European Central Bank - eurosystem
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Andreas Westphal

6 October 2021
This paper analyses the incidence and severity of sudden stops in euro area countries before and after the introduction of the ECB’s asset purchase programmes. We define sudden stops as abrupt declines in private net financial inflows, i.e. total flows adjusted for EU and IMF loans and changes in TARGET2 balances. Distinguishing between mild and severe sudden stops, we document that sudden stops were overall more frequent and more severe in euro area countries compared to other OECD economies over the period 1999–2020. On the basis of a multinomial logit model, we find that the susceptibility of euro area countries to severe sudden stops mainly reflects domestic fundamentals whereas there is no clear evidence of an adverse direct effect of being part of the euro area. On the contrary, TARGET2 appears to act as an “automatic stabiliser”, counteracting sudden stops in private financial i nflows. Moreover, our econometric analysis suggests that the asset purchase programmes implemented by the ECB since 2015 have overall almost halved the risk of severe sudden stops in euro area countries. We find tentative evidence that this effect operates through confidence channels.
JEL Code
F21 : International Economics→International Factor Movements and International Business→International Investment, Long-Term Capital Movements
F31 : International Economics→International Finance→Foreign Exchange
F32 : International Economics→International Finance→Current Account Adjustment, Short-Term Capital Movements
F41 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Open Economy Macroeconomics
F45 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
11 October 2017
We show that the speed and type of corporate deleveraging depends on the interaction between corporate and financial sector health. Based on granular bank-firm data pertaining to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) from five stressed and two non-stressed euro area economies, we show that “zombie” firms generally continued to lever up during the 2010–2014 period. Whereas relationships with stressed banks reduce SME leverage on average, we also show that zombie firms that are tied to weak banks in euro area periphery countries increase their indebtedness even further. Sustainable economic recovery therefore requires both: deleveraging of banks and firms.
JEL Code
E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
12 September 2017
This paper investigates the link between corporate debt and investment for a group of fi ve peripheral euro area countries. Using firm-level data from 2005-2014, we postulate a non-linear corporate leverage-investment relationship and derive thresholds beyond which leverage has a negative and signi ficant impact on investment. The investment sensitivity of debt increased after 2008 when financial distress intensifi ed and fi rms had a lower capacity to finance investment from internal sources of funds. Our results also suggest that even moderate levels of debt can exert a negative influence on investment for smaller firms or when pro fitability is low.
JEL Code
E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity
F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems
G31 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Capital Budgeting, Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies, Capacity
G32 : Financial Economics→Corporate Finance and Governance→Financing Policy, Financial Risk and Risk Management, Capital and Ownership Structure, Value of Firms, Goodwill
10 April 2017
The euro area sovereign debt crisis has highlighted the importance of reducing public debt levels and building up sufficient fiscal buffers during normal and good times. It has also reaffirmed the need for a thorough debt sustainability analysis (DSA) to act as a warning system for national policies. This paper introduces a comprehensive DSA framework for euro area sovereigns that could be used for analysis of fiscal risks and vulnerabilities. Specifically, this framework consists of three main building blocks: (i) a deterministic DSA, which embeds debt simulations under a benchmark and various narrative shock scenarios; (ii) a stochastic DSA, providing for a probabilistic approach to debt sustainability; and (iii) other relevant indicators capturing liquidity and solvency risks. The information embedded in the three main DSA blocks can be summarised in a heat map, which can provide guidance on the overall assessment of risks to debt sustainability. This method reflects the need to have a broad-based assessment, cross-checking information and perspectives from various sources with a view to deriving a robust debt sustainability assessment.
JEL Code
E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy
H62 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Deficit, Surplus
H63 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Debt, Debt Management, Sovereign Debt
H68 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt