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Working Paper

Regional and global financial safety nets: the recent European experience and its implications for regional cooperation in Asia

Comparing and evaluating financial assistance programmes of four euro-area countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Cyprus) and three non-euro-area countries (Hungary, Latvia, and Romania) of the European Union in the aftermath of the 2007/08 global financial and economic crisis. Asian countries can draw several lessons from European experiences.

By: Date: April 20, 2017 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

This paper compares financial assistance programmes of four euro-area countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Cyprus) and three non-euro-area countries (Hungary, Latvia, and Romania) of the European Union in the aftermath of the 2007/08 global financial and economic crisis—which were supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and various European financing facilities. These programmes have distinct features compared with assistance programmes in other parts of the world, such as the size of imbalances, financing, unique cooperation of the IMF and various European facilities, and membership of a currency union in the case of euro-area countries. We evaluate the programmes by assessing their success in creating conditions to regain market access, the degree of compliance with loan conditionality, and actual economic performance relative to programme assumptions.

We conclude that the rate of compliance with loan conditionality was not a good predictor of programme success and that deviations from gross domestic product programme assumption correlate strongly with fiscal performance and unemployment, highlighting the key role of macroeconomic projections in programme design. While the Troika institutions succeeded in cooperating, there were major disputes among them in some cases, especially related to the assessment of fiscal sustainability and cross-country spillovers. Asian countries can draw several lessons from European experiences, including the coexistence of the IMF and regional safety nets, cooperation issues, systemic spillovers, and social implications of programme design.

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Opinion

Why are some stock markets in Asia less affected by coronavirus?

While Asian markets are in a sea of red, mainland China, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Taiwan are all defying the gravity.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Gary Ng Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 31, 2020
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External Publication

How has the macroeconomic imbalances procedure worked in practice to improve the resilience of the euro area?

This paper shows how the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP) could be streamlined and its underlying conceptual framework clarified. Implementation of the country-specific recommendations is low; their internal consistency is sometimes missing; despite past reforms, the MIP remains largely a countryby-country approach running the risk of aggravating the deflationary bias in the euro area. We recommend to streamline the scoreboard around a few meaningful indicators, involve national macro-prudential and productivity councils, better connect the various recommendations, simplify the language and further involve the Commission into national policy discussions. This document was prepared for the Economic Governance Support Unit at the request of the ECON Committee.

By: Agnès Bénassy-Quéré and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 24, 2020
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Blog Post

Be bold now: coronavirus, the Eurogroup and fiscal safety nets

This blog post sketches two scenarios: one in which countries provide a large fiscal safety net to companies and another in which they do not. Both lead to similar debt-to-GDP ratios in 2021, but the safety net leads to a smaller and shorter recession and a quicker rebound. We then discuss how to fund a large response without fragmenting the euro area. Until the lockdowns end, such measures should be implemented.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 17, 2020
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Opinion

Epidemic tests China’s supply chain dominance

Much has been written on the Wuhan coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease Covid-19, but very little is known yet about its impact on the global economy and, in particular, the global value chain. Still, one thing is clear: The shock is bigger than that caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), for the simple reason that China is much more important for the global economy than it was then.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: February 17, 2020
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Policy Contribution

European Parliament

From climate change to cyber attacks: Incipient financial-stability risks for the euro area

The European Central Bank’s November 2019 Financial Stability Review highlighted the risks to growth in an environment of global uncertainty. On the whole, the ECB report is comprehensive and covers the main risks to euro-area financial stability, we highlight issues that deserve more attention.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Marta Domínguez-Jiménez and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament, Finance & Financial Regulation, Testimonies Date: February 6, 2020
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Opinion

Europe’s banking union must be cyberproofed

The EU urgently needs to conduct joint preparedness exercises and create uniform information and disclosure requirements that help build a true pan-European insurance market for cyber risks

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: January 30, 2020
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Blog Post

Japanese economy: Déjà vu – but worse

It is difficult to imagine how Japan can undertake any major economic reform if it has taken five years to increase the consumption tax and has needed two strong fiscal packages.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 12, 2019
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Past Event

Past Event

EU-Asia trade and investment connectivity

The Asia Europe Economic Forum (AEEF) was established in 2006 as a high level forum for in-depth research-based exchanges on global issues between Asian and European policy makers and experts. This year, the AEEF will be hosted by Bertelsmann Stiftung on 28-29 November, 2019 in Berlin, Germany, and it will focus on “EU-Asia trade and investment connectivity”.

Speakers: Aart de Geus, Guntram B. Wolff, He Fan, Alessia Amighini, John Beirne, Nicolaus Heinen, Jae-Young Lee, Cora Jungbluth, Alicia García-Herrero, Xin Yuan, Andreas Esche, Ken Wu, Sébastien Jean and Amb. Karsten Warnecke Topic: Global Economics & Governance Location: Bertelsmann Representative Office, Unter den Linden 1, 10117 Berlin Date: November 28, 2019
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Working Paper

How does China fare on the Russian market? Implications for the European Union

China’s economic ties with Russia are deepening. Meanwhile, Europe remains Russia’s largest trading partner, lender and investor. An analysis of China’s ties with Russia, indicate that China seems to have become more of a competitor to the European Union on Russia’s market. Competition over investment and lending is more limited, but the situation could change rapidly with China and Russia giving clear signs of a stronger than ever strategic partnership.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Jianwei Xu Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 18, 2019
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Opinion

HK, Taiwan divergence result of economic policies

While the effect of the ongoing unrest on the Hong Kong economy is obvious, Taiwan was already doing better before the protests started.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 5, 2019
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Blog Post

Implications of the Japan – United States Mini Trade Agreement

Details of the US-Japan mini-trade deal are lacking but the agreements’ direct impact on the US and Japanese economies is likely to be minuscule. The deal seems to have been made to compensate American farmers – a crucial electoral base of the President – for their losses from the trade war with China.

By: Sybrand Brekelmans and Uri Dadush Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: October 11, 2019
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Opinion

China's dual banking system: consolidation as the final solution for weak small banks

There are fundamental solvency and liquidity issues for some small Chinese banks, widely influencing both the bond market as well as the broader financial sector. Given the difficulties in creating a level playing field between small and large banks, there is an expectation that small banks will continue to under-perform.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Gary Ng Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: September 16, 2019
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