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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The strong post-pandemic economic recovery was leading to an overheating economy and demand-side inflationary pressures. The war in Ukraine, including its impact on commodity prices, has, however, negatively impacted economic activity and further intensified inflationary pressures. With higher inflation for longer, policies should aim at preserving stability over the near-term while supporting the economy adapt to a higher interest rate environment over the medium-term. Although the current sociopolitical situation is less conducive to structural reforms, these remain key to ensuring sustained productivity growth that will support high wage growth and faster income convergence with Western Europe.
Torsten Wezel
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.
Iacovos Ioannou
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.