Global economy

Matteo Maggiori, Brent Neiman, Jesse Schreger, 18 June 2018

Currency is a far more important factor for cross-border capital flows than is typically assumed. This column demonstrates that investors exhibit a strong bias toward securities denominated in their home currency even when investing in bonds issued by developed countries, implying that the majority of foreign firms that do not issue foreign currency bonds typically do not borrow from abroad directly. A key exception to this pattern is the US, as the global taste for dollars enables smaller firms that issue only dollar-denominated bonds to access foreign capital. The benefit that the dollar’s status offers the US appears to have increased since the Global Crisis at the expense of the euro.

Nicola Mai, 14 June 2018

The rise in global debt has continued unabated following the Global Crisis. This column argues that elevated debt levels will continue to put downward pressure on equilibrium interest rates across the world’s major economies, constraining central bank efforts to normalise rates and supporting the thesis that global equilibrium interest rates have fallen.

Stephen Cecchetti, Kim Schoenholtz, 08 June 2018

Global remittances total $600 billion annually - equivalent to about four times the value of development assistance. Yet despite huge innovations in the underlying technology, the cost of remittances remains persistently high, at around 7% on average. Stephen Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz discuss the causes of this, and suggest some options available to policymakers to lower costs. The G8, G20 and Sustainable Development Goals targetting lower remittance costs could be realised by a two-pronged approach of educating consumers on the one hand and fostering competition among providers on the other.

Marco Buti, Reuben Borg, 04 May 2018

It is ten years since the crisis started and Europe is at the cusp of new and different challenges. This column presents the European Commission's spring forecast and the challenges ahead that policymakers should address. The baseline scenario for the European economy over the next two years is one of continued expansion. However, the assessment of risks to the forecast has changed, and the nuances have become more critical. Domestic upside risks have broadly diminished and downside risks to the global outlook have increased significantly in both the short and the medium term.

Ambrogio Cesa-Bianchi, M. Hashem Pesaran, Alessandro Rebucci, 24 April 2018

During 2016-17, market analysts and policymakers grappled with the puzzling coexistence of subdued market volatility and heightened policy uncertainty and geopolitical risk. The rise in world growth expectations can explain some but by no means all of the decline in market volatility during this period. This column argues that excess optimism about future growth prospects might have fuelled the decline in volatility. This would imply that gradual unwinding of such expectations could bring more bursts of market volatility, as we have begun to witness since the start of 2018.

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