Where danger lurks
Olivier Blanchard 03 October 2014
Before the 2008 crisis, the mainstream worldview among US macroeconomists was that economic fluctuations were regular and essentially self-correcting. In this column, IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard explains how this benign view of fluctuations took hold in the profession, and what lessons have been learned since the crisis. He argues that macroeconomic policy should aim to keep the economy away from ‘dark corners’, where it can malfunction badly.
Until the 2008 global financial crisis, mainstream US macroeconomics had taken an increasingly benign view of economic fluctuations in output and employment. The crisis has made it clear that this view was wrong and that there is a need for a deep reassessment.
The benign view reflected both factors internal to economics and an external economic environment that for years seemed indeed increasingly benign.
Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy
macroeconomics, global crisis, great moderation, rational expectations, nonlinearities, fluctuations, business cycle, monetary policy, inflation, bank runs, deposit insurance, sudden stops, capital flows, liquidity, maturity mismatch, zero lower bound, liquidity trap, capital requirements, credit constraints, precautionary savings, housing boom, Credit crunch, unconventional monetary policy, fiscal policy, sovereign default, diabolical loop, deflation, debt deflation, financial regulation, regulatory arbitrage, DSGE models
The next sudden stop
Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan 07 January 2014
Financial crises are generally preceded by credit booms and a build-up of external debts. Although it is unclear whether Turkey is experiencing a financial bubble, as of 2013, 58% of the corporate sector’s debt was denominated in foreign currencies. This column argues that this explains the Central Bank of Turkey’s interventions to prop up the value of the Turkish lira. Given the relatively low level of reserves and the unfolding corruption scandal, it is a critical question how long the Bank can continue to do so.
The ominous facts are well known – the strongest predictors of financial crises are domestic credit booms and external debts (Reinhart and Rogoff 2011). In emerging markets, credit booms are generally preceded by large capital inflows (Reinhart and Reinhart 2010). Many high-growth emerging markets have been receiving capital inflows for the last five years as the developed economies have been attending to their wounds from the Global Financial Crisis. Now the tide is reversing. Emerging markets are experiencing slowdowns in growth and widening current-account deficits.
Financial markets International finance
capital flows, emerging markets, global financial crisis, sudden stops, Turkey, tapering, liability dollarisation
The mother of all sudden stops: Capital flows and reversals in Europe, 1919-1932
Olivier Accominotti, Barry Eichengreen 14 September 2013
From 2001 to 2008, half of Europe received capital inflows from the other half and beyond. In 2009, that stopped, capital accounts switched signs and a crisis occurred. This column draws parallels from a similar episode in Europe just before the Great Depression. It highlights that in both episodes global factors – largely exogenous to conditions in the borrowing countries – shaped the capital flows and reversals.
From 2001 through 2008 one half of Europe received enormous capital inflows from the other half of Europe and the rest of the world.
- Starting in 2009, the recipients then experienced a sudden stop, a capital-account reversal, and an economic and financial crisis (Pisani-Ferry and Merler 2102).
From 1924 through 1928 one half of Europe received enormous capital inflows from the other half of Europe and the rest of the world.
Economic history International finance
sudden stops, East Europe, capital-account reversals
A new taxonomy of Sudden Stops: Which Sudden Stops should countries be most concerned about?
Eduardo Cavallo, Andrew Powell 30 August 2013
As emerging markets slow, the fear of ‘sudden stops’ in capital flows is rising. This column presents a new taxonomy of Sudden Stops that is founded on the behaviour of gross and net capital flows. The results raise several puzzles. Given continued financial globalisation, how developing and advanced economies can protect themselves at minimum cost remains a critical topic for researchers and policymakers.
Emerging markets have slowed alongside a rise in longer term US rates. The fear of ‘sudden stops’ in capital flows has risen. The academic literature on capital flows, perhaps as in other areas, has tended to focus on contemporaneous concerns:
Global crisis Macroeconomic policy
capital flows, sudden stops
Sudden stops in the Eurozone
Jean Pisani-Ferry, Silvia Merler 02 April 2012
Many analysts and observers have put forward that the euro crisis is a balance-of-payments crisis at least as much as a fiscal crisis. This column provides evidence of capital-flow reversals in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. It argues that the fostering of a pan-European banking industry and the creation of a banking union with centralised supervision and access to resources to recapitalise weak financial institutions should feature high on the policy agenda.
Many analysts and observers have put forward that the euro crisis is a balance-of-payments crisis at least as much as a fiscal crisis (e.g. Carney 2012, Giavazzi and Spaventa 2011, Sinn 2012, Wolf 2011). The issue has gained further relevance with the widening of imbalances among EZ central banks within the Target2 settlement system and has important implications for both the short- and the long-term policy responses (Bornhorst and Mody 2012).
capital flows, current account, sudden stops, balance of payments
The G20 communiqué: Work in progress but good news for emerging markets
Guillermo Calvo 06 April 2009
The G20 communiqué revealed a clear attitude towards chain-reaction crises. Here one of the world’s most experienced and insightful crisis-watchers argues the G20 communiqué reflects a major improvement in the way leaders view financial crises – moving away from the view that blames the victims and towards a view that recognizes systemic crises and chain-reaction accidents involving many innocent bystanders.
From the perspective of Financial Architecture, the G20 communiqué represents a major and positive change in the way world leaders view financial crises. They have definitely moved from a view according to which crises are largely homegrown, to a view that allows for the existence of systemic crises, chain-reaction accidents involving many innocent bystanders.
emerging markets, global crisis debate, sudden stops
Lender of last resort: Put it on the agenda!
Guillermo Calvo 23 March 2009
Fiscal stimulus and financial regulation cannot restore credit availability. This column argues that we need a global lender of last resort to restore liquidity. In the short run, it presses for large liquidity facilities to protect emerging market economies from the risk of damaging sudden stops of capital inflows.
The subprime crisis is a massive failure of the shadow banking system that has affected all corners of the capital market and triggered worldwide deleveraging. We are in a severe credit crunch. Savers distrust private-sector dissavers, which gives rise to a fall in aggregate demand and a search for safe assets (“flight to quality”).
emerging markets, lender of last resort, global crisis debate, sudden stops