Do persistently low nominal interest rates mean that governments can safely borrow more? To addresses this question, I extend the model of Ghosh et al.  to allow for persistent stochastic changes in nominal interest and growth rates. The key model parameter is the long-run difference between nominal interest and growth rates; if negative, maximum sustainable debts (debt limits) are unbounded. I show how both VAR- and spectral-based methods produce negative point estimates of this long-run differential, but cannot reject positive values at standard significance levels. I calibrate the model to the UK using positive but statistically plausible average interest-growth differentials. This produces debt limits which increase by only around 5% GDP as interest rates fall after 2008. In contrast, only a tiny change in the long-run average interest-growth differential – from the 95th to the 97.5th percentile of the distribution – is required to move average debt limits by the same amount.
In the United States and a few European countries, inventory behavior is mainly the outcome of demand shocks: a standard buffer-stock model best characterizes these economies. But most European countries are described by a modified buffer-stock model where supply shocks dominate. In contrast to the United States, inventories boost growth with a one-year lag in Europe. Moreover, inventories provide limited information to improve growth forecasts particularly when a modified buffer-stock model characterizes inventory behavior.
This paper presents a modeling framework that delivers joint forecasts of indicators of systemic real risk and systemic financial risk, as well as stress-tests of these indicators as impulse responses to structural shocks identified by standard macroeconomic and banking theory. This framework is implemented using large sets of quarterly time series of indicators of financial and real activity for the G-7 economies for the 1980Q1-2009Q3 period. We obtain two main results. First, there is evidence of out-of sample forecasting power for tail risk realizations of real activity for several countries, suggesting the usefulness of the model as a risk monitoring tool. Second, in all countries aggregate demand shocks are the main drivers of the real cycle, and bank credit demand shocks are the main drivers of the bank lending cycle. These results challenge the common wisdom that constraints in the aggregate supply of credit have been a key driver of the sharp downturn in real activity experienced by the G-7 economies in 2008Q4- 2009Q1.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the performance of French banks and the financial support measures taken by the French government. France has a large and sophisticated financial system, which accounts for 10 percent of the global banking system and 5 percent of global capital markets. This paper presents an overview of the French banking and supervision structure. It conducts comparative analyses of profitability, asset quality, capital adequacy, leverage, quality of capital, funding profile, and liquidity of banks. The paper also analyzes business lines, potential spillovers, and market perceptions of risk.
Mr. Ayhan Kose, Mr. Christopher Otrok, and Charles H. Whiteman
This paper studies the changes in world business cycles during 1960-2003. We employ a Bayesian dynamic latent factor model to estimate common and country-specific components in the main macroeconomic aggregates of the Group of Seven (G-7) countries. We then quantify the relative importance of these components in explaining comovement in each observable aggregate over three distinct time periods: the Bretton Woods (BW) period (1960-72), the period of common shocks (1972-86), and the globalization period (1986-2003). The results indicate that the common (G-7) factor explains a larger fraction of output, consumption, and investment volatility in the globalization period than in the BW period. These findings suggest that the degree of comovement of business cycles in major macroeconomic aggregates across the G-7 countries has increased during the globalization period.
This paper reviews recent advances in the specification and estimation of Bayesian Vector Autoregressive models (BVARs). After describing the Bayesian principle of estimation, we first present the methodology originally developed by Litterman (1986) and Doan et al. (1984) and review alternative priors. We then discuss extensions of the basic model and address issues in forecasting and structural analysis. An application to the estimation of a system of time-varying reaction functions for four European central banks under the European Monetary System (EMS) illustrates how some of the results previously presented may be applied in practice.
In this paper, we use a structural vector autoregression model to identify and compare demand and supply shocks between euro area countries and central and eastern European countries (CEECs). The shocks and the shock adjustment dynamics of these countries are also compared to EU countries that currently do not participate in the EMU. Focusing on the period 1993-2001, we find that there are still differences in the shocks and in the adjustment process to shocks between the euro area and the CEECs. However, several individual CEECs exhibit shocks and shock adjustment processes that are fairly similar to some euro area countries.
This paper reviews the first five years’ experience with inflation targeting in the United Kingdom. It concludes that inflation performance was not significantly different under inflation targeting than predicted by a VAR model estimated in the period prior to participation in the exchange rate mechanism (ERM). Both short- and long-term interest rates were lower than predicted, however, which is consistent with the interpretation that some gains in credibility were achieved under the inflation targeting regime.
The main finding of this paper is that the European Union (EU) countries fall into two broad groups according to the effects of monetary policy adjustments on economic activity. Estimates based on a vector autoregression model indicate that the full effects of a contractionary monetary shock on output in one group of EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, and United Kingdom) take roughly twice as long to occur, but are almost twice as deep as in the other group (Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden). The paper discusses the implications of these results for the effective conduct of monetary policy in the euro area.
Mr. Joaquim Vieira Ferreira Levy and Mr. Ioannis Halikias
This paper examines monetary transmission in France using the vector autoregression methodology. Interest rates are decomposed into external and domestic components, and a nonrecursive contemporaneous structure is used to identify the system. Innovations in the external component are found to have a significant impact on economic activity, while innovations in the domestic premium have a statistically negligible effect, suggesting that interest rate hikes in defense of the franc may have had a smaller impact on the economy than usually thought. The paper also discusses some implications of Economic and Monetary Union and provides evidence concerning the importance of the credit channel in France.