Occasional papers published in 2009

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. 107
29 December 2009
The collateral frameworks of the Eurosystem, the Federal Reserve System and the Bank of England and the financial market turmoil
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

G01 : Financial Economics→General→Financial Crises

G20 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→General

Abstract

In response to the turmoil in global financial markets which began in the second half of 2007, central banks have changed the way in which they implement monetary policy. This has drawn particular attention to the type of collateral used for backing central banks

No. 105
31 August 2009
Flow-of-funds analysis at the ECB: framework and applications
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

E47 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Money and Interest Rates→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications

E51 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Money Supply, Credit, Money Multipliers

Abstract

The financial crisis has enhanced the need for close monitoring of financial flows in the economy of the euro area and at the global level focusing, in particular, on the development of financial imbalances and financial intermediation. In this context flow-of-funds analysis appears particularly useful, as flow-of-funds data provide the most comprehensive and consistent set of macro-financial information for all sectors in the economy. This occasional paper presents different uses of flow-of-funds statistics for economic and monetary analysis in the euro area. Flow-of-funds data for the euro area have developed progressively over the past decade. The first data were published in 2001, and fully-fledged quarterly integrated economic and financial accounts by institutional sector have been published since 2007. The paper illustrates how flow-of-funds data enable portfolio shifts between money and other financial assets to be assessed and trends in bank intermediation to be monitored, in particular. Based on data (and first published estimates) on financial wealth over the period 1980-2007, the paper analyses developments in the balance sheet of households and non-financial corporations in euro area countries over the last few decades and looks at financial soundness indicators using flow-of-funds data, namely debt and debt service ratios, and measures of financial wealth. Interactions with housing investment and saving are also analysed. In addition, the paper shows how flow-of-funds data can be used for assessing financial stability. Finally, the paper presents the framework for and use of flow-of-funds projections produced in the context of the Eurosystem staff macroeconomic projection exercises, and reports the outcome of a sensitivity analysis that considers the impact of interest rate changes on the interest payments and receipts of households and non-financial corporations.

No. 106
19 August 2009
Monetary policy strategy in a global environment
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

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

E58 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Central Banks and Their Policies

F33 : International Economics→International Finance→International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions

F42 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance→International Policy Coordination and Transmission

Abstract

This paper discusses the structural implications of real and financial globalisation, with the aim of drawing lessons for the conduct of monetary policy and, in particular, for the assessment of risks to price stability. The first conclusion of the paper is that globalisation may have played only a limited role in reducing inflation and output volatility in developed economies. Central banks should remain focused on their mandate to preserve price stability. However, the globalisation of financial markets over the last 25 years has had major implications for the conduct of monetary policy. Four elements characterise the new financial landscape: the decline in the "home bias"; the increase in the size of international financial transactions relative to transactions in goods and services; the increase in the number of countries adopting inflation targeting and currency peg monetary regimes; and the transformation of financial market microstructure. The paper argues that in this new environment monetary policy should systematically incorporate financial analysis into its assessment of the risks to price stability. Monetary policy should "lean against the wind" of asset price bubbles that could burst at a high cost and hinder the maintenance of macroeconomic and financial stability. Further, in view of the interlinkages among financial markets worldwide, macro-financial surveillance at the international level needs to be strengthened and monetary policymakers need to cooperate and exchange information on a wider scale and at a deeper level with financial supervisors. Finally, the paper reviews the rationale for a central bank to act (in concert with other central banks) as the ultimate provider of liquidity to financial markets in situations of extreme instability and market malfunctioning.

No. 104
25 June 2009
Fiscal policy challenges in oil-exporting countries: a review of key issues
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

E62 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Fiscal Policy

E63 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook→Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, Stabilization, Treasury Policy

H30 : Public Economics→Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents→General

H60 : Public Economics→National Budget, Deficit, and Debt→General

Q32 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation→Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

Q38 : Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, Environmental and Ecological Economics→Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation→Government Policy

Abstract

Fiscal policy choices have a particularly significant impact on economic performance in oil-exporting countries, owing to the importance of the oil sector in the economy and the fact that in most countries oil revenues accrue to the government. At the same time, fiscal policy in oil-centred economies is facing specific challenges, both in the long run, as regards intergenerational equity and fiscal sustainability, and in the short run, as regards macroeconomic stabilisation and fiscal planning. Institutional responses to the specific fiscal challenges in oil-exporting countries involve conservative oil price assumptions in the budget, the establishment of oil stabilisation and savings funds and fiscal rules. Fiscal policy in most oil-exporting countries has been expansionary over the past years in the wake of high oil prices. Fiscal expansion has added to inflationary pressure, and monetary policy has been constrained in tackling inflation as a result of prevailing exchange rate regimes. While, in this context, fiscal policy is the major tool for macroeconomic stabilisation, it has faced competing objectives and considerations. Cyclical considerations would have warranted fiscal restraint, but, in times of high oil prices, pressures to increase public spending have been mounting. Such pressures stem from primarily distribution-related considerations, development-related spending needs (e.g. in the areas of physical and social infrastructure) and international considerations in the context of, for example, global imbalances. The sharp fall in oil prices since mid-2008 has brought to the fore a different question - whether oil exporters can sustain spending levels reached in previous years.

No. 103
27 April 2009
Transnational governance in global finance: the principles for stable capital flows and fair debt restructuring in emerging markets
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

F34 : International Economics→International Finance→International Lending and Debt Problems

F51 : International Economics→International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy→International Conflicts, Negotiations, Sanctions

F53 : International Economics→International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy→International Agreements and Observance, International Organizations

G15 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→International Financial Markets

G18 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets→Government Policy and Regulation

Abstract

This paper analyses and assesses the track record and effectiveness of the so-called "Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring in Emerging Markets", which have emerged as an important instrument for crisis prevention and crisis resolution in the international financial system. The paper argues that, notwithstanding their low profile, the Principles which were jointly agreed between sovereign debtors and their private creditors in 2004 have proved to be an effective instrument in spite of their voluntary and nonbinding nature. Indeed, an increasing number of sovereign debtors and private creditors have adopted the Principles' recommendations on transparency and the timely flow of information, close dialogue, "good faith" actions and fair treatment. Two elements have been critical to the success of the Principles: (i) their specific design feature as a soft mode of governance agreed by a transnational public-private partnership and (ii) the "hardening" after their launch in terms of precision and delegation, thus moving them somewhat along the continuum of soft law and hard law towards the latter. The paper also makes the case that the Principles and their design features can provide some lessons for the current international policy debate on codes of conduct in global financial regulation.

No. 102
20 April 2009
Domestic financial development in emerging economies: evidence and implications
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

F3 : International Economics→International Finance

F4 : International Economics→Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance

G1 : Financial Economics→General Financial Markets

G2 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services

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

C82 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology, Computer Programs→Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data, Data Access

Abstract

We construct, on the basis of an original methodology and database, composite indices to measure domestic financial development in 26 emerging economies, using mature economies as a benchmark. Twenty-two variables are used and grouped according to three broad dimensions: (i) institutions and regulations; (ii) size of and access to financial markets and (iii) market performance. This new evidence aims to fill a gap in the economic literature, which has not thus far developed comparable time series including both emerging and mature economies. In doing so, we provide a quantitative measure of the - usually considerable - scope for the selected emerging countries and regions to "catch up" in financial terms. Moreover, we find evidence that a process of financial convergence towards mature economies has already started in certain emerging economies. Finally, we conduct an econometric analysis showing that different levels of domestic financial development tend to be associated with the building up of external imbalances across countries.

No. 101
31 March 2009
Housing finance in the euro area
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance

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

E5 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

G21 : Financial Economics→Financial Institutions and Services→Banks, Depository Institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Mortgages

R21 : Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics→Household Analysis→Housing Demand

Abstract

This report analyses the main developments in housing finance in the euro area in the decade, covering the period from 1999 to 2007. It looks at mortgage indebtedness, various characteristics of loans for house purchase, the funding of such loans and the spreads between the interest rates on loans granted by banks and the interest rates banks had to pay on their funding, or the return they made on alternative investments. In addition, the report contains a comparison of key aspects of housing finance in the euro area with those in the United Kingdom and the United States. At the end, the report briefly discusses aspects of the transmission of monetary policy to the economy.

No. 100
9 January 2009
Survey data on household finance and consumption: research summary and policy use
Eurosystem Monetary Transmission Network

Abstract

JEL Classification

C42 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics→Survey Methods

D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

D14 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Household Saving; Personal Finance

Abstract

The first part of this paper provides a brief survey of the recent literature that employs survey data on household finance and consumption. Given the breadth of the topic, it focuses on issues that are particularly relevant for policy, namely: i) wealth effects on consumption, ii) housing prices and household indebtedness, iii) retirement income, consumption and pension reforms, iv) access to credit and credit constraints, v) financial innovation, consumption smoothing and portfolio selection and vi) wealth inequality. The second part uses concrete examples to summarise how results from such surveys feed into policy-making within the central banks that already conduct such surveys.

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.