The International Role of the U.S. Dollar

For most of the last century, the preeminent role of the U.S. dollar in the global economy has been supported by the size and strength of the U.S. economy, its stability and openness to trade and capital flows, and strong property rights and the rule of law. As a result, the depth and liquidity of U.S. financial markets is unmatched, and there is a large supply of extremely safe dollar-denominated assets.

Open Economy Macroeconomics

The Root Cause of Sovereign Default

Sovereign defaults have occurred more frequently in emerging countries and accompany significant currency depreciation and high inflation. The standard model of sovereign default cannot necessarily explain these facts sufficiently. In this paper, I examine the root cause of sovereign default on the basis of a model of inflation that is built on a micro-foundation of government behavior and conclude that the root cause of sovereign default is an insufficiently independent central bank. Without a sufficiently independent central bank, the government inevitably borrows money excessively, and as a result, inflation and currency depreciation accelerate. This situation will frustrate and anger the..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Decrypting New Age International Capital Flows

This paper employs high frequency transactions data on the world’s oldest and most extensive centralized peer-to-peer Bitcoin market, which enables trade in the currencies of more than 135 countries. We develop an algorithm that allows, with high probability, the detection of “crypto vehicle transactions” in which crypto currency is used to move capital across borders or facilitate domestic transactions. In contrast to previous work which has used “on-chain” data, our approach enables one to investigate parts of the vastly larger pool of “off-chain” transactions. We find that, as a conservative lower bound, over 7 percent of the 45 million trades on the exchange we explore repr..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

The Aftermath of Debt Surges

Debt in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) is at its highest level in half a century. In about nine out of 10 EMDEs, debt is higher now than it was in 2010 and, in half of the EMDEs, debt is more than 30 percentage points of gross domestic product higher. Historically, elevated debt levels increased the incidence of debt distress, particularly in EMDEs and particularly when financial market conditions turned less benign. This paper reviews an encompassing menu of options that have, in the past, helped lower debt burdens. Specifically, it examines orthodox options (enhancing growth, fiscal consolidation, privatization, and wealth taxation) and heterodox options (inflation, finan..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

The Global Financial Cycle

We review the literature on the empirical characteristics of the global financial cycle and associated stylized facts on international capital flows, asset prices, risk aversion and liquidity in the financial system. We analyse the co-movements of global factors in asset prices and capital flows with commodity prices, international trade and world output as well as the sensitivity of different parts of the world to the Global Financial Cycle. We present evidence of the causal effects of the monetary policies of the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and of the People's Bank of China on the Global Financial Cycle. We then assess whether the 2008 financial crisis has altered the tra..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Liquidity Crises, Liquidity Lines and Sovereign Risk

This paper quantitatively investigates the trade-offs of introducing an extra line of credit in an emergency situation. I show that temporary access to these lines for up to 3 percent of mean annual income during low liquidity periods yields long-term effects with a lower cost of borrowing but with incentives to accumulate higher debt. Permanent access, however, has only short-lived effects because temporal arrangement better completes the markets and induces market discipline as the government worries about rollover risk once the low liquidity period ends. I also present in an event analysis that Mexico’s arrangement of swap lines with the Federal Reserve amid the global financial crisis ..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Forward Guidance in an Advanced Small Open Economy in the Effective Lower Bound

We examine forward guidance (with known and uncertain duration) in a New Keynesian model for an advanced small open economy, showing that the response of the economy to this policy depends, both quantitatively and qualitatively, on some structural features through calibrations for Sweden and Spain. In particular, an announcement of future expansionary policy is positively related to the exchange rate pass-through and is larger than in the closed economy counterpart because of a better inflation-output trade-off and the exchange rate channel. We also show that multiple equilibria could arise and that the real exchange rate is a key variable driving this result. In particular, the response of ..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Small firms and domestic bank dependence in Europe’s Great Recession

After the inception of the euro, the real economy in most member countries remained dependent on credit by domestic banks, which increasingly funded themselves through cross-border interbank funding. We find that this pattern of ‘double-decker’ banking integration exposed domestic banks to sharp declines in cross-border interbank lending during the eurozone crisis. As a result, domestic banks reduced lending which led to large declines in output in sectors with many small (bank-dependent) firms. We propose a quantitative small open economy model to account for these patterns and conclude that a global banking shock leading to a sudden stop in cross-border interbank lending in the eurozon..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Global models for a global pandemic: the impact of COVID-19 on small euro area economies

This paper analyses the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic shock on small open economies in a monetary union with an application to the euro area. Accounting for a high degree of openness and a strong dependence on intra and extra union trade, we focus on the size and the direction of international spillovers - both from the shock itself and from the ensuing fiscal response. To do so, we use a unified modelling framework: The Euro Area and the Global Economy (EAGLE) model. Furthermore, within this general framework, we assess the extent to which specific modelling features shape the dynamic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main messages are as follows. First, fiscal spillovers from the ..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

The impact of the euro on trade: two decades into monetary union

The consensus back in 2008 – ten years after the introduction of the euro – was that the adoption of a common currency had made a limited impact of around 2% in total on the trade flows of the first wave of euro area countries (Baldwin et al., 2008). Since then, six more countries have joined the euro area, and firms have internationalised their production processes. These two phenomena are interrelated and may have changed the way the common currency affects the euro area economy. Therefore, with the common currency now into its third decade – and with more countries queuing to adopt it – this paper revisits the trade effects of the euro, focusing on the newer euro adopters (i.e. th..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Capital Flows to Emerging Economies and Global Risk Aversion during the COVID-19 Pandemic

This paper analyzes recent changes in the relative importance of the determinants of capital flows to emerging market economies. For this purpose, we estimate vector autoregressive (VAR) models for the period 2009-2020. Based on these models, we estimate the effects on debt flows from shocks to their determinants. Then, we quantify the contribution of each of the variables included in the model to explain the evolution of these flows in each month of the sample through a historical decomposition analysis. The main results indicate that the contribution of global risk aversion to explain the evolution of debt flows increased during March 2020 compared to the past, although its relative import..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Rethinking Exchange Rate Regimes

This paper employs an updated algorithm and database for classifying exchange rate and anchor currency choice, to explore the evolution of the global exchange rate system, including parallel rates, capital controls and reserves. In line with a large recent literature, we find that the dollar has become ever-more central as the de facto anchor or reference currencies for much of the world. Our discussion encompasses the history of anchor currency choice, methods for classifying exchange rate regimes, a detailed discussion of the evolution of regimes, the growing substitution of reserves for capital controls as a tool for exchange rate stabilization, the modern Triffin dilemma, and the surpris..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Better Two Eyes than One: A Synthesis Classification of Exchange Rate Regimes

This paper proposes a new de facto classification of exchange rate regimes, the synthesis classification. The proposed framework has several advantages over existing de facto classifications. First, it offers a unified framework based on the most divergent classifications, the RR and LYS classifications, leading not only to a broader coverage but also to encompass a broad spectrum of exchange systems. Second, it fits better with the known history of exchange rate regimes developments in the post-Bretton Woods era. Among others, it brings an interesting nuance to the so-called hollowing-out hypothesis by showing that the evolution of de facto regimes —especially in emerging economies since ..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Estimating the elasticity of consumer prices to the exchange rate: an accounting approach

We analyse the elasticity of the household consumption expenditure (HCE) deflator to the exchange rate, using world input-output tables (WIOT) from 1995 to 2019. In line with the existing literature, we find a modest output-weighted elasticity of around 0.1. This elasticity is stable over time but heterogeneous across countries, ranging from 0.05 to 0.22. Such heterogeneity mainly reflects differences in foreign product content of consumption and intermediate products. Direct effects through imported consumption and intermediate products entering domestic production explain most of the transmission of an exchange rate appreciation to domestic prices. By contrast, indirect effects linked to p..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

The transmission of euro area monetary policy to financially euroised countries

This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the interest rate pass-through of euro area monetary policy to retail rates outside the euro area, contributing to the literature on the consequences of unofficial financial euroisation and on the transmission channels of monetary policy spillovers. The results suggest that in the long run, more than one third of all euro retail rates in euroised countries of central, eastern and south-eastern Europe (CESEE) are linked to the euro area shadow rate. Compared to euro area monetary policy, the share of cointegration of the domestic monetary policy rate is lower, suggesting that domestic central banks in euroised countries with independent monetary..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Not all shocks are created equal: assessing heterogeneity in the bank lending channel

We provide evidence that the strength of the bank lending channel varies considerably across three major events in the European sovereign debt crisis - the Greek debt restructuring (PSI), outright monetary transactions (OMT), and quantitative easing (QE). We study how lending responds to each shock using detailed bank, firm, and household data from Portugal, a country that was directly exposed to the three events. While the price of sovereign debt securities increased in all three events, banks reduced sovereign debt holdings and realized accumulated capital gains only after QE. As a result, lending to final borrowers reacted more strongly to QE than to the PSI or OMT events. Our results sug..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

(De-)Globalisation of trade and regionalisation: a survey of the facts and arguments

The COVID-19 pandemic initially caused some international trade distortions, most of which were temporary, since international goods trade flows recovered their pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2020. Against this background, geopolitical factors are gaining traction in shaping cross-border trade, as many countries adopted initiatives geared to influencing the relocation of their international firms’ activity and the reorganisation of global value chains. These recent measures, though, can be seen as part of a larger-scale pre-pandemic process that partly called into question the WTO rules-based multilateral framework. Another process under way prior to the outbreak of the pandemic was the..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Business cycle synchronization or business cycle transmission? The effect of the German slowdown on the Italian economy.

This work analyses the effects of the slowdown that has hit Germany since 2018 on the Italian economy using data from Banca d’Italia’s Survey of Inflation and Growth Expectations. First, we briefly argue that these two economies are highly interconnected and describe the slowdown that has hampered the German economy. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we show that since 2018, when the German economy weakened, Italian companies’ sentiment and assessment whose sales were oriented towards the German market was comparatively worse than that of other companies. This finding suggests that there is a transmission link between these two economies. Finally, using a forec..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

The impact of COVID-19 on directions and structure of international trade

2020 marked some of the largest reductions in trade and output volumes since WWII. Focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and using the latest monthly and quarterly data on international trade of selected countries and products, this paper documents key shifts in geographical direction and product composition of international trade in 2020. Trade in services declined by more than twice as much as trade in goods and its recovery has also been slower. While the size of the drop in global trade relative to the drop in output in 2020 was smaller than during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), this was not related to the overall size of the trade impacts in 2020, but rather reflects the significant het..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Foreign vulnerabilities, domestic risks: the global drivers of GDP-at-Risk

We study how foreign financial developments influence the conditional distribution of domestic GDP growth. Within a quantile regression setup, we propose a method to parsimoniously account for foreign vulnerabilities using bilateral-exposure weights when assessing downside macroeconomic risks. Using a panel data set of advanced economies, we show that tighter foreign financial conditions and faster foreign credit-to-GDP growth are associated with a more severe left tail of domestic GDP growth, even when controlling for domestic indicators. The inclusion of foreign indicators significantly improves estimates of ‘GDP-at-Risk’, a summary measure of downside risks. In turn, this yields time-..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

A Theory of the Global Financial Cycle

We develop a theory to account for changes in prices of risky and safe assets and gross and net capital flows over the global financial cycle (GFC). The multi-country model features global risk-aversion shocks and heterogeneity of investors both within and across countries. Within-country heterogeneity is needed to account for the drop in gross capital flows during a negative GFC shock (higher global risk-aversion). Cross-country heterogeneity is needed to account for the differential vulnerability of countries to a negative GFC shock. The key vulnerability is associated with leverage. In both the data and the theory, leveraged countries (net borrowers of safe assets) deleverage through nega..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Interdependence Between States and Economies

Through a review of the different forms of interdependence between states and economies, this essay argues that an international response resulting from further global cooperation is the way forward. As interdependence is now weaponized to serve countries' interests, coordination is needed across global players. Specifically, trade and economic negotiations have to take place. However, one needs also to consider deep modifications to the current international framework, strongly unbalanced. International taxation, global public goods, climate change, and global value chain are among the subjects needed to be reconsidered.

Open Economy Macroeconomics

A song of ice and fire: Competitiveness in an export-led growing economy

The role of the real exchange rate in explaining long-run processes of catching-up and falling-behind continues to be a question of central importance among alternative theories of growth and distribution. Existing empirical evidence suggests a positive association between exchange rates in levels and growth, especially in developing countries, though a currency depreciation has adverse effects. While these two elements have been separately incorporated into demand-led growth theories, a comprehensive assessment of the dynamic interaction between them is still missing. This article attempts to fill such a gap in the literature by developing an export-led growth model in which price and non-p..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Global Capital, the Exchange Rate, and Policy (In)Effectiveness

In line with JMK’s liquidity preference theory, this article holds that in a world of highly internationally financially integrated economies the exchange rate between any two currencies is determined by the financial market views as to what its value is expected to be in the future. These views are influenced by the policy credibility that markets themselves attribute to the currency-issuing countries. After briefly reviewing the established theories of the exchange rate, the article proposes a very simple, aggregate model of equilibrium exchange rate determination based on market views and discusses its basic features and policy implications. It shows that whereas macro policy shocks in ..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

A Theory of the Global Financial Cycle

We develop a theory to account for changes in prices of risky and safe assets and gross and net capital flows over the global financial cycle (GFC). The multi-country model features global risk-aversion shocks and heterogeneity of investors both within and across countries. Within-country heterogeneity is needed to account for the drop in gross capital flows during a negative GFC shock (higher global risk-aversion). Cross-country heterogeneity is needed to account for the differential vulnerability of countries to a negative GFC shock. The key vulnerability is associated with leverage. In both the data and the theory, leveraged countries (net borrowers of safe assets) deleverage through nega..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Commodity Prices and Global Inflation, 1851-1913

This paper uses annual data to study the interaction of consumer and commodity prices in 15 economies over the period 1850-1913. We find that consumer price inflation in all 15 countries co-moves with a broad measure of changes in commodity prices. Consumer prices comove most strongly with changes in metal prices, in particular pig iron prices. Furthermore, changes in pig iron prices and production, which have attracted much attention in the literature on 19th century US business cycles, co-move with the international business cycle, suggesting that pig iron prices offer a transmission channel through which international business cycle movements affect inflation.

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Financial Development and Economic Growth in a Microfounded Small Open Economy Model

The global financial crisis since 2008 revived the debate on whether or not and to what extent financial development contributes to economic growth. This paper reviews different theoretical schools of thought and empirical findings on this nexus, building on which we aim to develop a unified, microfounded model in a small open economy setting to accommodate various theoretical possibilities and empirical observations. The model is then calibrated to match some well-documented stylized facts. Numerical simulations show that, in the long run, the welfaremaximizing level of financial development is lower than the growth-maximizing level. In the short run, the price channel (through world intere..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Current Account Dynamics: On Income and Trade Balance

We investigate the dynamics of Japan's income and trade balance between 1996:Q1 and 2019:Q4 via a structural VAR model. The two most important constituents of the current account (trade balance and income balance) and seven other macroeconomic variables are entered in our VAR model. We implement a shadow rate for the measure of monetary policy under the unconventional monetary policy regime, including a zero lower bound interest rate. By using a standard SVAR model from the literature, we find that world shocks dominate and rule the dynamics of Japan's current account. Through additional short-run zero restrictions, we also find that exogenous exchange rate shocks affect the current account.

Open Economy Macroeconomics

The IMF’s role in sovereign debt restructurings

The global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting deterioration in many countries’ public finances have increased the risk of sovereign debt crises. Although crisis prevention remains paramount, these developments have made it imperative to re-examine the adequacy of the current toolkit for crisis management and resolution, in a context where changes in the creditor base and in the composition of public debt instruments have brought about new challenges in terms of reduced transparency and additional barriers to achieving inter-creditor equity. This report focuses on the international architecture for sovereign debt restructurings (SODRs), as seen through the lenses of..

Open Economy Macroeconomics

Asymmetric monetary policy rules for the euro area and the US

We analyse the implications of asymmetric monetary policy rules by estimating Markov-switching DSGE models for the euro area (EA) and the US. The estimations show that until mid-2014 the ECB’s response to inflation was more forceful when inflation was above 2% than below 2%. Since then, the ECB’s policy can be characterised as symmetric, and we quantify the macroeconomic implications of this policy change. We uncover asymmetries also in the Fed’s policy, which has responded more strongly in times of crisis. We compute an optimal simple rule for the EA and the US in an environment with the effective lower bound and a low neutral real rate, and find that it prescribes a stronger response..

Open Economy Macroeconomics