The Impact of the National Bank of Romania Monetary Policy on the Balance of Payments

by Radulescu, Magdalena  
Published in Romanian Journal of Economic Forecasting, volume 8 issue 2, 2007.

PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader


The matter of balance adjustment generates many interesting reflections. For a long time, the equilibrium of the balance of payments was the focus of theoretical debates referring to international economy. At the beginning, it was reduced to the equilibrium of the balance of current transactions. However, the focus still remains on bringing the balance to the state of equilibrium, both in the case of current transactions and in the case of non-monetary operations.
The paper presents the main monetary factors that influence the elements of the balance of payments and the direction and path of such influence. Thus, the results can conclude the impact of the NBR monetary policy over the current account and the capital account of the balance of payments.
In the first decade of the transition the monetary policy of the NBR was based especially on some very restrictive monetary tools, such as maintaining for a long time a high discount rate and a high rate of the minimum reserves in lei. Their high level, as compared to that of the other economies in transition, has caused the maintaining of high interest rates in the entire banking system, and this has not stimulated the economy and the domestic investments. Moreover, these high rates have not succeeded in attracting the foreign investments, which have dramatically decreased after the boom occurred at the beginning of the 90s, because of the domestic economic and political conditions.
The conclusion is surprising: the monetary policy of the NBR did not support the efforts for the recovery of the economy. Almost during the entire decade, the monetary policy  was harsh, restrictive, basically oriented towards controlling inflation, thus neglecting the other macroeconomic variables, such as the local savings discouraged by the high inflation and the investments that would have supported the economic growth. This has caused major imbalances at the macroeconomic level, which have reflected at all the levels of economy. Among these imbalances, the most important and the one that lasted the longest period of time was the external one. The re-orientation of the policy of theNBR at the beginning of the new decade was meant to support both the objective of the domestic balance and that of the external balance.

Keywords: monetary policy instruments, inflation rate, exchange rate, monetary base, foreign direct investments, export, income inflows, portfolio investments inputs, foreign debt service.
JEL Classification: E44, E52, E63, F21, F32