The path to a monetary policy decision

An independent central bank aiming for a high level of transparency

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An independent central bank aiming for a high level of transparency

Independence, which requires accountability

Published: 7 April 2022

Since 1999, the Riksbank has been governed by an Executive Board consisting of six full-time members, appointed by the General Council of the Riksbank for a period of five or six years. The monetary policy decisions are taken by the Executive Board through majority voting in which the Governor of the Riksbank has the casting vote, but each member has an individual responsibility.[4] In the new Sveriges Riksbank Act, the number of members is changed to 5. This means that all members have the same weight and that the Governor of the Riksbank does not need to use his casting vote. The Riksbank's independent role in relation to the Swedish Parliament makes it particularly important that there is opportunity to evaluate and follow up monetary policy.[5] The Riksbank's strong independence and freedom of action are discussed, for example, in a speech by Skingsley (2021). If the communication of monetary policy is transparent, objective, understandable and up-to-date, it will be easier for economic agents to make good economic decisions and it will also be easier to evaluate monetary policy.[6] See also the Riksbank’s communication policy. The monetary policy decision is normally published the day after the formal decision-making meeting. At the same time, a Monetary Policy Report is published, which summarises the materials on which the decision is based. If necessary, the annexes to the minutes are published, with further details of the measures decided upon.[7] In the case of extraordinary meetings, or per capsulam decisions, it is usually only the appendices to the minutes that are published. When the monetary policy decision is published, a press release is also published which briefly explains and gives the motives for the decision. The press release also includes any reservations from members of the Executive Board and the reasons behind them. The Riksbank holds a press conference, where journalists can ask the Governor questions and during the day there are normally also on-line ‘chats’ where member of the public can ask the Governor questions. Around ten days after a monetary policy meeting, the minutes of the meeting are published, and these show how each board member reasoned when the decision was taken. The minutes clarify whether and in what way the opinions of the members of the Executive Board differ. Once the minutes have been published, members can also publicly express their own views on the decision. This highlights the members' individual responsibility, which also makes it easier to evaluate monetary policy.

Monetary policy is continuously evaluated.[8] The forecasts are evaluated regularly by the Riksbank to see how well they have captured economic developments. The Riksbank's administration as a whole is examined by the Swedish National Audit Office every year, on the basis of the annual report. Every year, the Riksdag Committee on Finance examines and assesses the monetary policy conducted by the Riksbank during the preceding years. Three times a year, the Committee holds open hearings on the monetary policy conducted and in connection with one of these, the Riksbank publishes a special report.[9] See the Riksbank's annual publication Account of Monetary Policy. The Committee on Finance also appoints external evaluators approximately every five years.