Financial markets

Monetary policy transmission via balance sheets: Evidence from Japan

Kaoru Hosono, Daisuke Miyakawa, 9 August 2014

In the wake of the Global Crisis, several central banks have adopted unconventional monetary policies. This column presents new evidence from Japan on the transmission of monetary policy through banks’ balance sheets. Overall, the evidence suggests that bank net worth affects loan supply, that the effect depends on monetary policy and economic growth, and that this bank balance sheet channel has a significant impact on firms’ financing and investment. Exiting from unconventional monetary policies when bank balance sheets are weak could thus have a severe adverse impact on investment.

The updated deposit insurance database

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, Edward J Kane, Luc Laeven, 4 August 2014

As governments are struggling to construct a global financial safety net, they must take into consideration the lessons from the recent crisis. To help in this task, this column presents findings from an updated database on deposit insurance arrangements from around the world through 2013. The number of countries with explicit deposit insurance programmes has continued to increase but differences across countries are observed. Although it is too early to draw conclusions about the reliability of further insurance deposit expansion as a tool for managing a future crisis, insurance fulfilled its primary purpose – it prevented open runs on bank deposits.

Financial stability and monetary policy

Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 27 July 2014

The monetary policies implemented by the Federal Reserve since late 2008 have raised concerns about the risk taking of financial institutions. This column discusses the effect of some of these policies on life insurance companies and market mutual funds. While the effect on life insurance companies has been stabilising, money market funds did not actively reach for yield.

New thinking on reserve-currency status

Linda Goldberg, Signe Krogstrup, John Lipsky, Hélène Rey, 26 July 2014

The dollar’s dominant role in international trade and finance has proved remarkably resilient. This column argues that financial stability – and the policy and institutional frameworks that underpin it – are important new determinants of currencies’ international roles. While old drivers still matter, progress achieved on financial-stability reforms in major currency areas will greatly influence the future roles of their currencies.

SMEs lending: ‘Relationship lending’ vs arm’s length

Thorsten Beck, Hans Degryse, Ralph De Haas, Neeltje van Horen, 25 July 2014

The small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) were among the most severely affected in the Global Crisis. This column discusses new evidence on how different lending techniques affect lending in bad and good times. Data from 21 countries in central and eastern Europe show that ‘relationship lending’ alleviates credit constraints during a cyclical downturn but not during a boom period. The positive impact of relationship lending in an economic downturn is strongest for smaller and more opaque firms and in regions where the downturn is more severe.

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