EFN Report Winter 2017/18: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2018 and 2019
European Forecasting Network Reports,
With advanced economies likely to face over-utilization of economic capacities in 2018 for the first time since the Great Recession, companies will further expand their investment activities. Price and wage dynamics will pick up globally, triggered by the recent increase in energy prices. A major risk for the world economy pertains to financial markets: measures for risk tolareance and valuations for many types of assets have approached levels last reached ten years ago, on the eve of the financial crisis. A sudden readjustment of asset prices and risk premia could worsen financial conditions globally and seriously affect the global economy. The cyclical upswing of the euro area economy continues. The recovery, under way since summer 2013, transformed into an upswing in autumn 2016 when demand from outside the euro area increased quite abruptly; higher exports and improved expectations have contrinuted to induce firms to invest more into equipment. Wage dynamics in the euro area appear to increase, but only slowly. An annual growth rate for hourly wage costs of about 2% is still not enough to put upward pressure on prices, but this will change eventually as the cyclical upswing is likely to continue. Inflation will, according to our forecast, reach the ECB’s target of below but close to 2% in the second half of 2019. Conditions for further healthy growth in the euro area are in place, but employment dynamics might markedly lose momentum in some member countries in the second half of 2018, as the potential labour force is becoming more and more exhausted. Overall, we forecast euro area GDP to grow by 2.2% in 2018 and by 1.5% in 2019.
Pricing Sin Stocks: Ethical Preference vs. Risk Aversion
IWH Discussion Papers,
We develop a model that reproduces the return and volatility spread between sin and non-sin stocks, where investors trade off dividends with the ethical assessment of companies. We relax the assumption of boycott behaviour and investigate the role played by the dividend share of sin stocks on their return and volatility spread relative to non-sin stocks. We empirically show that the dividend share predicts a positive return and volatility spread. This pattern is reproduced by our model when dividends and ethicalness are complementary goods and investors are sufficiently risk averse.
EFN Report Spring 2017: Economic Outlook for the Euro Area in 2017 and 2018
European Forecasting Network Reports,
Global economic activity appears to be expanding rapidly during spring 2017. Confidence among managers is either strong or has improved in all major regions, and world trade and industrial production have, after two years of weakness, picked up markedly during last winter. For 2 ½ years, the euro area economy has now been constantly expanding at an annual rate of about 1.6%, slightly above potential. Employment has also been expanding steadily. Production and employment have been recently rising almost everywhere, including countries such as France and Italy where unemployment rates still do not appear to be on a downward trend. Official investment data for 2015 and 2016 appear to be distorted: big multinational firms relocated parts of their assets (intellectual property products in particular) or their registered business offices from countries outside the euro area to Ireland. As a consequence, reported gross fixed capital formation in Ireland expanded by 33% in 2015 and by 45% in 2016. Without this effect, investment growth in the euro area is about one percentage point lower in 2015 and 2016. Headline inflation hit 2% in February, but this was only the effect of higher world oil prices. The core rate is stubbornly at slightly below 1%, and wages rise annually by scarcely 1.5%. The revival of the economy will have to continue for considerably more time until inflation will come close to the ECB target zone. As monetary conditions continue to support growth, financial policies will be slightly expansive, and a certain external stimulus should come from the apparent recovery of world trade. Overall, we forecast euro area GDP to expand by 1.7% in both 2017 and 2018. However, policy uncertainty is substantial and could have a negative effect. In particular, elections in member states might give power to movements that aim at disintegrating Europe. Such a turn could rapidly undermine confidence, in particular in the financial strength of highly indebted member states.
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Did TARP Distort Competition Among Sound Unsupported Banks?
This study investigates if the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) distorted price competition in U.S. banking. Political indicators reveal bailout expectations after 2009, manifested as beliefs about the predicted probability of receiving equity support relative to failing during the TARP disbursement period. In addition, the TARP affected the competitive conduct of unsupported banks after the program stopped in the fourth quarter of 2009. Loan rates were higher, and the risk premium required by depositors was lower for banks with higher bailout expectations. The interest margins of unsupported banks increased in the immediate aftermath of the TARP disbursement but not after 2010. No effects emerged for loan or deposit growth, which suggests that protected banks did not increase their market shares at the expense of less protected banks.
Monetary Policy under the Microscope: Intra-bank Transmission of Asset Purchase Programs of the ECB
IWH Discussion Papers,
With a unique loan portfolio maintained by a top-20 universal bank in Germany, this study tests whether unconventional monetary policy by the European Central Bank (ECB) reduced corporate borrowing costs. We decompose corporate lending rates into refinancing costs, as determined by money markets, and markups that the bank is able to charge its customers in regional markets. This decomposition reveals how banks transmit monetary policy within their organizations. To identify policy effects on loan rate components, we exploit the co-existence of eurozone-wide security purchase programs and regional fiscal policies at the district level. ECB purchase programs reduced refinancing costs significantly, even in an economy not specifically targeted for sovereign debt stress relief, but not loan rates themselves. However, asset purchases mitigated those loan price hikes due to additional credit demand stimulated by regional tax policy and enabled the bank to realize larger economic margins.
Efficiency in the UK Commercial Property Market: A Long-run Perspective
IWH Discussion Papers,
Informationally efficient prices are a necessary requirement for optimal resource allocation in the real estate market. Prices are informationally efficient if they reflect buildings’ benefit to marginal buyers, thereby taking account of all available information on future market development. Prices that do not reflect available information may lead to over- or undersupply if developers react to these inefficient prices. In this study, we examine the efficiency of the UK commercial property market and the interaction between prices, construction costs, and new supply. We collated a unique data set covering the years 1920 onwards, which we employ in our study. First, we assess if real estate prices were in accordance with present values, thereby testing for informational efficiency. By comparing prices and estimated present values, we can measure informational inefficiency. Second, we assess if developers reacted correctly to price signals. Development (or the lack thereof) should be triggered by deviations between present values and cost; if prices do not reflect present values, then they should have no impact on development decisions.
Crises, rescues, and policy transmission through international banks
Bundesbank Discussion Paper 15/2011,
The World Financial Crisis has shaken the fundamentals of international banking
and triggered a downward spiral of asset prices. To prevent a further meltdown of
markets, governments have intervened massively through rescues measures aimed at recapitalizing banks and through liquidity support. We use a detailed, banklevel dataset for German banks to analyze how the lending and borrowing of their foreign affiliates has responded to domestic (German) and to US crisis support schemes. We analyze how these policy interventions have spilled over into
foreign markets. We identify loan supply shocks by exploiting that not all banks
have received policy support and that the timing of receiving support measures
has differed across banks. We find that banks covered by rescue measures of the
German government have increased their foreign activities after these policy
interventions, but they have not expanded relative to banks not receiving support.
Banks claiming liquidity support under the Term Auction Facility (TAF) program
have withdrawn from foreign markets outside the US, but they have expanded
relative to affiliates of other German banks.