The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic loss of human life and major damage to the European economy, but thanks to an exceptionally strong policy response, potentially devastating outcomes have been avoided.
Existing studies on the downward trend in the labor share of income mostly focus on changes
within individual countries. I document, however, that half of the global decline in the labor
share of income can be traced to the relocation of activities between countries. I develop a
two-country model to show that when the relative price of investment goods falls, production
activities with a small elasticity of substitution between capital and labor tend to get
offshored from high- to low-wage countries. The model provides an explanation as to why
such relocation may drive the labor share down in both developed and developing
economies, as well as globally.
The paper seeks to identify strategies of commercial banks in response to higher capital requirements of Basel III reform and its phase-in. It focuses on a sample of nine EU emerging market countries and picks up 5 largest banks in each country assessing their response. The paper finds that all banking sectors raised CAR ratios mainly through retained earnings. In countries where the banking sector struggled with profitability, banks have resorted to issuance of new equity or shrunk the size of their balance sheets to meet the higher capital-adequacy requirements. Worries echoed at the early stage of Basel III compilation, namely that commercial banks would shrink their balance sheet by reducing their lending to meet stricter capital requirements, did materialize only in banks struggling with profitability.
Mr. Ales Bulir, Mr. Martin Cihak, and Mr. David-Jan Jansen
We study whether clarity of central bank inflation reports affects return volatility in financial markets. We measure clarity of reports by the Czech National Bank, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and Sveriges Riksbank using the Flesch-Kincaid grade level, a standard readability measure. We find some evidence, mainly for the euro area, of a negative relationship between clarity and market volatility prior to and during the early stage of the global financial crisis. As the crisis unfolded, there is no longer robust evidence of a negative connection. We conclude that reducing noise using clear reports is possible but not without challenges, especially in times of crisis.
This paper examines the international portfolio flows of European Union. Our analysis includes three dimensions: (1) the level of countries portfolio investment concentration (those who invest evenly among counterparties versus those who invest more heavily in some counterparties); (2) the share of total portfolio investment assets invested at the destination; and (3) pre- and during the crisis periods. We find that portfolio investment positions respond differently to macroeconomic variables depending on the level of investment concentration and the share of invested assets. In particular, variables of health of the financial system become important determinants for portfolio investment during the crisis.
This paper discusses key findings of the Cluster Report on German-Central European Supply Chain (GCESC). Since the 1990s, a GCESC has evolved, manufacturing goods for export to the rest of the world. Reflecting this, bilateral trade linkages between Germany and the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the Slovak Republic (CE4) have expanded rapidly. Participation in the GCESC has led to technology transfers to CE4 countries and accelerated income convergence. Export growth in knowledge-intensive sectors has been particularly rapid in the CE4. It is also observed that complementarities between supply chain activities and domestic production have led to greater synchronization of the business cycle among GCESC countries.
This paper provides case studies of 13 of the largest non-UMP countries. The case studies begin with an overview of recent macro-economic developments as well as capital flow patterns during the crisis up to the first U.S. tapering announcement in May 2013. Country experiences with capital inflows are judged along five dimensions: (i) the size of capital inflows, (ii) policies used to manage inflows, (iii) external stability, measured by exchange rate overvaluation and current account deficits relative to fundamentals,2 (iv) asset price and credit market reactions, and (v) financial sector stability. Case studies mostly draw on published IMF Staff Reports for each country, as well as the 2013 Pilot External Stability Report (IMF 2013d).
The case studies document the regulatory and supervisory dimension of episodes during the recent crisis involving capital flows that generated systemic stress. Source country regulation and supervision is the main focus, although recipient country policies also were important in some cases and are thus covered as well.
Three of the case studies are motivated by systemic stress that arose from flows between advanced economies. Strong demand by foreign investors for U.S. financial products helped drive gross flows between the United States and other countries, especially Europe, and induced the U.S. financial sector to develop products that transformed their risky assets into highly-rated securities. In turn, large European banks came to depend on short-term liquidity provided from the U.S. These two-way capital flows created a complex web among markets and institutions, some regulated and some not. Against this background, case studies were prepared for European banks and U.S. money market mutual funds (MMMFs) and for German banks and U.S. mortgage-backed securities (MBSs). Another important case is that of the near failure of the American International Group (AIG), which turned out to have complex and systemically cross-border linkages with other global institutions and markets.