Business and Economics > Industries: Financial Services

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André Geis and Ms. Oana Luca
Soaring real estate prices and valuations despite the economic downturn brought by the pandemic have focussed the attention of Dutch policymakers on potential macro-financial and socio-economic implications. In this context, our paper reviews the salient features of Dutch commercial and residential real estate markets with an eye to identify pertinent risks and challenges. While we find that the Dutch authorities have made considerable strides to strengthen real estate-related policies in recent years, some, and partly long-standing, issues remain, requiring additional efforts to bolster financial stability, address housing supply shortages and manage secular changes affecting property markets.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi and Mr. Yunhui Zhao
Housing is by far the most important asset in Chinese households’ balance sheets. However, despite forceful and frequent government interventions, the rise in Chinese housing prices has not been contained as much as intended, a trend that has not been reversed by the COVID-19 shock. In this paper, we first provide some stylized facts and then a DSGE model (encompassing both demand and supply channels) to highlight the impact of a “slow-moving” structural vulnerability—financial market incompleteness—on China’s housing prices. The model implies that to eradicate the root causes of the rising housing price, policymakers need to go beyond the housing market itself; instead, it would be desirable to deepen financial markets because these markets would help channel financial resources to productive sectors rather than to housing speculation. This is particularly important in the COVID era because without addressing this structural vulnerability, the higher household savings and the government stimulus may fuel the housing bubble and sow seeds for a future crisis. The paper can also shed light on the housing markets in other economies that face similar vulnerabilities.
Lucyna Gornicka and Ms. Laura Valderrama
We present a semi-structural model of default risk, which is a function of loan and borrower characteristics, economic conditions, and the regulatory environment. We use this model to simulate bank credit losses for stress-testing purposes and to calibrate borrower-based macroprudential tools. The proposed approach is very flexible and is particularly useful when there is limited history of crisis episodes, when crises bring unanticipated shocks where past tail events offer little guidance and when structural shocks or changes in financial regulations have altered the loan default process. We apply the model to quantify mortgage lending risk in two distinct mortgage markets. For each application, we show a range of modeling adjustments that can be made to capture country-specific institutional features. The model uses bank portfolio data broken down by risk bucket and vintage, which enables us to take explicit account of the loan life cycle and to incorporate the housing and economic cycles. This feature facilitates a timely assessment of banks’ loss-absorbing capacity and the buildup of systemic risk conditional on policy. It also enables counterfactual analysis and the evaluation of macroprudential policy interventions.
Mr. Julian T Chow
Guyana’s residential real estate prices have been rising, particularly in the capital city Georgetown, following the discovery of oil in 2015. In line with the growing demand for housing, commercial banks’ housing loans have increased, prompting higher household debt. This paper presents two analyses which suggest that housing prices in Georgetown and banks’ lending to the housing sector appear to be in their early stages of growth. However, given the data limitations and caveats that underpin the analyses, the findings could also indicate early signals of possible risks. Further data collection would support surveillance and deeper studies. At the same time, enhancing prudential measures would help safeguard financial and macroeconomic stability. These include strengthening the monitoring of the housing market, bank lending practices and household debt, as well as fortifying the macroprudential framework, including with more effective toolkits for early intervention.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.

Abstract

The 2019 Financial Soundness Indicators Compilation Guide (2019 Guide) includes new indicators to expand the coverage of the financial sector, including other financial intermediaries, money market funds, insurance corporations, pension funds, nonfinancial corporations, and households. In all, the 2019 Guide recommends the compilation of 50 FSIs—13 of them new. Additions such as new capital, liquidity and asset quality metrics, and concentration and distribution measures will serve to enhance the forward-looking aspect of FSIs and contribute to increase policy focus on stability of the financial system.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
After a strong performance in 2017, economic activity has moderated. The second half of 2018 was marked by a deceleration, coinciding with weaker economic activity in Europe. The headline fiscal balance improved, with a small increase in the structural primary balance reflecting a strict budget execution. The current account turned negative in 2018 in conjunction with a deterioration of the balance of trade in goods and services. Total credit to the nonfinancial private sector continued to decline in 2018. Nevertheless, over the last 4 years the Portuguese banking system has been strengthening its balance sheet and its performance.
Ding Ding, Xiaoyu Huang, Tao Jin, and Mr. Waikei R Lam
China’s real estate market rebounded sharply after a temporary slowdown in 2014-2015. This paper uses city-level data to estimate the range of house price overvaluation across city-tiers and assesses the main risks of a sharp housing market slowdown. If house prices rise further beyond “fundamental” levels and the bubble expands to smaller cities, it would increase the likelihood and costs of a sharp correction, which would weaken growth, undermine financial stability, reduce local government spending room, and spur capital outflows. Empirical analysis suggests that the increasing intensity of macroprudential policies tailored to local conditions is appropriate. The government should expand its toolkit to include additional macroprudential measures and push forward reforms to address the fundamental imbalances in the residential housing market.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that decline in oil prices has adversely affected Kuwait’s fiscal and current account balances and slowed growth in 2014–15. Real non-oil GDP growth is projected to slow in 2015 and 2016, and pick up to 4 percent in the medium term, supported by government investment in infrastructure and private investment. The fiscal and external positions are projected to deteriorate further in 2015 and 2016, and improve somewhat over the medium term as oil prices and production recover partially.