On the Risk of a Sovereign Debt Crisis in Italy
The intention for the Italian government to stimulate business activity via large increases in government spending is not in line with the stabilisation of the public debt ratio. Instead, if such policy were implemented, the risk of a sovereign debt crisis would be high. In this article, we analyse the capacity of the Italian economy to shoulder sovereign debt under different scenarios. We conclude that focusing on growth enhancing structural reforms, would allow for moderate increases in public expenditure.
The Impact of Preferences on Early Warning Systems - The Case of the European Commission's Scoreboard
European Journal of Political Economy,
The European Commission’s Scoreboard of Macroeconomic Imbalances is a rare case of a publicly released early warning system. It allows the preferences of the politicians involved to be analysed with regard to the two potential errors of an early warning system – missing a crisis and issuing a false alarm. These preferences might differ with the institutional setting. Such an analysis is done for the first time in this article for early warning systems in general by using a standard signals approach, including a preference-based optimisation approach, to set thresholds. It is shown that, in general, the thresholds of the Commission’s Scoreboard are set low (resulting in more alarm signals), as compared to a neutral stand. Based on political economy considerations the result could have been expected.
Predicting Financial Crises: The (Statistical) Significance of the Signals Approach
Journal of International Money and Finance,
The signals approach as an early-warning system has been fairly successful in detecting crises, but it has so far failed to gain popularity in the scientific community because it cannot distinguish between randomly achieved in-sample fit and true predictive power. To overcome this obstacle, we test the null hypothesis of no correlation between indicators and crisis probability in three applications of the signals approach to different crisis types. To that end, we propose bootstraps specifically tailored to the characteristics of the respective datasets. We find (1) that previous applications of the signals approach yield economically meaningful results; (2) that composite indicators aggregating information contained in individual indicators add value to the signals approach; and (3) that indicators which are found to be significant in-sample usually perform similarly well out-of-sample.
Macroeconomic Imbalances as Indicators for Debt Crises in Europe
Journal of Common Market Studies,
European authorities and scholars published proposals on which indicators of macroeconomic imbalances might be used to uncover risks for the sustainability of public debt in the European Union. We test the ability of four proposed sets of indicators to send early-warnings of debt crises using a signals approach for the study of indicators and the construction of composite indicators. We find that a broad composite indicator has the highest predictive power. This fact still holds true if equal weights are used for the construction of the composite indicator in order to reflect the uncertainty about the origin of future crises.
New IMF Lending Facilities and Financial Stability in Emerging Markets
Economic Analysis and Policy,
In the light of the current global financial and economic crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has undertaken some major reforms of its lending facilities. The new Flexible Credit Line and the High Access Precautionary Arrangements differ from what has been in place so far, by allowing for ex ante conditionality. This paper summarizes preconditions for effective last resort lending and evaluates the newly introduced measures, concluding that the Flexible Credit Line comes very close to what has been called an International Lender of Last Resort. The main obstacles are the low demand and slow progress in complementary reforms.
Central and Eastern European Countries in the Global Financial Crisis: A Typical Twin Crisis?
This paper shows that during the Great Recession, banking and currency crises occurred simultaneously in Central and Eastern Europe. Events, however, differed widely from what happened during the Asian crisis that usually serves as the model case for the concept of twin crises. We look at three elements that help explaining the nature of events in Central and Eastern Europe: the problem of currency mismatches, the relation between currency and banking crises, and the importance of multinational banks for financial stability. It is shown that theoretical considerations concerning internal capital markets of multinational banks help understand what happened on capital markets and in the financial sector of the region. We discuss opposing effects of multinational banking on financial stability and find that institutional differences are the key to understand differing effects of the global financial crisis. In particular, we argue that it matters if international activities are organized by subsidiaries or by cross-border financial services, how large the share of foreign currency-denominated credit is and whether the exchange rate is fixed or flexible. Based on these three criteria we give an explanation why the pattern of the crisis in the Baltic States differed markedly from that in Poland and the Czech Republic, the two largest countries of the region.
A Cost Efficient International Lender of Last Resort
International Research Journal of Finance and Economics,
The current reform of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) lending instruments has transformed the Fund towards an international lender of last resort (ILOLR). Current research discusses various general frameworks for installing an ILOLR. However, it remains unclear how the ILOLR should actually operate. This paper discusses six different options for the construction of an ILOLR that supports central banks during currency crises. The paper concludes that the most cost efficient version of the ILOLR would be direct intervention by the IMF using IMF resources, with the option of using additional reserves from central banks. The paper considers measures of cost efficiency, such as cost of borrowing, intervention, and sterilization and moral hazard problems.
Potential Effects of Basel II on the Transmission from Currency Crises to Banking Crises – The Case of South Korea
Journal of Money,
In this paper we evaluate potential effects of the Basel II accord on preventing the transmission from currency crises to banking crises by analyzing the South Korean crisis of 1997. We show that regulatory capital reserves under Basel II would have been lower than those under Basel I, and that therefore Basel II would have had adverse effects on the development of the crisis. Furthermore we investigate whether the behavior of rating agencies has changed since the East Asian crisis. We find no evidence that rating agencies have started to take micro-mismatches into account. Thus, we have reservations concerning the effectiveness of Basel II.
Forecasting Currency Crises: Which Methods signaled the South African Crisis of June 2006?
South African Journal of Economics,
In this paper we test the ability of three of the most popular methods to forecast South African currency crises with a special emphasis on their out-of-sample performance. We choose the latest crisis of June 2006 to conduct an out-of-sample experiment. The results show that the signals approach was not able to forecast the out-of-sample crisis correctly; the probit approach was able
to predict the crisis but only with models, that were based on raw data. The Markov-regime- switching approach predicts the out-of-sample crisis well. However, the results are not straightforward. In-sample, the probit models performed remarkably well and were also able to detect, at least to some extent, out-of-sample currency crises before their occurrence. The recommendation is to not restrict the forecasting to only one approach.