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International Monetary Fund

Canada has experienced drastic changes in its economy during the global financial crisis. This Selected Issues paper discusses the evolution of equilibrium real home prices in key Canadian provinces in the post-crisis period, Canadian dollar movement during and after the global financial turmoil in line with other world currencies, assessment of impacts on Canada’s potential growth, development of Canadian automotive sector—namely, NAFTA partners during the crisis, and the role of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) in Canada’s housing market.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

This Selected Issues paper examines implications of capital account liberalization in Iceland. Capital controls were critical in 2008 to avoid a more severe collapse of the Icelandic economy. Six years later, capital inflows have been liberalized, but most outflows remain restricted. Iceland has used the breathing room to reduce flow and stock vulnerabilities, strengthen institutions, and prepare for the lifting of capital controls. Simulations using the central bank’s Quarterly Macroeconomic Model (QMM) suggest that, compared with the 2008 crisis episode, the economy can better withstand the impact of an abrupt removal of capital controls. However, the outcome would be dependent on a number of factors, including resident depositor behavior.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper provides a brief overview of the latest research on the ability of forecasters to predict recessions. The paper highlights that few recessions have been forecast before their onset. Forecasters tend to be excessively cautious and do not revise their forecasts promptly and sufficiently to reflect incoming news. Nor do they fully take into account interdependence among economies. This paper also focuses on robust growth determinants highlighting that a fundamental problem confronting researchers is the lack of an explicit theory identifying the determinants of growth.
International Monetary Fund
Canadian housing prices are higher than levels consistent with current fundamentals in some provinces. The empirical estimates suggest that a 10 percent decline in housing prices would lead to a 1¼ percent decline in private consumption. The high level of household leverage and housing prices could prove to be a source of vulnerability. The rebound in debt and housing prices after the crisis largely reflects the resilience of the financial system and the stronger economic recovery in Canada, as well as historically low interest rates.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note on nonfinancial corporations and households vulnerabilities on France analyzes the structure of nonfinancial corporate financing in the French economy, potential vulnerabilities of the corporate sector, and their possible channels of transmission through interconnections with the financial system. The objective of this paper is to document the evolution of French corporate debt since the global financial crisis, analyze the riskiness of this debt, the quality of allocation of this debt, and uncover potential heterogeneity across sectors and firms which may have implications at the macroeconomic level. This paper also complements existing studies by the Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques, the Haut Conseil de Stabilité Financière and the Banque de France by undertaking a cross-country comparative analysis. Empirical analysis suggests that corporate debt may be allocated efficiently across publicly listed companies, but the picture is less clear among nonpublicly listed firms.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper describes wages and competitiveness in Norway. Norway may have to downwardly revise its expectations for wage growth if it is to avoid a significant loss of competitiveness and manage the transition to a less oil-dependent economy. Norway was able to afford very high wage growth in the past (notwithstanding the noted challenges in several sectors) thanks to good fortune in its terms of trade. Going forward, it would be prudent not to count on being fortunate twice: wage moderation would help build resilience in case of less favorable trends in international prices. It would also help facilitate the needed transition out of oil by supporting sectors that did not benefit from past terms of trade gains. Communication from the government can continue to help in managing public expectations. Fiscal policy plays a key role in promoting competitiveness and containing the spending effect of Dutch Disease. After a prolonged expansion of fiscal policy—partly enabled by large valuation gains of the sovereign wealth fund—it is now appropriate to gradually start tightening fiscal policy. The ongoing up-cycle provides an ideal setting to get started on structural consolidation, which will ultimately be needed to face to address aging pressures.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper examines 2013 Cluster Consultation—a Nordic Regional IMF staff report. Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden that form the Nordic region share a set of strong economic and social institutions and policies, with emphasis on education, high income equality, high employment, innovative and competitive business environment, etc. The IMF report suggests that strong national financial sector policies and regional cooperation would help mitigate common challenges and shared risks. Cooperative regional policies, such as introducing binding macroprudential minima and clear ex ante burden-sharing arrangements are expected to help limit the costs from any large bank failures.
Ms. Sonali Jain-Chandra, Min Jung Kim, Sung Ho Park, and Jerome Shin
Korea was hit hard by the 2008 global financial crisis, with the foreign bank deleveraging channel coming prominently into play. The global financial crisis demonstrated that a sharp deleveraging can be transmitted to emerging markets through the bank lending channel to a slowdown in credit growth. The analysis finds that a sharp decline in external funding led to relatively modest decline in domestic credit by Korean banks, due to concerted policy efforts by the government in 2008. Impulse responses from a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model calibrated to Korea shows that it appears better prepared to handle such shocks relative to 2008. Indeed, Korea is much more resilient to such shocks due to the efforts by the authorities, which has led to the strengthening of external buffers, such as higher foreign exchange reserves and bilateral and multilateral currency swap arrangements.
Jihad Dagher and Mr. Ning Fu
We show that the lightly regulated non-bank mortgage originators contributed disproportionately to the recent boom-bust housing cycle. Using comprehensive data on mortgage originations, which we aggregate at the county level, we first establish that the market share of these independent non-bank lenders increased in virtually all US counties during the boom. We then exploit the heterogeneity in the market share of independent lenders across counties as of 2005 and show that higher market participation by these lenders is associated with increased foreclosure filing rates at the onset of the housing downturn. We carefully control for counties' economic, demographic, and housing market characteristics using both parametric and semi-nonparametric methods. We show that this relation between the pre-crisis market share of independents and the rise in foreclosure is more pronounced in less regulated states. The macroeconomic consequences of our findings are significant: we show that the market share of these lenders as of 2005 is also a strong predictor of the severity of the housing downturn and subsequent rise in unemployment. Overall our findings lend support to the view that more stringent regulation could have averted some of the volatility on the housing market during the recent boom-bust episode.