This paper discusses issues in calibrating the countercyclical capital buffer (CCB) based on a sample of EU countries. It argues that the main indicator for buffer decisions under the Basel III framework, the credit-to-GDP gap, does not always work best in terms of covering bank loan losses that go beyond what could be expected from economic downturns. Instead, in the case of countries with short financial cycles and/or low financial deepening such as transition and developing economies, the Basel gap is shown to work best when computed with a low, smoothing factor and adjusted for the degree of financial deepening. The paper also analyzes issues in calibrating an appropriate size of the CCB and, using a loss function approach, points to a tradeoff between stability of the buffer size and cost efficiency considerations.
Lithuania’s current credit cycle highlights the strong link between housing prices and credit. We explore this relationship in more detail by analyzing the main features of credit, housing price, and output cycles in Baltic and Nordic countries during1995-2017. We find a high degree of synchronization between Lithuania’s credit and housing price cycles. Panel regressions show a strong correlation between a credit upturn and housing price upturn. Moreover, panel VAR suggests that shocks in housing prices, credit, and output within and outside Lithuania strongly impact Lithuania’s credit.
When the euro was introduced in 1998, one objective was to create an alternative global reserve currency that would grant benefits to euro area countries similar to the U.S. dollar’s “exorbitant privliege”: i.e., a boost to the perceived quality of euro denominated assets that would increase demand for such assets and reduce euro area members’ funding costs. This paper uses risk perceptions as revelaed in investor surveys to extract a measure of privilege asscociated with euro membership, and traces its evolution over time. It finds that in the 2000s, euro area assets benefited indeed from a significant perceptions premium. While this premium disappeared in the wake of the euro crisis, it has recently returned, although at a reduced size. The paper also produces time-varying estimates of the weights that investors place on macro-economic fundmentals in their assessments of country risk. It finds that the weights of public debt, the current account and real growth increased considerably during the euro crisis, and that these shifts have remained in place even after the immediate financial stress subsided.
Greetje Everaert, Ms. Natasha X Che, Ms. Nan Geng, Bertrand Gruss, Gregorio Impavido, Miss Yinqiu Lu, Christian Saborowski, Mr. Jerome Vandenbussche, and Mr. Li Zeng
Countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) experienced a credit boom-bust cycle in the last decade. This paper analyzes the roles of demand and supply factors in explaining this credit cycle. Our analysis first focuses on a large sample of bank-level data on credit growth for the entire CESEE region. We complement this analysis by five case studies (Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, and Romania). Our results of the panel data analysis indicate that supply factors, on average and relative to demand factors, gained in importance in explaining credit growth in the post-crisis period. In the case studies, we find a similar result for Lithuania and Montenegro, but the other three case studies point to the fact that country experiences were heterogeneous.
The limited access to bank credit in recent years has increased the pressure on small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), forcing them to scale down investment plans and production. This paper, which explores the macroeconomic implications of this channel, finds evidence that countries with high prevalence of SMEs tended to recover more slowly from the global financial crisis than their peers, implying that the interaction of the economic structure and access to bank financing plays a critical role in episodes of economic recovery. This conclusion is reinforced by a VAR estimation, which demonstrates that a negative credit supply shock applied to SMEs has an adverse effect on economic activity, and this impact is amplified in countries that have a high share of SMEs.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Lithuania’s economy has entered a broadly favorable trajectory of healthy and balanced growth, but income convergence with Western Europe has a long way to go. With inflation at historical lows and well-advanced repair of public finances damaged by the 2008/09 crisis, meeting the entry criteria seems on track. Financial stability has improved further in 2013, with the capital adequacy ratio exceeding 17 percent and steady progress in reducing nonperforming loans. The main challenge is now resuscitating the sluggish private sector credit growth, which could undermine investment and the recovery if it continued for much longer.
This 2014 Cluster Consultation report examines common themes and challenges facing the three Baltic countries—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It identifies common features and common challenges, and discusses policies—both national and joint—that could help to address these challenges. The Baltic economies have performed well during the last two decades. The global financial crisis exposed vulnerabilities that had built up in the Baltics, but the postcrisis recovery revealed inherent strengths as well. This report highlights that national policies are necessary to address all of the challenges, but collaboration is also important in some areas.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the Baltic model, Baltic–Nordic links, and convergence. The Baltic countries form a distinct group within a tightly integrated Nordic–Baltic region. They are following similar approaches to economic policy, broadly in line with those of Northern European and the Anglo-Saxon countries. Their macroeconomic policies are generally robust. The paper examines the possible causes of the creditless recoveries in the Baltic countries. It characterizes their experience in comparison with other episodes of creditless recoveries in both advanced and emerging market economies, and also investigates demand and supply constraints to credit expansion in the Baltics.
This paper uses the Global VAR (GVAR) model proposed by Pesaran et al. (2004) to study cross-country linkages among euro area countries, other advanced European countries (including the Nordics, the UK, etc.), and the Central, Eastern and Southeastern European (CESEE) countries. An innovative feature of the paper is the use of combined trade and financial weights (based on BIS reporting banks’ external position data) to capture the very close trade and financial ties of the CESEE countries with the advanced Europe countries. The results show strong co-movements in output growth and interest rates but weaker linkages bewteen inflation and real credit growth within Europe. While the euro area is the dominant source of economic influences, there are also interesting subregional linkages, e.g. between the Nordic and the Baltic countries, and a small but notable impact of CESEE countries on the rest of the Europe.