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Mr. Anil Ari, Sophia Chen, and Mr. Lev Ratnovski
This paper presents a new dataset on the dynamics of non-performing loans (NPLs) during 88 banking crises since 1990. The data show similarities across crises during NPL build-ups but less so during NPL resolutions. We find a close relationship between NPL problems—elevated and unresolved NPLs—and the severity of post-crisis recessions. A machine learning approach identifies a set of pre-crisis predictors of NPL problems related to weak macroeconomic, institutional, corporate, and banking sector conditions. Our findings suggest that reducing pre-crisis vulnerabilities and promptly addressing NPL problems during a crisis are important for post-crisis output recovery.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyses the implications of global value chains (GVC) participation for Latvia’s competitiveness and exposure to risks. Using a structural model, it assesses Latvia’s competitiveness through different real effective exchange rate (REER) measures and examines the main factors behind differences in the measures. Based on this analysis, the paper suggests policy options to strengthen Latvia’s competitiveness. The paper also estimates the impact of an appreciation of the GVC related REER measure on value added export growth and real GDP growth, and finds sizable effects, suggesting that a rapid labor market tightening could lead to erosion in competitiveness and reduction in growth. Finally, trade tension induced tariff hikes may have significant cost for Latvia, especially in terms of value added produced in the country. Trade tension induced tariff hikes are likely to have moderate costs for Latvia in terms of value added produced in the country. In this regard, policies aimed at enhancing product sophistication or quality and export market diversification could mitigate Latvia’s exposure to trade shocks in GVCs.
Mr. Bas B. Bakker, Marta Korczak, and Mr. Krzysztof Krogulski
In the last decade, over half of the EU countries in the euro area or with currencies pegged to the euro were hit by large risk premium shocks. Previous papers have focused on the impact of these shocks on demand. This paper, by contrast, focuses on the impact on supply. We show that risk premium shocks reduce the output level that maximizes profit. They also lead to unemployment surges, as firms are forced to cut costs when financing becomes expensive or is no longer available. As a result, all countries with risk premium shocks saw unemployment surge, even as euro area core countries managed to contain unemployment as firms hoarded labor during the downturn. Most striking, wage bills in euro area crisis countries and the Baltics declined even faster than GDP, whereas in core euro area countries wage shares actually increased.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Latvia’s government revenues overperformed in 2017, buoyed by strong economic activity and wage growth. Nonetheless, the 2017 general government structural balance recorded a deficit of 0.8 percent of GDP, which resulted in a positive fiscal impulse rendering fiscal policy procyclical. Despite the suspension of activities of Latvia’s third largest bank on money laundering concerns, the banking system remains well capitalized and liquid, with capital-to-risk-weighted assets of 22.4 percent and liquid assets exceeding 80 percent of short-term liabilities at end-March 2018. Deleveraging of both households and nonfinancial corporations continued, with household debt to income now at half of its pre-crisis levels.