Did the Swiss Exchange Rate Shock Shock the Market?
IWH Discussion Papers,
The Swiss National Bank abolished the exchange rate floor versus the Euro in January 2015. Based on a synthetic matching framework, we analyse the impact of this unexpected (and therefore exogenous) shock on the stock market. The results reveal a significant level shift (decline) in asset prices in Switzerland following the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate. While adjustments in stock market returns were most pronounced directly after the news announcement, the variance was elevated for some weeks, indicating signs of increased uncertainty and potentially negative consequences for the real economy.
19.04.2018 • 7/2018
Joint Economic Forecast Spring 2018: Germany’s Economic Experts Raise Forecast Slightly
Berlin, 19 April – Germany’s leading economic experts raised their forecasts for 2018 and 2019 slightly in their Spring Joint Economic Forecast released on Thursday in Berlin. They now expect economic growth of 2.2 percent for this year and 2.0 percent for 2019, versus 2.0 percent and 1.8 percent respectively in their autumn forecast. “The German economy is still booming, but the air is getting thinner as unused capacities are shrinking“, notes Timo Wollmershaeuser, ifo Head of Economic Forecasting. Commenting on the new German government’s economic policy, he adds: “It is precisely when the government’s coffers are full that fiscal policy should reflect the implications of its actions for overall economic stability and the sustainability of public finances. The extension of statutory pension benefits outlined in the coalition agreement runs counter to the idea of sustainability.”
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Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea
H.-G. Jeong and G. Heimpold (eds.): Economic Transition in Unified Germany and Implications for Korea. Policy References 17-13. Sejong: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy,
The reunification of Germany, which marked the end of the Cold War in the 20th century, is regarded as one of the most exemplary cases of social integration in human history. Nearly three decades after the German reunification, the economic and social shocks that occurred at the beginning of the reunification process have largely been resolved. Moreover, the unified Germany has grown into one of the most advanced economies in the world.
The unification process that Germany underwent may not necessarily be the way that the Republic of Korea would choose. However, the economic and social exchanges between East and West Germany prior to unification, and the cooperation in a myriad of policies based on these exchanges, served as the crucial foundation for unification. The case of Germany will surely help us find a better way for the re-unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, this is the first edition of a joint research which provides diverse insights on social and economic issues during the process of unification. It consists of nine chapters whose main topics include policies on macroeconomic stabilization, the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, labor policies and the migration of labor, integration of the social safety nets of the North and South, and securing finances for reunification. To start with, the first part covers macroeconomic stabilization measures, which include policies implemented by the federal government of Germany to overcome macroeconomic shocks directly after the reunification. There was a temporary setback in the economy at the initial phase of reunification as the investment per GDP went down and the level of fiscal debt escalated, reverting to its original trend prior to the reunification. While it appears the momentum for growth was compromised by reunification from the perspective of growth rate of real GDP, this state did not last long and benefits have outpaced the costs since 2000.
In the section which examines the privatization of state-owned enterprises in East Germany, an analysis was conducted on the modernization of industrial infrastructure of East German firms. There was a surge in investment in East German area at the beginning stages but this was focused on a specific group of firms. Most of the firms were privatized through unofficial channels, with a third of these conducted in a management buy-out (MBO) process that was highly effective. Further analysis of a firm called Jenoptik, which was successfully bailed out, is incorporated as to draw implications of its accomplishments.
In the section on migration, we examine how the gap between the unemployment rates in the West and East have narrowed as the population flow shifted from the West to East. Consequently, there was no significant deviation in terms of the Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) per capita in each state of East Germany. However, as the labor market stabilized in East Germany and population flows have weakened, the deviation will become larger. Meanwhile, if we make a prediction about the movement of population between the North and the South, which show a remarkable difference in their economic circumstances, a radical reunification process such as Germany’s case would force 7% of the population of the North to move towards the South. Upon reunification, the estimated unemployment rate in North Korea would remain at least 30% for the time being. In order to reduce the initial unemployment rate, it is crucial to design a program that trains the unemployed and to build a system that predicts changes in labor demand.
It seems nearly impossible to apply the social safety nets of the South to the North, as there is a systemic difference in ideologies. Taking steps toward integration would be the most suitable option in the case of the Koreas. We propose to build a sound groundwork for stabilizing the interest rates and exchange rates, maintain stable fiscal policies, raise momentum for economic growth and make sure people understand the means required to financially support the North in order to reduce the gap between the two.
This book was jointly organized and edited by Dr. Hyung-gon Jeong of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and Dr. Gerhard Heimpold of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH). We believe that this report, which examines numerous social and economic agendas that emerged during the reunification of Germany, will provide truly important reference for both Koreas. It is also our view that it will serve as a stepping-stone to establish policies in regard to South-North exchanges across numerous sectors prior to discussions of reunification. KIEP will continue to work with IWH and contribute its expertise to the establishment of grounds for unification policies.
Do Managerial Risk-taking Incentives Influence Firms' Exchange Rate Exposure?
Journal of Corporate Finance,
There is scant evidence on how risk-taking incentives impact specific firm risks. This has implications for board oversight of managerial risk taking, firms' development of comparative advantage in taking particular risks, and compensation design. We examine this question for exchange rate risk. Using multiple identification strategies, we find that vega increases exchange rate exposure for purely domestic and globally engaged firms. Vega's impact increases with international operations, declines post-SOX, and is robust to firm-level governance. Our results suggest that evidence that exposure reduces firm value can be viewed, in part, as a wealth transfer from shareholders and debt-holders to managers.
Monetary Policy in an Oil-dependent Economy in the Presence of Multiple Shocks
IWH Discussion Papers,
Russian monetary policy has been challenged by large and continuous private capital outflows and a sharp drop in oil prices during 2014, with both ongoings having put a significant depreciation pressure on the ruble and having led the central bank to eventually give up its exchange rate management strategy. Against this background, this paper estimates a small open economy model for Russia, featuring an oil price sector and extended by a specification of the foreign exchange market to correctly account for systematic central bank interventions. We find that shocks to the oil price and private capital flows substantially affect domestic variables such as inflation, output and the exchange rate. Simulations of the model for the estimated actual strategy and five alternative regimes suggest that the vulnerability of the Russian economy to external shocks can substantially be lowered by adopting some form of an inflation targeting strategy. Foreign exchange intervention-based policy strategies to target the nominal exchange rate or the ruble price of oil, on the other hand, prove inferior to the policy in place.
20.06.2016 • 24/2016
Financial market reaction to poll data suggests strong effects of a Brexit on exchange rates and the banking system both in the UK and in the EU
On 23 June 2016, there will be a referendum in the United Kingdom (UK) on the question of whether or not the country should remain in the European Union (EU). We use the polls as a measure of the likelihood of an exit to examine the likely effect of a Brexit on financial markets. “Whenever the probability in the polls of a Brexit moves above 50%, we observe a substantial depreciation of the UK pound with respect to most major currencies (including the euro), and strong decline in bank stock prices, suggesting that markets feel the financial sector (both in the UK and the EU) will be most severely affected by a Brexit”, IWH President Reint E. Gropp says. There is little effect on the euro/US Dollar exchange rate. “A huge concern is that overall market volatility both in the UK and the EU are on record highs since last Thursday, reflecting the higher uncertainty associated with Brexit and how exactly, if it happened, it would come about.” Within the UK, we see some evidence for a flight to safety into UK government bonds, but no effects for German bonds.
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A Market-based Indicator of Currency Risk: Evidence from American Depositary Receipts
IWH Discussion Papers,
We introduce a novel currency risk measure based on American Depositary Receipts(ADRs). Using a multifactor pricing model, we exploit ADR investors’ exposure to potential devaluation losses to derive an indicator of currency risk. Using weekly data for a sample of 831 ADRs located in 23 emerging markets over the 1994-2014 period, we find that a deterioration in the fiscal and current account balance, as well as higher inflation, increases currency risk. Interaction models reveal that these macroeconomic fundamentals drive currency risk, particularly in countries with managed exchange rates, low levels of foreign exchange reserves and a poor sovereign credit rating.
Real Effective Exchange Rate Misalignment in the Euro Area: A Counterfactual Analysis
Review of International Economics,
The European debt crisis has revealed severe imbalances within the Euro area, sparking a debate about the magnitude of those imbalances, in particular concerning real effective exchange rate misalignments. We use synthetic matching to construct a counterfactual economy for each member state in order to identify the degree of these misalignments. We find that crisis countries are best described as a combination of advanced and emerging economies. Comparing the actual real effective exchange rate with those of the counterfactuals gives evidence of misalignments before the outbreak of the crisis: all peripheral countries appear strongly and significantly overvalued.
16.12.2015 • 45/2015
German Economy: Strong domestic demand compensates for weak exports
The upturn of the German economy is expected to gain further momentum as a consequence of strong domestic demand. Real gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.6% in 2016. Consumer prices are expected to rise by 0.9%. Unemployment is expected to rise slightly because it will take time to integrate refugees into the labour market.
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