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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The strength of the economic recovery bodes well for the rebound in activity to persist, but uncertainty remains high due to the war in Ukraine and the pandemic, with risks tilted to the downside. With employment above pre-pandemic levels, however, labor market pressures have increased. High energy prices have propelled inflation to a historic high. The current account remains elevated. High household debt constitutes a key source of risk as house price growth remains strong.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Denmark entered the pandemic on a strong economic footing and utilized its large policy space built over time to successfully address the crisis and lay the ground for a strong recovery. The outlook is for a rebound in activity, but uncertainty remains elevated with risks tilted to the downside. Macrofinancial vulnerabilities persist as housing price growth has accelerated and household debt remains high. The current account declined but remains in surplus.
Mr. Subir Lall and Mr. Li Zeng
Intangible investment is growing as a share of economic activity. We present a simple framework incorporating its distinguishing characteristic of generally greater scalability and lower marginal costs than tangible investment. We show evidence that this may have contributed to more elastic aggregate supply in recent years, which is consistent with lower inflation and a flattening of the Phillips curve. This framework also highlights the channels through which technological change, a large constituent of intangible investment, may be leading to wage stagnation and greater market concentration.
Mariam El Hamiani Khatat, Mark Buessings-Loercks, and Mr. Vincent Fleuriet
This paper argues that there is scope for monetary policy under an exchange rate anchor, and discusses the related monetary policy design and implementation. It shows that the exchange rate can be used as the main monetary policy instrument while the policy rate can target the exchange rate. An exchange rate anchor is compatible with an inflation objective, provided fiscal dominance is not an issue, monetary conditions are supportive of the peg, and the level of international reserves is adequate. The paper argues that, while an exchange rate anchor is more prone to policy inconsistencies, there is ample scope for strengthening monetary policy design and implementation under soft pegs. In that context, the principles of dichotomy and interest rate parity are critical.
Mr. Richard Varghese and Ms. Yuanyan S Zhang
ECB President Draghi’s Jackson Hole speech in August 2014 arguably marked a new phase of unconventional monetary policies (UMPs) in the euro area. This paper examines the market impact and tranmission channels of this new wave of UMPs using a modified event study framework. They are found to have a more prominent impact on inflation expectations and exchange rates compared to the earlier UMP announcements. The impact on bank equity, however, is less significant in part due to narrowing profit margin in a low interest rate environment; and the marginal effect on sovereign spread compression has diminished. By extracting components of monetary policy shocks from the yield curve, we find that the traditional signaling channel of the monetary policy transmission continued to play an important role, but the portfolio rebalancing channel became more important in the new phase. Spillovers to non-euro area EU countries (the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, and Sweden) are transmitted mainly through the portfolio rebalancing channel, largely affecting sovereign yields and exchange rates.
Christian Grisse, Signe Krogstrup, and Silvio Schumacher
We study the transmission of changes in the believed location of the lower bound to longterm interest rates since the introduction of negative interest rate policies. The expectations hypothesis of the term structure combined with a lower bound on policy rates suggests that normal policy transmission is reduced when policy rates approach this lower bound. We show that if market participants revise downward the believed location of the lower bound, this may in itself reduce long-term yields. Moreover, normal policy transmission to long-term rates increases. A cross-country event study suggests that such effects have been empirically relevant during the recent negative interest rate episode.
International Monetary Fund
The depth of the crisis and the weakness of the ensuing recovery led to new ways to implement monetary policy. At the onset of the crisis, central banks in several advanced economies quickly moved policy rates to zero and initiated large-scale asset purchases. In more recent years, with inflation still below target and limited support from fiscal policy, several central banks lowered their policy rates below the previous zero lower bound, embarking on so-called negative interest rate policies (NIRPs). This paper explores the implications of NIRPs for monetary policy transmission and banks’ behavior. It considers potential differences between interest rate cuts in positive versus negative territory on deposit and lending rates, as well as banks’ interest rate margins and profitability, and market functioning. The paper focuses on the bank transmission channel, where differences between positive and negative policy rates could arise. Finally, the paper reviews cross-country experiences through case studies.
Rima Turk
Negative policy interest rates have prevailed for some years in Denmark and are a more recent development in Sweden. Among other potential side effects, negative rates could weaken banks’ profitability by reducing net interest income, their main source of earnings. However, an analysis of financial statements at the country rather than the consolidated group level shows that bank margins have been broadly stable. At least to date, lower interest income was offset by reductions in wholesale funding costs and higher fee income. Nonetheless, the impacts on bank health and lending from negative interest rates will need to continue to be monitored closely.
Andreas Jobst and Ms. Huidan Huidan Lin
More than two years ago the European Central Bank (ECB) adopted a negative interest rate policy (NIRP) to achieve its price stability objective. Negative interest rates have so far supported easier financial conditions and contributed to a modest expansion in credit, demonstrating that the zero lower bound is less binding than previously thought. However, interest rate cuts also weigh on bank profitability. Substantial rate cuts may at some point outweigh the benefits from higher asset values and stronger aggregate demand. Further monetary accommodation may need to rely more on credit easing and an expansion of the ECB’s balance sheet rather than substantial additional reductions in the policy rate.