Africa > South Africa

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Carolina Correa-Caro, Leandro Medina, Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, and Mr. Bennett W Sutton
Using financial statement data from the Thomson Reuter’s Worldscope database for 22,333 non-financial firms in 52 advanced and emerging economies, this paper examines how fiscal stimulus (i.e., changes in structural deficit) interacted with sectoral business cycle sensitivity affected corporate profitability during the recovery period of the global financial crisis (GFC). Using cross-sectional analyses, our findings indicate that corporate profitability improved significantly after the GFC fiscal stimulus, especially in manufacturing, utilities and retail sectors. Firm size and leverage are also found to be significant in explaining changes in corporate profitability.
Mr. Giovanni Melina and Mr. Rafael A Portillo
We compare business cycle fluctuations in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Our main results are as follows: (i) African economies stand out by their macroeconomic volatility, which is is reflected in the volatility of output and other macro variables; (ii) inflation and output tend to be negatively correlated; (iii) unlike advanced economies and emerging markets (EMs), trade balances and current accounts are acyclical in SSA; (iv) the volatility of consumption and investment relative to GDP is larger than in other countries; (v) the cyclicality of consumption and investment is smaller than in advanced economies and EMs; (vi) there is little comovement between consumption and investment; (vii) consumption and investment are strongly positively correlated with imports.
International Monetary Fund
The Fund has made good progress over the past two years in integrating macrofinancial analysis into Article IV surveillance for a wide range of members. Building on past work to enhance financial sector analysis, Fund staff has sought to develop a consistent and forward-looking view on how the financial sector affects each member’s economic outlook with the aim of strengthening staff’s capacity to provide advice on macro-critical questions. The focus has been on developing a fuller understanding of macrofinancial linkages, and applying this analysis to inform policy advice. Staff has sought to articulate the role of the financial sector in the macroeconomic baseline, and to integrate the financial sector into the risk assessment, taking into account both the impact of macro shocks on the financial sector as well as the effect of financial shocks on macroeconomic stability. Strengthening the analytical foundations of this work has helped staff provide advice in all policy areas, including financial sector policies. Staff has tailored macrofinancial analysis to the circumstances of a diverse set of economies. Area departments have taken the lead in selecting 66 economies for enhanced macrofinancial coverage and in identifying topics, drawing on targeted support from functional departments. The choice of coverage has included legacies from the global financial crisis—such as deleveraging and stretched balance sheets in advanced economies and some emerging markets—and more recent challenges such as commodity price shocks, especially in low income countries, and the risks of housing booms. The financial sector’s contribution to growth and inclusion has become an important question in countries across all income groups. Staff sees benefits in mainstreaming this approach across the membership, while continuing to address analytical gaps and adapting to new challenges. The work of the past two years has underscored the criticality of macrofinancial analysis for a diverse range of members, and laid the basis for progressively mainstreaming macrofinancial surveillance across the membership. Building on this progress, staff sees scope for the Fund to deepen its understanding of the macroeconomic effects of financial shocks, to better adapt microprudential and macroprudential policy advice with an assessment of macro-critical risks including systemic risk, and to deepen the analysis of outward spillovers. Staff will also need to continue to adapt the focus of analysis and tools, and seek relevant data, as economic challenges evolve.
Mr. Tigran Poghosyan
We employ a duration model to study determinants of public debt cycles in 57 advanced and emerging economies over the 1960–2014 period, with a particular focus on the impact of financial cycles. The results suggest that the association between financial and debt cycles is asymmetric. Debt expansions preceded by overheating in credit and financial markets tend to last longer than other expansions, but there is no significant association between financial cycles and debt contractions. There is strong evidence of duration dependence in both phases of the cycle, with the likelihood of expansions and contractions to end increasing with the length of their respective spells. Higher initial level of debt increases the spell of contractions (persistence of adjustment effort hypothesis) and reduces the spell of expansions (debt sustainability hypothesis). This result is robust to the inclusion of global factors, openness, political stability, and debt crisis indicators as additional controls.
Olivier Basdevant, Mr. Andrew W Jonelis, Miss Borislava Mircheva, and Mr. Slavi T Slavov
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the economies of South Africa and its neighbors (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) are tightly integrated with each other. There are important institutional linkages. Across the region there are also large flows of goods and capital, significant financial sector interconnections, as well as sizeable labor movements and associated remittance flows. These interconnections suggest that South Africa’s GDP growth rate should affect positively its neighbors’, a point we illustrate formally with the help of numerical simulations of the IMF’s GIMF model. However, our review and update of the available econometric evidence suggest that there is no strong evidence of real spillovers in the region after 1994, once global shocks are controlled for. More generally, we find no evidence of real spillovers from South Africa to the rest of the continent post-1994. We investigate the possible reasons for this lack of spillovers. Most importantly, the economies of South Africa and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa might have de-coupled in the mid-1990s. That is when international sanctions on South Africa ended and the country re-integrated with the global economy, while growth in the rest of the continent accelerated due to a combination of domestic and external factors.
Rudrani Bhattacharya, Ila Patnaik, and Madhavi Pundit
This paper analyses the extent to which financial integration impacts the manner in which terms of trade affect business cycles in emerging economies. Using a s mall open economy model, we show that as capital account openness increases in an economy that faces trade shocks, business cycle volatility reduces. For an economy with limited financial openness, and a relatively open trade account, a model with exogenous terms of trade shocks is able to replicate the features of the business cycle.
Mr. Manik L. Shrestha and Mr. Marco Marini
This paper presents a statistical analysis of revisions in quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) of the Group of Twenty countries (G-20) since 2000. The main objective is to assess whether the reliability of early estimates of quarterly GDP has been weakened from the turmoil of the 2008 financial crisis. The results indicate that larger and more downward revisions were observed during the years 2008 and 2009 than in previous years.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The Research Summaries in the December 2012 IMF Research Bulletin look at "Market Failures and Macroprudential Policy" (Giovanni Favara and Lev Ratnovski) and "Measurement Matters for House Price Indices" (Mick Silver). The Q&A column looks at "Seven Questions on Turning Points of the Global Business Cycle." The Bulletin also includes a listing of recent IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes, as well as a list of the top-viewed articles for the first three issues of IMF Economic Review in 2012. Information is also included on a call for papers for the conference "Asia: Challenges of Stability and Growth" to be held in Seoul in 2013.
Mr. Nombulelo Gumata, Mr. Eliphas Ndou, and Nir Klein
The main purpose of this paper is to construct a financial conditions index (FCI) for South Africa. The analysis extracts the index by applying two alternative approaches (principal component analysis and Kalman filter), which identify an unobservable common factor from a group of external and domestic financial indicators. The alternative estimated FCIs, which share a similar trajectory over time, seem to have a powerful predictive information for the near-term GDP growth (up to four quarters), and they outperform the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) leading indicator as well as individual financial variables. Their recent dynamics suggest that following a strong recovery in late-2009 and 2010, reflecting in part domestic factors such as systematic reductions in the policy rate, the rebound in real economic activity, and a benign inflationary environment, the financial conditions have deteriorated in recent months, though not as sharply as in end-2008. Given their relatively high predictive power regarding GDP growth, a further deterioration may imply that economic activity is likely to slow in the period ahead.