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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note consists of five chapters focusing on various aspects of systemic risk analysis across the euro area financial system. The chapters cover bank profitability, balance sheet- and market-based interconnected analysis, contingent claims analysis, and a brief discussion of data gaps in the nonbank, non-insurance (NBNI) financial sector. The ongoing economic recovery will support euro area bank profitability in general, but it is unlikely to resolve the structural challenges faced by the least profitable banks despite some recent improvements. This is important because persistently weak bank profitability is a systemic financial stability concern. Empirical analysis of 109 major euro area banks over 2007–2016 reveals that real GDP growth and the NPL ratio are the most reliable determinants of profitability, after accounting for other factors. Although higher growth would raise profits, a large swath of banks with the weakest profitability would most likely continue to struggle even with a robust recovery. Therefore, banks should take advantage of the current upswing by resolutely addressing their NPL stocks—such a strategy holds the most promise for weak banks’ profitability prospects.
Mr. Nathaniel G Arnold, Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu, H. Elif Ture, Hou Wang, and Jiaxiong Yao
This note outlines a concrete proposal for a euro area central fiscal capacity (CFC) that could help smooth both country-specific and common shocks. Specifically, it proposes a macroeconomic stabilization fund financed by annual contributions from countries that are used to build up assets in good times and make transfers to countries in bad times, as well as a borrowing capacity in case an exceptionally large shock exhausts the fund’s assets. To address moral hazard risks, transfers from the CFC—beyond a country’s own net contributions—would be conditional on compliance with the EU fiscal rules. The note also discusses several features aimed at avoiding permanent transfers between countries and making the CFC function as automatically as possible—to limit the scope for disputes over its operation—both of which are important points to make it politically acceptable.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., and International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
"Despite a long history of program engagement, the Fund has not developed guidance on program design in members of currency unions. The Fund has engaged with members of the four currency unions—the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, the European Monetary Union, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union—under Fund-supported programs. In some cases, union-wide institutions supported their members in undertaking adjustment under Fund-supported programs. As such, several programs incorporated—on an ad hoc basis—critical policy actions that union members had delegated. Providing general guidance on program design for members in a currency union context would fill a gap in Fund policy and help ensure consistent, transparent, and evenhanded treatment across Fund-supported programs. This paper considers two options on when and how the Fund should seek policy assurances from union-level institutions in programs of currency union members. Option 1 would involve amending the Conditionality Guidelines, which would allow the use of standard conditionality tools with respect to actions by union-level institutions. Option 2—which staff prefers—proposes formalizing current practices and providing general guidance regarding principles and modalities on policy assurances from union-level institutions in support of members’ adjustment programs. Neither option would infringe upon the independence (or legally-provided autonomy) of union-level institutions, since the institutions would decide what measures or policy actions to take—just as any independent central bank or monetary authority does, for example, in non-CU members."
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi and Mr. Barry J. Eichengreen
Once upon a time, in the 1990s, it was widely agreed that neither Europe nor the United States was an optimum currency area, although moderating this concern was the finding that it was possible to distinguish a regional core and periphery (Bayoumi and Eichengreen, 1993). Revisiting these issues, we find that the United States is remains closer to an optimum currency area than the Euro Area. More intriguingly, the Euro Area shows striking changes in correlations and responses which we interpret as reflecting hysteresis with a financial twist, in which the financial system causes aggregate supply and demand shocks to reinforce each other. An implication is that the Euro Area needs vigorous, coordinated regulation of its banking and financial systems by a single supervisor—that monetary union without banking union will not work.
Mr. Thierry Tressel and Ms. Yuanyan S Zhang
The crisis has highlighted the importance of setting up macro-prudential oversight frameworks, having effective macro-prudential instruments in place to be called upon to mitigate growing financial imbalances as needed. We develop a new approach using the euro area Bank Lending Survey to assess the effectiveness of macro-prudential policies in containing credit growth and house price appreciation in mortgage markets. We find instruments targeting the cost of bank capital most effective in slowing down mortgage credit growth, and that the impact is transmitted mainly through price margins, the same banking channel as monetary policy. Limits on loan-to-value ratios are also effective, especially when monetary policy is excessively loose.
Mr. Jörg Decressin, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, Mr. Ioannis Halikias, Mr. Michael Kumhof, Mr. Daniel Leigh, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Mr. Paulo A Medas, Susanna Mursula, Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo, and Ms. TengTeng Xu
The paper studies the impacts of wage moderation in the euro area. Simulation results show that if a single euro area crisis-hit economy undertakes wage moderation, the impact on output is positive for that economy and for the entire euro area. If all crisis-hit economies undertake wage moderation together, their output still expands, albeit to a lesser degree. If the wage moderation is accompanied by cuts in policy interest rates by the central bank—and by quantitative easing once interest rates hit the zero lower bound—then output for the entire euro area expands as well.