By Greg Robb
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday said that central banks must continue the task of fighting inflation but have to recognize that their tightening efforts can ripple through the global economy.
“For major economies facing high inflation, the immediate task is to return to an environment of stable prices. But it is important to recognize that macroeconomic tightening in advanced countries can have international spillovers,” Yellen said, in remarks to the Center for Global Development.
“Policymakers in the major economies must continue implementing policies to rein in high inflation while remaining attentive to global repercussions,” Yellen said.
“Clear and open communications, coupled with cooperation among the major economies to address spillovers, remain essential,” she added.
In part because of aggressive Federal Reserve action, the U.S. dollar /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.02% has experienced its biggest four month gain since November 2008, the latest chapter in what has been a historic year for the greenback.
And late last month, Japan’s central bank intervened in the foreign exchange market to prop up the yen for the first time since 1998.
In her remarks, Yellen said currency realignments seen this year were a reflection of the different economic pressures on the world’s largest economies.
“The last year has seen divergent economic pressures” as not all large economies are facing high inflation, Yellen said, in a speech ahead of the International Monetary Fund’s annual meetings next week.
In addition, some large economies face more acute stress due to uncertain energy supplies than others, Yellen noted.
These different challenges require different policy approaches, she noted.
“Differences in countries’ circumstances and in their respective policies are bound to result in come currency realignments,” Yellen said.
“The G-7 has committed to market-determined exchange rates. But we are attentive to the potential consequences of exchange rate movements,” Yellen said.
The Treasury Secretary said she would work with other countries on a response to the global challenges.
Some countries will need considerable debt relief, Yellen said.
“It will be crucial for all the world’s major bilateral creditors to meaningfully participate in debt relief so that lower-and middle-income countries can regain their footing after these years of extreme stress,” Yellen said.
The Treasury Secretary called out China for not helping poor countries enough.
“To date, China has delayed providing debt treatments to borrowers in debt distress or has provided treatments that fall short of restoring the borrower’s debt sustainability,” Yellen said.