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Brian Graf


The Consumer Price Index Manual: Concepts and Methods contains comprehensive information and explanations on compiling a consumer price index (CPI). The Manual provides an overview of the methods and practices national statistical offices (NSOs) should consider when making decisions on how to deal with the various problems in the compilation of a CPI. The chapters cover many topics. They elaborate on the different practices currently in use, propose alternatives whenever possible, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. The primary purpose of the Manual is to assist countries in producing CPIs that reflect internationally recommended methods and practices.

Ms. Emilia M Jurzyk, Medha Madhu Nair, Nathalie Pouokam, Tahsin Saadi Sedik, and Mrs. Irina Yakadina
The COVID-19 pandemic risks exacerbating inequality in Asia. High frequency labor surveys show that the pandemic is having particularly adverse effects on younger workers, women and people that are more vulnerable. Pandemics have been shown to increase inequalities. As a result, income inequality, which was already high and rising in Asia before the pandemic, is likely to rise further over the medium term, unless policies succeed in breaking this historical pattern. Many Asian governments have implemented significant fiscal policy measures to mitigate the pandemic’s effect on the most vulnerable, with the impact depending on the initial coverage of safety nets, fiscal space, and degree of informality and digitalization. The paper includes model-based analysis which shows that policies targeted to where needs are greatest are effective in mitigating adverse distributional consequences and underpinning overall economic activity and virus containment.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper discusses interactions between external risks and the New Zealand economy. The current set of external risks has the potential to be extremely damaging to New Zealand, but two factors would likely mitigate the economic impact. First, the flexible exchange rate regime is a reliable shock absorber and automatic stabilizer from the perspective of GDP, although it leads to a rebalancing between the domestic and external sectors in the economy. Second, net migration flows can reduce the negative impact of lower external demand under some circumstances, such as a growth slowdown in Australia. Fiscal policy could also offset some of the short-term costs of adjustment. Fiscal policy can provide stimulus at relatively small and manageable cost to the already-low government debt to GDP ratio. Moreover, at the current juncture, fiscal policy might need to provide the bulk of policy support against negative shocks, as monetary policy might be ineffective if has become constrained by an effective lower bound on the monetary policy interest rate.
Mr. Francis Vitek
This paper documents the theoretical structure and empirical properties of the latest version of the Global Macrofinancial Model (GFM). This dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model of the world economy, disaggregated into forty national economies, was developed to support multilaterally consistent macrofinancial policy, risk and spillover analysis. It features a range of nominal and real rigidities, extensive macrofinancial linkages, and diverse spillover transmission channels. These macrofinancial linkages encompass bank and capital market based financial intermediation, with financial accelerator mechanisms linked to the values of the housing and physical capital stocks. A variety of monetary policy analysis, fiscal policy analysis, macroprudential policy analysis, spillover analysis, and forecasting applications of the GFM are demonstrated. These include quantifying the monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policy transmission mechanisms, accounting for business cycle fluctuations, and generating relatively accurate forecasts of inflation and output growth.
Mr. JaeBin Ahn, Rui Mano, and Jing Zhou
This paper contrasts real exchange rate (RER) measures based on different deflators (CPI, GDP deflator, and ULC) and discusses potential implications for the link—or lack thereof—between RER and external balance. We begin by documenting patterns in the evolution of different measures of RERs, and confirm that the choice of deflator plays a significant role in RER movements. A subsequent empirical investigation based on 35 developed and emerging market economies over 1995 to 2014 yields comprehensive and robust evidence that only the RER deflated by ULC exhibits contemporaneous patterns consistent with the expenditure-switching mechanism. We rationalize the empirical findings by introducing a simple model featuring nominal rigidity and trade in intermediate goods as the one in Obstfeld (2001) and Devereux and Engel (2007), which is shown to generate qualitatively identical patterns to empirical findings.
Sophia Chen and Mr. Romain Ranciere
We study the forecasting power of financial variables for macroeconomic variables for 62 countries between 1980 and 2013. We find that financial variables such as credit growth, stock prices and house prices have considerable predictive power for macroeconomic variables at one to four quarters horizons. A forecasting model with financial variables outperforms the World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecasts in up to 85 percent of our sample countries at the four quarters horizon. We also find that cross-country panel models produce more accurate out-of-sample forecasts than individual country models.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper assesses the importance of financial market developments for the business cycle in Brazil. The results underscore the importance of macro-financial linkages and highlight risks to the recovery going forward. Although some of the rise in credit growth in Brazil can be attributed to financial deepening and rising income levels, it may have implications for economic activity going forward. Cross-country evidence suggests that periods of easy financial conditions can amplify economic fluctuations and possibly lead to adverse economic outcomes. To explore the nexus between the financial cycle and business cycle, cycles are estimated using a variety of commonly-used statistical methods and with a small, semi-structural model of the Brazilian economy. An advantage of using the model-based approach is that financial and business cycles can be jointly estimated, allowing information from all key economic relationships to be used in a consistent way. Financial sector developments are found to be an important source of macroeconomic fluctuations. Financial accelerator models highlight the role of credit and asset prices in shaping the business cycle.