Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The asymmetric relationship between oil prices and activity in the EMU: Does the ECB monetary policy play a role?

L'OEILLET, Guillaume and LICHERON, Julien (2010): The asymmetric relationship between oil prices and activity in the EMU: Does the ECB monetary policy play a role?

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Abstract

Monetary policy is usually perceived as an important transmission channel in the negative relationship between oil prices and economic performance. It may also constitute a short-term explanation of the non-linearity in this relationship, since Central Bankers may be more sensitive to the potential inflationary threats entailed by high oil price increases than to small increases or decreases. In this paper, we use an extended Taylor rule to investigate the role of oil prices in the ECB monetary policy strategy. A contemporaneous reaction function is estimated using both a GMM framework and an Ordered Probit model, and several oil indicators are constructed and tested. The main results suggest that oil prices play a key role in the ECB interest-rate setting, since it appears as a relevant indicator of future inflation. However, the ECB seems to react asymmetrically: only oil price increases influence its decision setting, not oil prices decreases. Monetary policy may thus transmit and amplify the asymmetry in the relationship between oil prices and activity in the euro area. Further investigations suggest that a preference for price stability provides an important explanation of this asymmetric behaviour of the ECB.

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