esha Vaish in Stockholm; editing by Larry King

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