A stock in excess of €900 billion of nonperforming loans continue to clutter the European banking system, impeding economic growth. This issue remains a key challenge for policy makers. As we show in our latest Global Financial Stability Report, part of the solution to address this legacy is an upgrade in legal systems. Current inefficiencies—long foreclosure times and insolvency procedures—are a reason for the gap between the value of loans on bank balance sheets and the price investors are willing to pay. A reliable legal environment and an efficient judicial system maximize the value of nonperforming loans (NPLs), reduce the value gap and give banks greater incentive to get NPLs off the books. Our analysis, using time to foreclose as a proxy for effective insolvency regimes, shows there is a large upside for new lending capacity in the euro area (Chart 1).
Devaluation is often part of the remedy for a country in financial trouble. Devaluation boosts the competitiveness of a country’s exports and curtails imports by making them more costly. Together, the higher exports and the reduced imports generate some of the financial resources needed to help the country get out of trouble.
For countries that belong to—and want to stay in—a currency union, however, devaluation is not an option. This was the situation facing several euro area economies at the onset of the global financial crisis: capital had been flowing into these countries before the crisis but much of it fled when the crisis hit.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, Inequality, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: central bank, euro area, spillover, structural reforms, wage moderation, wages | Leave a comment »
By José Viñals
Today global financial stability is not yet assured and downside risks prevail. Our recommendation is for an urgent upgrade in policies, to avoid downside risks and to achieve our upside scenario of “successful normalization” of monetary and financial conditions. This will secure financial stability and strengthen the economic recovery.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Public debt | Tagged: China, emerging economies, euro area, European Central Bank, financial stability, GFSR, Japan, José Viñals, U.S. Federal Reserve, United States | Leave a comment »
Problem loans are clogging the arteries of Europe’s banking system. The global financial crisis and subsequent recession have left businesses and households in many countries with debts that they cannot repay. Nonperforming loans as a share of total loans in the EU have more than doubled since 2009, reaching €1 trillion—over 9 percent of the region’s GDP—by end-2014. These loans are particularly high in the southern part of the euro area, as well as in several Eastern and Southeastern European countries. Only a handful of countries have managed to lower their nonperforming loan ratio to below its post-crisis peak.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Reform | Tagged: debt, euro area, Europe, European Central Bank, non-performing loans, recession | Leave a comment »
All eyes are on Greece, as the parties involved continue to strive for a lasting deal, spurring vigorous debate and some sharp criticisms, including of the IMF.
In this context, I thought some reflections on the main critiques could help clarify some key points of contention as well as shine a light on a possible way forward.
The main critiques, as I see them, fall under the following four categories:
- The 2010 program only served to raise debt and demanded excessive fiscal adjustment.
- The financing to Greece was used to repay foreign banks.
- Growth-killing structural reforms, together with fiscal austerity, have led to an economic depression.
- Creditors have learned nothing and keep repeating the same mistakes.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Debt Relief, Economic Crisis, Economic outlook, Employment, Europe, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Politics, Public debt | Tagged: austerity, debt, debt restructuring, debt sustainability, ECB, euro, euro area, fiscal adjustment, Greece, Olivier Blanchard, VAT | 8 Comments »
The 2008 global financial crisis and its aftermath have tested the European Union’s (EU) fiscal governance framework—the rules, regulations, and procedures that influence how budgetary policy is planned, approved, carried out, and monitored. Given the distinctive nature of EU integration, the framework aims to discipline national fiscal policies to prevent adverse spillovers to other countries and distortions to the conduct of the euro area’s common monetary policy.
The build-up of fiscal imbalances, however, revealed gaps in the framework. Public debt in the European Union soared following the crisis in 2008 to an average of around 95 percent in 2014—almost 30 percentage points above its average pre-crisis level (Chart 1).
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Europe, Finance, Fiscal policy, Global Governance, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: crisis, debt, EU, euro area, Fiscal Compact, fiscal framework, fiscal policies, imbalances, public debt, Stability and Growth Pact | Leave a comment »
By José Viñals
Financial market liquidity can be fleeting. The ability to trade in assets of any size, at any time and to find a ready buyer is not a given. As discussed in some detail last fall in this blog, a number of factors, including the evolving structure of financial markets and some regulations appear to have pushed liquidity into a new realm: markets look susceptible to episodes of high price volatility where liquidity suddenly vanishes.
In our April 2015 Global Financial Stability Report we identify a new aspect to the problem: asset price correlations have risen sharply in the last five years across all major asset classes (see figure). Continue reading
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, Europe, Finance, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: bond markets, central banks, euro area, exchange rate, Financial regulation, GFSR, Global Financial Stability Report, Japan, market liquidity, market volatility, monetary policy, oil prices, swap lines, Switzerland, U.S. Fed, United States | Leave a comment »