Occasional papers

Communication device to a broad audience

Our Occasional Paper Series (OPS) disseminates work carried out by, as a rule, ECB staff on subjects that relate to the main tasks and functions of the ECB and the ESCB. Occasional Papers (OPs) are addressed to a wide audience, including other policy-makers, financial analysts, academics, the media and the interested general public. Understanding the papers will normally require some prior knowledge of the topic.

No. 206
26 January 2018
The transition of China to sustainable growth – implications for the global economy and the euro area


JEL Classification

E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth

E22 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Capital, Investment, Capacity

E27 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

F10 : International Economics→Trade→General

F47 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

O11 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economic Development→Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

O53 : Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth→Economywide Country Studies→Asia including Middle East


China’s rise has been the economic success story of the past four decades but economic growth has been slowing and domestic imbalances have widened. This paper analyses the recent evolution of China’s imbalances, the risks they pose to the economic outlook and the potential impact of a transition to sustainable growth in China on the global and euro area economies. The paper documents China’s heavy reliance on investment and credit as drivers of growth, which has created vulnerabilities in a number of sectors and has been accompanied by increased complexity and leverage in the financial system. China retains some buffers, including policy space, to cushion against adverse shocks for the time being, but additional structural reforms would facilitate a shift of China’s economy onto a sustainable and strong growth trajectory in the medium term. China’s size, trade openness, dominant position as consumer of commodities and growing financial integration mean that its transition to sustainable growth is crucial for the global economic outlook. Simulation analysis using global macro models suggests that the spillovers to the euro area would be limited in the case of a modest slowdown in China’s GDP growth, but significant in the case of a sharp downturn. Sensitivity analysis underscores that the spillovers are dependent on the strengths of the various transmission channels, as well as the policy reaction by central banks and governments.

No. 205
9 January 2018
Real and financial cycles in EU countries - Stylised facts and modelling implications


JEL Classification

C32 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models, Multiple Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models, Diffusion Processes

E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles

E44 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy


This paper studies the cyclical properties of real GDP, house prices, credit, and nominal liquid financial assets in 17 EU countries, by applying several methods to extract cycles. The estimates confirm earlier findings of large medium-term cycles in credit volumes and house prices. GDP appears to be subject to fluctuations at both business-cycle and medium-term frequencies, and GDP fluctuations at medium-term frequencies are strongly correlated with cycles in credit and house prices. Cycles in equity prices and long-term interest rates are considerably shorter than those in credit and house prices and have little in common with the latter. Credit and house price cycles are weakly synchronous across countries and their volatilities vary widely – these differences may be related to the structural properties of housing and mortgage markets. Finally, DSGE models can replicate the volatility of cycles in house and equity prices, but not the persistence of house price cycles.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that OPs are published in the name of the author(s). Their views do not necessarily reflect those of the ECB.