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Khalid ElFayoumi, Ms. Izabela Karpowicz, Ms. Jenny Lee, Ms. Marina Marinkov, Ms. Aiko Mineshima, Jorge Salas, Andreas Tudyka, and Ms. Andrea Schaechter
Many European economies have faced pressure from rental housing affordability that has widened social and economic divergence. While significant country and regional differences exist, this departmental paper finds that in many advanced European economies a large and rising share of low-income renters, the young, and those living in cities is overburdened. In several locations, middle-income groups also increasingly face rental affordability issues.
Ms. Enrica Detragiache, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul, Koralai Kirabaeva, Mr. Davide Malacrino, Florian Misch, Hyun Woo Park, and Ms. Yu Shi
A hypothetical European Minimum Wage (MW) set at 60 percent of each country’s median wage would reduce in-work poverty but have limited effects on overall poverty, as many poor households do not earn a wage near MW and higher unemployment, higher prices, and a loss of social insurance benefits may erode direct benefits. Turning to competitiveness, since the MW increase to reach the European standard would be larger in euro area countries with excessive external surpluses, the associated real appreciation should help curb existing imbalances. However, a few countries with already weak external positions would experience an undesirable real appreciation.
Silvia Albrizio, Sangyup Choi, Davide Furceri, and Chansik Yoon
How does domestic monetary policy in systemic countries spillover to the rest of the world? This paper examines the transmission channel of domestic monetary policy in the cross-border context. We use exogenous shocks to monetary policy in systemically important economies, including the U.S., and local projections to estimate the dynamic effect of monetary policy shocks on bilateral cross-border bank lending. We find robust evidence that an increase in funding costs following an exogenous monetary tightening leads to a statistically and economically significant decline in cross-border bank lending. The effect is weakened during periods of high uncertainty. In contrast, the effect is found to not vary according to the degree of borrower country riskiness, further weakening support for the international portfolio rebalancing channel.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
After a sharp slowdown starting in 2018, euro area growth is expected to recover over the course of 2019. However, mounting downside risks from global trade tensions, a no-deal Brexit, and market concerns about countries with high public debt emphasize the precarious nature of the forecast. Even in the absence of a major shock, there is a danger that the area could enter a prolonged period of anemic growth and inflation. Policies should focus on supporting growth while also reducing vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on various aspects of corporate debt in France. The increase in debt has financed real investments, as well as acquisition of financial assets and extension of intercompany loans. The increase in debt (and its level) appears less worrisome when debt is consolidated among nonfinancial corporations. Despite the increase in the stock of debt, debt service has increased moderately. A cross-country regression analysis reveals that French publicly listed firms are on average not more indebted and have not increased their debt more than peers in other countries, after controlling for firm and sector characteristics as well as common time effects. However, the increase in debt is concentrated among large firms with sizeable leverage in a few industries, raising questions about these firms’ ability to service this debt when interest rates rise. Stress test scenarios of a large and sudden increase in interest rates suggest that corporate debt at risk could be significant at a macroeconomic level, but that cash buffers would mitigate the impact of the shock on debt service.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on long-term impact of Brexit on the European Union (EU). This paper examines consequences of Brexit on the EU27 under various post-Brexit scenarios by using two different complementary approaches. Our results, which are broadly in line with recent findings in the literature, are twofold. First, Brexit would have negative effects on the EU27 as well, given the depth and the complexity of the EU-U.K. integration. Similar to various empirical studies, it has been observed that the estimated long-term output and employment losses (in percent) for the EU27 in the study are on average lower than the corresponding losses for the UK estimated in the literature. The level of output and employment are estimated to fall at most by up to 1.5 percent and 0.7 percent in the long run in the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit scenario, respectively. A “soft” Brexit outcome would lead to much lower losses.