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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper assesses the relationship between demographic trends and housing prices in Japan. Among various issues in the context of regional disparities, the paper focus on regional differences in population dynamics to try and understand to what extent demographic trends have influenced housing market prices in Japan in the past twenty years. Large cities, notably the Greater Tokyo area, are experiencing net migration inflows, while other regions are experiencing net migration outflows. Due to the durability of housing compared to other forms of investment, the magnitude of house price declines associated with population losses is larger than that of house price increases associated with population gains. These model-based predictions are likely to underestimate the actual fall in house prices associated with future population losses, as expectations of lower housing prices in the future could trigger more population outflows and disposal of houses, especially in rural areas. The paper suggests policy measures to help close regional disparities and avoid potential over-investment by taking account of demographic trends for housing supply.
Ms. Yu Shi
This paper identifies a new mechanism leading to inefficiency in capital reallocation at the extensive margin when an economy experiences a sectoral boom. I argue that imperfections in the financial market and capital barriers to entry in the booming sector create a misallocation of managerial talent. Using comprehensive firm-level data from China, I first provide evidence that more productive firms reallocate capital to the booming real estate sector, and demonstrate that the pattern is likely driven by fewer financial constraints on these firms. I then use a structural estimation to verify the talent misallocation. Finally, I calibrate a dynamic model and find that the without the misallocation, the TFP growth in the manufacturing sector would have improved by 0.5% per year.
Sophia Chen, Mrs. Paola Ganum, and Mr. Pau Rabanal
e develop a toolkit to assess the consistency between real sector and financial sector forecasts. The toolkit draws upon empirical regularities on real sector and financial sector outcomes for 182 economies from 1980 to 2015. We show that credit growth is positively correlated with real sector performance, in particular when credit growth is unusually high or low. However, the relationship between credit growth and inflation is weak. These results hold for different country groups, including advanced economies, emerging markets and low-income countries. Combining credit growth with other variables such as house prices and the output gap helps to understand real sector outcomes. But including the financial account balance does not make a difference.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines the vulnerability of firms in Malta and investigates the effect of their balance sheets on investment in innovation. The results indicate that, while the financial health of medium and large firms has improved in recent years, vulnerabilities remain in the construction sector and for small and medium enterprises. Firms with weaker balance sheets tend to invest less in innovation, even during good times. Policy implications call for (1) accelerating the restructuring of corporate balance sheets of highly leveraged but viable firms, (2) improving the insolvency framework to allow a fast exit of nonviable companies, and (3) expanding corporate funding options for small and medium enterprises, including via nonbank financing alternatives.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses the findings and recommendations made in the Financial Sector Assessment Program for Ireland in the areas of nonbank sector stability. Both nonparametric and parametric methods suggest that the residential real estate market in Ireland is close to or moderately below its equilibrium level. Two standard metrics of price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios show that following a protracted period of overvaluation prior to the crisis and a correction afterward, the market has been close to its equilibrium level in recent quarters. Households have deleveraged, but are still highly indebted. The stability analysis results also suggest that vulnerabilities among nonfinancial firms have moderated in recent years.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Considerable progress has been achieved in the post-crisis repair of the UK economy. Private-sector indebtedness has been reduced, the financial sector regulatory framework has been overhauled, the fiscal deficit has been cut in half, and the employment rate has reached a record high. With the output gap now nearly closed, growth is expected to average near its potential rate of around 2¼ percent over the medium term, with inflation rising slowly from its current low levels to the 2 percent target by end-2017. However, this benign baseline is subject to risks, including those related to potential shocks to global growth and asset prices, still-high levels of household debt, the elevated current account deficit, and the degree to which productivity growth will recover. Uncertainty associated with the outcome of the forthcoming referendum on EU membership could also weigh on the outlook. Continued efforts are needed to complete the post-crisis repair, promote growth, and further bolster resilience.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues Paper analyzes the fiscal position and significant challenges for Luxembourg. Luxembourg’s fiscal position is currently sound, however, fiscal safety buffers are being eroded. The country’s healthy fiscal position will be challenged by forthcoming revenue losses as well as rapid trend growth in expenditures. An overall strategy to address this coming deterioration is needed. Beyond the planned value-added tax increase, recurrent property taxes are a possible additional source of revenue. On expenditures, social benefits should be an area of focus, and reforms of these benefits should also aim to reduce disincentives to work.