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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

forecasts underpinning the staff report. 3. A generally upbeat picture from other indicators . Recent data releases have shown real personal consumption expenditures and consumer sentiment rebounded in May, personal income growth remains solid, manufacturing surveys are improving, and housing data shows a mild but steady recovery. Inflation continues to be subdued (core PCE inflation was 1.2 percent in May). Nonfarm payrolls in June added 223 thousand jobs—close to Consensus expectations—with the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent, mainly reflecting a decline in

Mr. Yunhui Zhao

, and Willen (2020) analyze the effects of a streamlined refinance program that allows borrowers to refinance without providing employment or income documents; Goodman and Magder (2020) discuss the renter direct payment program that aims at assisting renters who are disproportionally affected by the pandemic. 6 III. Data, Summary Statistics, and Methodologies A. Data Description Since housing data in most countries are inadequate and infrequent, this study uses data from the US. But the results can shed light on other countries as well. Specifically

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that the U.S. economy’s momentum in the first quarter of 2015 was sapped by unfavorable weather, a sharp contraction in oil sector investment, and the West Coast port strike. But the underpinnings for a continued expansion remain in place. A solid labor market, accommodative financial conditions, and cheaper oil should support a more dynamic path for the remainder of the year. Despite this, the weaker outturn in the first few months of 2015 will unavoidably pull down 2015 growth. Despite important policy uncertainties, the near-term fiscal outlook has improved, and the federal government deficit is likely to move modestly lower in the current fiscal year.
Mr. Yunhui Zhao
Using zip code-level data and nonparametric estimation, I present eight stylized facts on the US housing market in the COVID-19 era. Some aggregate results are: (1) growth rate of median housing price during the four months (April-August 2020) since the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary easing has accelerated faster than any four-month period in the lead-up to the 2007-09 global financial crisis; (2) the increase in housing demand in response to lower mortgage interest rates displays a structural break since March 2020 (housing demand has increased by much more than before). These results indicate either the existence of “fear of missing out” or COVID-induced fundamental changes in household behavior. In terms of distributional evidence, I find that the increase of housing demand seems more pronounced among the two ends of the income distribution, possibly reflecting relaxed liquidity constraints at the lower end and speculative demand at the higher end. I also find that the developments in housing price, demand, and supply since April 2020 are similar across urban, suburban, and rural areas. The paper highlights some potential unintended consequences of COVID-fighting policies and calls for further studies of the driving forces of the empirical findings.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

KEY ISSUES Strategy: The 2015 U.S. Article IV consultation centered on the prospects for higher policy rates and the outlook for, and policy response to, financial stability risks, integrating the findings of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). Main findings and policy messages: • The underpinnings for continued growth and job creation remain in place despite momentum being sapped in recent months. • The FOMC should remain data dependent, carefully weighing the risk of weakening progress toward full employment and having to return to zero interest rates versus the risk of creating a temporary rise of inflation above the Fed’s medium-term goal and having to subsequently raise policy rates at a faster pace. • The FOMC should defer its first increase in policy rates until there are greater signs of wage or price inflation than are currently evident. Based on staff’s macroeconomic forecast, and barring upside surprises to growth and inflation, this would imply a gradual path of policy rate increases starting in the first half of 2016. • Pockets of financial vulnerabilities are emerging, putting a premium on improving the resilience of the financial system. Regulatory reforms remain incomplete and the structure of oversight has scope to be strengthened along a number of dimensions. • A credible and detailed medium-term consolidation plan is needed to address rising health and social security costs and to improve the tax system. Such a plan would provide near-term fiscal space to finance supply-side measures that support future growth. • A range of policy challenges linked to poverty, productivity, and labor force participation remain largely unaddressed.