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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Denmark entered the pandemic on a strong economic footing and utilized its large policy space built over time to successfully address the crisis and lay the ground for a strong recovery. The outlook is for a rebound in activity, but uncertainty remains elevated with risks tilted to the downside. Macrofinancial vulnerabilities persist as housing price growth has accelerated and household debt remains high. The current account declined but remains in surplus.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) work was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report, however, includes stability analysis and stress tests under updated illustrative scenarios to quantify the possible implications of the COVID-19 shock on bank solvency. An unusually high degree of caution must be exercised in interpreting the stress tests results and their implications or validity at the current juncture, due to heightened uncertainty around post COVID central projections and downside risks. Financial vulnerabilities were elevated on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key financial vulnerabilities included high household leverage amid high real estate valuations following a long period of loose financial conditions. There were also signs of risk taking in some sectors, such as commercial real estate (CRE), and in addition, there were downside risks to bank profitability amid the low-interest-rate environment.
Mrs. Jana Bricco, Florian Misch, and Alexandra Solovyeva
This paper examines the economic effects of policies to contain Covid-19, by extracting lessons from Sweden’s experience during the ‘Great Lockdown’. Sweden’s approach was less stringent and based more on social responsibility than legal obligations compared to European peers. First, we provide an account of Sweden’s strategy and the health outcomes. Second, drawing on a range of data sources and empirical findings, our analysis of the first Covid-19 wave indicates that a less stringent strategy can soften the economic impact initially. These benefits could be eroded subsequently, due to potentially higher infection rates and a prolonged pandemic, but in Sweden’s case, the evidence remains mixed in this regard, and it is premature to judge the outcome of Sweden’s containment strategy. In addition, the economic effects of the containment strategy also depend on social behavior, demographics and structural features of the economy, such as the degree of export orientation, reliance on global supply chains, and malleability to remote working.