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Mr. Marco Arena, Gabriel Di Bella, Mr. Alfredo Cuevas, Mr. Borja Gracia, Vina Nguyen, and Alex Pienkowski
Estimates of the natural interest rate are often useful in the analysis of monetary and other macroeconomic policies. The topic gathered much attention following the great financial crisis and the Euro Area debt crisis due to the uncertainty regarding the timing of monetary policy normalization and the future path of interest rates. Using a sample of European countries (including several members of the Euro Area), this paper provides estimates of country-specific natural interest rates and some of their drivers between 2000 and 2019. In line with the literature, our findings suggest that natural interest rates declined during this period, and despite a rebound in the last few years of it, they have not recovered to their pre-crisis levels. The paper also discusses the implications of the decline in natural interest rates for monetary conditions and debt sustainability.
IMF Research Perspective (formerly published as IMF Research Bulletin) is a new, redesigned online newsletter covering updates on IMF research. In the inaugural issue of the newsletter, Hites Ahir interviews Valeria Cerra; and they discuss the economic environment 10 years after the global financial crisis. Research Summaries cover the rise of populism; economic reform; labor and technology; big data; and the relationship between happiness and productivity. Sweta C. Saxena was the guest editor for this inaugural issue.
Ms. Ghada Fayad and Mr. Roberto Perrelli
Output growth has slowed in several emerging markets since 2011—a remarkable feature for a non-crisis period in EMs. Such synchronized slowdowns were largely unanticipated by scholars and forecasters alike. In this paper we attempt to shed light on the main drivers of growth surprises and synchronized slowdowns in emerging markets post-global financial crisis. We find that lower trading partner demand was a key external factor in explaining these events during 2011–13, and that changes in external financing conditions have yet to play a role in EMs’ growth. On the domestic front, the withdrawal of the fiscal stimulus put in place right after the Lehman collapse is a relevant aspect in these episodes, compounding the effect of the weaker external demand. Idiosyncratic factors, such as structural bottlenecks with the potential to impair growth in a more lasting fashion, also seem to partly explain these events, as reflected in the larger residuals found in regression-based estimates for certain countries.
Mr. Troy D Matheson
The global financial crisis was a stark reminder of the importance of cross-country linkages in the global economy. We document growth synchronization across a diverse group of 185 countries covering 7 regions, and pay particular attention to the period around the global financial crisis. A dynamic factor model is used to decompose each country’s growth into contributions from global, regional, and idiosyncratic shocks. We find a high degree of global synchronization over 1990 to 2011, particularly across advanced economies. Examining the period around the global financial crisis, we find global shocks had large and widespread effects on growth, with more diversity in growth experiences in the early part of the recovery. In a recursive experiment, we find rising global growth synchronization just prior to the crisis, largely resulting from a shift in the importance of global shocks between countries. In contrast, the crisis period caused a much more widespread increase in growth synchronization, and was followed by a similarly pervasive decrease in synchronization in the early recovery.