Business and Economics > Inflation

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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Recovery was strong in 2021, but there are headwinds from the war in Ukraine. 2021 output was 1 percent higher than in 2019, but 2 percent below pre-Covid trends; unemployment is back to pre-crisis levels. Inflation has picked up (2.5 percent in April), but below other advanced economies. Strong exports/merchanting led to a higher current account surplus. Although the energy mix (nuclear, hydro) has limited exposure to Russia, exposures of commodity traders and indirect channels could be important. Growth is likely to slow to 2¼ percent in 2022 (¾ ppt. drag from the war). Risks are to the downside (war escalation, Covid developments, real estate). Covid outlays are lower in 2022, but still large (1.2 percent of GDP). Outlays related to Ukraine are likely to be accommodated as extraordinary. The Swiss National Bank is closely monitoring inflation, seeing it returning to the 0–2 percent range this year. The authorities reactivated the sectoral CCyB for residential real estate. They are pursuing pension and labor reforms, climate initiatives, energy security, and renewed EU engagement.
Mr. Tobias Adrian, Vitor Gaspar, and Mr. Francis Vitek
This paper jointly analyzes the optimal conduct of monetary policy, foreign exchange intervention, fiscal policy, macroprudential policy, and capital flow management. This policy analysis is based on an estimated medium-scale dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model of the world economy, featuring a range of nominal and real rigidities, extensive macrofinancial linkages with endogenous risk, and diverse spillover transmission channels. In the pursuit of inflation and output stabilization objectives, it is optimal to adjust all policies in response to domestic and global financial cycle upturns and downturns when feasible—including foreign exchange intervention and capital flow management under some conditions—to widely varying degrees depending on the structural characteristics of the economy. The framework is applied empirically to four small open advanced and emerging market economies.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Switzerland has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic well. The pandemic has had major social and economic impacts, but an early, strong, and sustained health and economic policy response helped contain the contraction of activity. Coordinated efforts targeting households and firms stemmed a loss of purchasing power and a rise of unemployment and bankruptcies. Recovery has commenced, but uncertainty and risks remain high, dominated by pandemic dynamics. The rebound should deepen, as vaccination proceeds, containment is eased, and domestic and global demand picks up. Fiscal support has been rightly extended in 2021, and monetary policy remains accommodative. Policies should remain supportive until there are clear signs of sustained recovery; the authorities should expand support if needed. Redirection to fostering green, digital transformation with attention to low-income earners will be needed, including to ensure that prolonged emergency support does not hinder structural changes in the economy.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The UK entered 2020 negotiating a new economic relationship with the EU and facing other challenges, including meeting climate targets, dealing with an aging population, and reinvigorating tepid productivity growth. Growth and investment had been weak since the 2016 referendum, and the current account deficit elevated, but unemployment was low, inflation on target, and balance sheets strong. The global pandemic hit the UK hard in March, and the country now faces a second wave. The economic impact has been severe, but helped by an aggressive policy response, jobs have been preserved, businesses kept afloat, and banking sector losses contained. Still, the outlook for the near term is weak, as the economy works through the second wave, Brexit, rising unemployment, and corporate distress. Risks are overall to the downside, centering on the degree of balance sheet damage sustained by households and small and medium enterprises. The pace at which vaccines are able to bring the pandemic under control could be an important mitigating factor.
Vizhdan Boranova, Raju Huidrom, Sylwia Nowak, Petia Topalova, Mr. Volodymyr Tulin, and Mr. Richard Varghese
Wages have been rising faster than productivity in many European countries for the past few years, yet signs of underlying consumer price pressures remain limited. To shed light on this puzzle, this paper examines the historical link between wage growth and inflation in Europe and factors that influence the strength of the passthrough from labor costs to prices. Historically, wage growth has led to higher inflation, but the impact has weakened since 2009. Empirical analysis suggests that the passthrough from wage growth to inflation is significantly lower in periods of subdued inflation and inflation expectations, greater competitive pressures, and robust corporate profitability. Thus the recent pickup in wage growth is likely to have a more muted impact on inflation than in the past.
Mariusz Jarmuzek and Mr. Tonny Lybek
This paper argues that better governance practices can reduce the costs, risks and uncertainty of financial intermediation. Our sample covers high-, middle- and low-income countries before and after the global financial crisis (GFC). We find that net interest margins of banks are lower if various governance indicators are better. More cross-border lending also appears conducive to lower intermediation costs, while the level of capital market development is not significant. The GFC seems not to have had a strong impact except via credit risk. Finally, we estimate the size of potential gains from improved governance.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Swiss economy has adjusted to the large cumulative exchange rate appreciation that took place since the global financial crisis. After a subdued start to 2017, GDP growth accelerated to 1.1 percent in 2017, and the positive momentum continued in Q1:2018, although at a slightly reduced pace. The improved external outlook, together with the depreciation since mid-2017, are expected to energize the economy and lift GDP growth to 2.25 percent in 2018, before it gradually moderates to 1.75 percent over the medium term. Inflation is expected to increase to the upper half of the target band in 2018–19, and to subsequently revert to the mid-point.
Zineddine Alla, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, and Mr. Atish R. Ghosh
We develop an open economy New Keynesian Model with foreign exchange intervention in the presence of a financial accelerator mechanism. We obtain closed-form solutions for the optimal interest rate policy and FX intervention under discretionary policy, in the face of shocks to risk appetite in international capital markets. The solution shows that FX intervention can help reduce the volatility of the economy and mitigate the welfare losses associated with such shocks. We also show that, when the financial accelerator is strong, the risk of multiple equilibria (self-fulfilling currency and inflation movements) is high. We determine the conditions under which indeterminacy can occur and highlight how the use of FX intervention reinforces the central bank’s credibility and limits the risk of multiple equilibria.