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Mr. Romain A Duval, Davide Furceri, Raphael Lee, and Marina M. Tavares
We show that firms’ market power dampens the response of their output to monetary policy shocks, using firm-level data for the United States and a large cross-country firm-level dataset for 14 advanced economies. The estimated impact of a firm’s markup on its response to a monetary policy shock is large enough to materially affect monetary policy transmission. We also find some evidence that the role of markup in monetary policy transmission, while independent from other channels, is greater for firms whose characteristics — notably size and age — are likely to be associated with greater financial constraints. We rationalize these findings through a simple partial equilibrium model in which borrowing constraints amplify disproportionately low-markup firms’ responses to changes in interest rates.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Global growth for 2018–19 is projected to remain steady at its 2017 level, but its pace is less vigorous than projected in April and it has become less balanced. Downside risks to global growth have risen in the past six months and the potential for upside surprises has receded. Global growth is projected at 3.7 percent for 2018–19—0.2 percentage point lower for both years than forecast in April. The downward revision reflects surprises that suppressed activity in early 2018 in some major advanced economies, the negative effects of the trade measures implemented or approved between April and mid-September, as well as a weaker outlook for some key emerging market and developing economies arising from country-specific factors, tighter financial conditions, geopolitical tensions, and higher oil import bills. The balance of risks to the global growth forecast has shifted to the downside in a context of elevated policy uncertainty. Several of the downside risks highlighted in the April 2018 World Economic Outlook (WEO)—such as rising trade barriers and a reversal of capital flows to emerging market economies with weaker fundamentals and higher political risk—have become more pronounced or have partially materialized. Meanwhile, the potential for upside surprises has receded, given the tightening of financial conditions in some parts of the world, higher trade costs, slow implementation of reforms recommended in the past, and waning growth momentum.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The April 2018 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) finds that short-term risks to financial stability have increased somewhat since the previous GFSR. Medium-term risks are still elevated as financial vulnerabilities, which have built up during the years of accommodative policies, could mean a bumpy road ahead and put growth at risk. This GFSR also examines the short- and medium-term implications for downside risks to growth and financial stability of the riskiness of corporate credit allocation. It documents the cyclical nature of the riskiness of corporate credit allocation at the global and country levels and its sensitivity to financial conditions, lending standards, and policy and institutional settings. Another chapter analyzes whether and how house prices move in tandem across countries and major cities around the world—that is, global house price synchronicity.

Jihad Dagher
Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This issue of Finance & Development focuses on how technology is driving growth. The issue looks at “transmission channels.” As with drive-through tellers, ever-more-powerful technology allows us to streamline, replacing less efficient practices (the drive-through teller) with more efficient ones (smartphone deposits). Other articles in this issue cover package chronicle technology’s power to transform: Sanjiv Ranjan Das examines big data’s influence on economics and finance; Aditya Narain documents the rise of a new breed of hybrid financial technology—fintech—firms; and Sharmini Coorey touts distance learning for better policymaking. The issue also examines the impact of remittances on monetary policy, de-dollarization in Peru, and the efficacy of public-private partnerships, among other topics. It also presents profile of Nancy Birdsall, the former head of the Center for Global Development, who has dedicated her career to fighting poverty and inequality through compelling research.
Dyna Heng, Anna Ivanova, Rodrigo Mariscal, Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan, and Joyce Wong
This paper examines the state of financial development in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region as well as potential growth and stability implications from further development. The analysis suggests that access to financial institutions has expanded notably in the past decade, and the region compares favorably with other emerging market regions on this dimension. The region, however, continues to lag behind peers on broader financial development, especially with respect to markets, though there is substantial heterogeneity across countries. Financial systems in many LAC countries are also underdeveloped relative to their macroeconomic fundamentals. Further financial development could convey net benefits to the region, provided there is adequate regulatory oversight to prevent excesses.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper elaborates findings and discussions of 2013 Cluster Consultation Nordic Regional report. The countries have close economic and financial ties and face some common challenges and shared risks, such as large banking sectors and high household debt. The economic performance of the four continental Nordic economies (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden—Nordic-4) ranks among the advanced economic development circle. It is analyzed that the large Nordic banking systems support relatively high levels of private sector debt. House price developments in the Nordic-4 pose a risk to broader macroeconomic stability in the context of strained household balance sheets.