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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Ireland entered the COVID pandemic with reduced vulnerabilities and high growth, especially in multinational enterprises (MNEs)-dominated sectors. The pandemic has had a highly asymmetric impact on the economy. The domestic sectors contracted by about 10 percent in 2020 and unemployment reached 30 percent at the peak of the first wave, while MNEs continued to grow strongly, driving overall GDP growth to 3.4 percent. A swift policy response has been effective in mitigating the crisis impact and protecting households and firms. The domestic sectors are expected to partially recover in 2021, with GDP growth projected at 4.6 percent. Downside risks stem from uncertainties surrounding new COVID variants, post-Brexit trade arrangements, and likely changes in international taxation.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Hong Kong SAR has, over the recent years, become an equity trading hub catering to domestic and foreign investors, including increasingly to investors from Mainland China. Most trading is conducted on markets operated by recognized exchange companies, with limited domestic trading happening via automated trading services (ATS) providers in the form of alternative liquidity pools. The introduction of Stock Connect in 2014 enabled investors from Hong Kong (including domestic and foreign) to directly invest in the Shanghai and later Shenzhen markets and investors from the Mainland to directly access the Hong Kong market. Trading via Stock Connect has seen a steady rise over the last few years, increasing the linkages between Hong Kong SAR and the Mainland. Mainland companies currently account for over 60 per cent of market capitalization of the equities traded on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK).
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
New Zealand’s sound management of the COVID-19 crisis has been effective in bringing infection rates quickly under control. Decisive fiscal and monetary policy responses have been instrumental in cushioning the economic impact. Although economic activity was hit hard initially, it has recovered faster than expected. That said, the recovery has been uneven, with some sectors and workers disproportionately affected.
Giancarlo Corsetti, Joao B. Duarte, and Samuel Mann
We study the transmission of monetary shocks across euro-area countries using a dynamic factor model and high-frequency identification. We develop a methodology to assess the degree of heterogeneity, which we find to be low in financial variables and output, but significant in consumption, consumer prices, and variables related to local housing and labor markets. Building a small open economy model featuring a housing sector and calibrating it to Spain, we show that varying the share of adjustable-rate mortgages and loan-to-value ratios explains up to one-third of the cross-country heterogeneity in the responses of output and private consumption.
Mr. Jiaqian Chen, Daria Finocchiaro, Jesper Lindé, and Karl Walentin
We examine the effects of various borrower-based macroprudential tools in a New Keynesian environment where both real and nominal interest rates are low. Our model features long-term debt, housing transaction costs and a zero-lower bound constraint on policy rates. We find that the long-term costs, in terms of forgone consumption, of all the macroprudential tools we consider are moderate. Even so, the short-term costs differ dramatically between alternative tools. Specifically, a loan-to-value tightening is more than twice as contractionary compared to loan-to-income tightening when debt is high and monetary policy cannot accommodate.
Ding Ding and Weicheng Lian
In this paper we analyze the fundamental drivers of China’s residential investment as a share of its GDP. Our analysis indicates that the economic structural changes that led to rebalancing toward consumption were the key driver of the rising residential investment to GDP ratio in China. We project that residential investment would moderate from the current level of 9 percent of GDP to around 6 percent by 2024, and its contribution to real GDP growth would decline gradually from currently about half percent of GDP to slightly negative over this period, barring policy intervention. The decline in the growth contribution of residential investment reflects the projected somewhat slower pace of rebalancing going forward and the envisaged increases in labor costs due to demographic changes.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper focuses on gaps and multiplier effects of infrastructure investment in New Zealand. There has been high quality work done to quantify the infrastructure gap for New Zealand by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Global Infrastructure Hub, drawing on international experiences and local data sources, but recognizing the risk that the infrastructure gap may be even larger than that stated in this work. This paper provides further analysis about the effects on New Zealand’s economy of closing the infrastructure gap. Closing the gap has quantifiable benefits, not just because it is a short-term stimulus to aggregate demand, but because of longer-lived effects on productivity, benefiting all sectors of the economy. There are prospective gains from closing New Zealand’s infrastructure gap. New Zealand has improved its infrastructure spending in the past several years. Nonetheless, there is scope to expand it further, to reduce its (admittedly small, but probably understated) infrastructure gap to match other advanced economies, and possibly help with regional development concerns.
Mr. Alessandro Cantelmo and Mr. Giovanni Melina
In a SVAR model of the US, the response of the relative price of durables to a monetary contraction is either flat or mildly positive. It significantly falls only if narrowly defined as the ratio between new-house and nondurables prices. These findings are rationalized via the estimation of a two-sector New-Keynesian (NK) models. Durables prices are estimated to be as sticky as nondurables, leading to a flat relative price response to a monetary shock. Conversely, house prices are estimated to be almost flexible. Such results survive several robustness checks and a three-sector extension of the NK model. These findings have implications for building two-sector NK models with durable and nondurable goods, and for the conduct of monetary policy.
Ding Ding, Xiaoyu Huang, Tao Jin, and W. Raphael Lam
China’s real estate market rebounded sharply after a temporary slowdown in 2014-2015. This paper uses city-level data to estimate the range of house price overvaluation across city-tiers and assesses the main risks of a sharp housing market slowdown. If house prices rise further beyond “fundamental” levels and the bubble expands to smaller cities, it would increase the likelihood and costs of a sharp correction, which would weaken growth, undermine financial stability, reduce local government spending room, and spur capital outflows. Empirical analysis suggests that the increasing intensity of macroprudential policies tailored to local conditions is appropriate. The government should expand its toolkit to include additional macroprudential measures and push forward reforms to address the fundamental imbalances in the residential housing market.