Working Papers

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2023

September 29, 2023

Assessing Macrofinancial Risks from Crypto Assets

Description: Failures in the crypto space—including the fall of Terra USD and the FTX debacle—have sparked calls for strengthening countries’ policy frameworks for crypto assets, including by enhanced regulation and supervision. How have these heightened concerns about crypto assets been picked up in systemic risk assessment, and what can be done going forward? In this paper, we introduce a conceptual macrofinancial framework to understand and track systemic risks stemming from crypto assets. Specifically, we propose a country-level Crypto-Risk Assessment Matrix (C-RAM) to summarize the main vulnerabilities, useful indicators, potential triggers and potential policy responses related to the crypto sector. We also discuss how experts and officials can weave in specific vulnerabilities stemming from crypto asset activity into their assessment of systemic risk, and how they can provide policy advice and take action to help contain systemic risks when needed.

September 29, 2023

New Evidence on Spillovers Between Crypto Assets and Financial Markets

Description: We analyze returns and volatility spillovers among a representative set of crypto and financial assets. The magnitude of spillovers increases during periods of heightened turbulence due to negative economic-financial news, crypto market events, or exogenous shocks. There is evidence of increasing spillovers over time, with a peak during the COVID-19 pandemic, implying growing interdependence. Crypto assets predominantly transmit spillovers to financial markets, though reversals occur during periods of financial stress. The increased correlation during risk-off episodes suggests that crypto assets could serve as important conduits for financial market shocks, generating financial stability risks.

September 29, 2023

Inflation Dynamics in Bulgaria: The Role of Policies

Description: This paper analyses inflation dynamics in Bulgaria using different complementary econometrics technics. We find that common factors play a large role in the EU’s inflation variation but impact individual countries differently due to country-specific factors. Greater weight of energy and food in Bulgaria’s CPI basket amplifies the impact of shocks on headline inflation. Furthermore, second-round effects in Bulgaria are likely pronounced, associated with a higher inflation persistence compared to the EU countries. Recent ECB monetary tightening has been insufficient for Bulgaria and its transmission is weak. Fiscal policy supported the recovery from the COVID crisis but added to inflation.

September 29, 2023

Monetary Policy and Labor Market Gender Gaps

Description: We study the effects of monetary policy shocks on employment gender gaps in a panel of 22 countries using quarterly data from 1990 to 2019. Our results show that men’s employment falls more than women’s after contractionary monetary policy shocks, narrowing the employment gender gap over time. Two factors contribute to explaining this heterogeneous effect. First, a larger impact of monetary policy shocks on employment in the industry sector that employs more men. Second, the larger response of the employment gap in the sector (services) that employs the largest share of men and women. In terms of labor market adjustment, the narrowing of the gender employment gap is initially driven by a reduction in the gender unemployment gaps that, over time, results in an adjustment in the gender labor force participation gap—with men’s labor force participation dropping more than women’s. The effects are larger in countries with more flexible labor market regulations, higher gender wage gaps, and lower informal women’s employment compared to men’s. Finally, the effects are also larger for contractionary monetary policy shocks and during expansions.

September 29, 2023

Putting Out the NBFIRE: Lessons from the UK's Liability-Driven Investment (LDI) Crisis

Description: Liability Driven Investment (LDI) funds were at the center of the severe stress that emerged in the UK gilt market in the aftermath of the September 2022 UK "mini-budget". The episode, which came on the heels of the “Dash for Cash” and “Archegos” stress episodes in the previous two years, highlights underlying vulnerabilities in the large and diverse non-bank financial institution (NBFI) sector. This paper seeks a deeper understanding of the factors that amplified the gilt market turmoil which ultimately led the Bank of England (BoE) to undertake temporary gilt purchases on financial stability grounds in late September/early October 2022 to restore orderly market conditions and enable LDI funds to build their capital positions. With the gilt market stress and the BoE’s purchases now fully unwound, this paper identifies the key reasons for the success of the BoE’s intervention. Then, drawing also on findings of the 2022 UK Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), the paper discusses key gaps and policy issues related to the monitoring of financial stability risks in the broader NBFI sector for both individual jurisdictions and international standard-setting bodies.

September 29, 2023

Financial Conditions in Europe: Dynamics, Drivers, and Macroeconomic Implications

Description: We develop a new measure of financial conditions (FCs) that targets the growth of financial liabilities using the partial least square methodology. We then estimate financial condition indexes (FCIs) across European economies, both at the aggregate and sectoral levels. We decompose the changes in FCs into several factors including credit availability and costs, price of risk, policy stance, and funding constraints. Our results show that FCs loosened during the pandemic thanks to policy support but started to tighten significantly since mid-2021. Using the inverse probability weighting method over the sample period from 2000 to 2023, we find that a shift from a neutral to a tight FCI regime such as the ongoing episode for most European countries will on average lower output and inflation by 2.2 percent and 0.7 percentage points respectively and increase unemployment by 0.3 percentage points over a three-year horizon.

September 29, 2023

Identifying News Shocks from Forecasts

Description: We propose a method to identify the anticipated components of macroeconomic shocks in a structural VAR. We include empirical forecasts about each time series in the VAR. This introduces enough linear restrictions to identify each structural shock and to further decompose each one into “news” and “surprise” shocks. We estimate a VAR on US time series using forecast data from the SPF, CBO, Federal Reserve, and asset prices. Unanticipated fiscal stimulus and interest rate shocks we identify have typical effects that match existing evidence. In our news-surprise decomposition, we find that news drives around one quarter of US business cycle volatility. News explains a larger share of the variance due to fiscal shocks than for monetary policy shocks. Finally, we use the news structure of the shocks to estimate counterfactual policy rules, and compare the ability of fiscal and monetary policy to moderate output and inflation. We find that coordinated fiscal and monetary policy are substantially more effective than either tool is individually.

September 29, 2023

Reassessing GDP Growth in Countries with Statistical Shortcomings - A Case Study on Turkmenistan

Description: Reliable national accounts are essential for proper economic analyses and informed policymaking by national authorities as well as other stakeholders. Nevertheless, in many countries, national accounts statistics are subject to serious shortcomings, which are often manifested as overestimated growth rates. In cases where official data are not adequate for surveillance, IMF staff compile alternative estimates by applying various forecasting methods. This study proposes a more holistic, bottom-up approach, which is based on the compilation of GDP by the expenditure method with limited source data. The study also discusses the case of Turkmenistan, where this method was implemented in practice.

September 22, 2023

Reaching (Beyond) the Frontier: Energy Efficiency in Europe

Description: The world is not decarbonizing fast enough, with global warming on track to reach as much as 4°C over the next century absent a global green transition. Policymakers in Europe—and beyond—still have an opportunity both to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and to strengthen economic prospects by increasing energy efficiency, along with changing the energy mix from fossil fuels to renewables. In this paper, we assess energy efficiency (or intensity) in a panel of 38 European countries over the period 1980–2021 by using the stochastic frontier analysis and obtain statistically significant and intuitive results. We have two key findings. First, price signals, including through the introduction of a carbon tax and the removal of fossil fuel subsidies, are critical for energy efficiency, as consumers respond to changes in energy prices. Second, stronger environmental policies and institutions generate unambiguous improvements in energy efficiency by inducing investment in energy efficient equipment and buildings and nudging consumers for energy conservation. These results—robust to alternative specifications and methods—have important policy implications for green growth with higher energy efficiency.

September 22, 2023

Energy Support for Firms in Europe: Best Practice Considerations and Recent Experience

Description: The surge in energy prices due to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine significantly increased costs for European firms, prompting governments to introduce a range of support schemes. Although energy prices had eased by early 2023, uncertainty around prices remains unusually large. Against this backdrop, this paper examines the case for government intervention and identifies best practices with a view to improving the design of existing energy support schemes, facilitating exit from those schemes, and preparing policymakers for a downside scenario in which energy prices flare up again. The paper argues that support should be limited in size, strictly temporary in nature, narrowly targeted, and accompanied by strong safeguards and conditionality, while preserving price signals as much as possible to encourage energy conservation. Finally, the paper reviews recent support schemes introduced by European governments in light of the identified best practice considerations.

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