By Antoine Lalliard, Julien Le Roux, Marie Delorme and William Honvo

This post proposes a measure of property purchasing power by calculating the floor area in m² that an individual with an average income could buy with a housing loan (excluding deposits) in some of the largest euro area countries. After declining sharply in the 2000s due to rising house prices (with the notable exception of Germany), affordable floor area has increased since the 2008 crisis, mainly thanks to lower interest rates.

Chart 1: Floor area affordable on credit in m² by country
Chart 1: Floor area affordable on credit in m² by country Sources: Authors’ calculations; Banque de France, OECD, ECB, HouseLev.

By Cyril Couaillier, Dorian Henricot and Julien Idier

At the end of 2018, “at-risk” firms in France were estimated to have total gross debts of EUR 187 billion. A 100 basis-point rise in their cost of financing could push this amount up by 60%, potentially posing a risk to the financial system. This result supports the measures taken by the High Council for Financial Stability (HCSF) as of 2018 to strengthen the resilience of the banking system.

Chart 1: Debt at risk of French groups
Chart 1: Debt at risk of French groups Source: FIBEN group data and authors’ calculations. Note: ICR = Interest coverage ratio, or the ratio of earnings to interest payments. Net leverage is defined as the ratio of debt net of cash holdings to total equity.

By Patrick Branthomme and Véronique Genre

Three years after the launch of Eco Notepad, a survey has been conducted among its readers to get to know them better and to refine the thematic choices in the coming year. This is an opportunity to present the results and to thank all those who accepted to take part in this satisfaction survey.

By Jean Barthélemy and Eric Mengus

The anchoring of inflation expectations results from an equilibrium between the private sector’s expectations of future central bank actions and the latter's actual actions. This equilibrium is often reduced to the question of a monetary policy rule. While the adoption of a rule helps in the formation of inflation expectations, it is not sufficient to anchor them permanently.

By Bruno Cabrillac and Baptiste Meunier

The net international investment positions (NIIP) of the G20 countries have diverged since 1990. While this divergence results partly from persistent imbalances in goods and services, NIIPs have their own dynamics: the portfolio generates income and capital gains or losses. These dynamics have had a stabilising effect at the cost of financial risks for some debtors, i.e. the United States, and an excessive accumulation of safe assets by some creditors.

Chart 1 – Financial effects and real factors
Chart 1 – Financial effects and real factors Sources: Lane and Milesi-Ferretti (2017), authors’ calculations

1st prize-winning blog in the 2019 Eco Notepad Challenge - By Nicolas Laine (ESCP)

The technological revolution raises numerous questions as it permeates every aspect of our daily lives. Real hopes or legitimate concerns? To separate true from false, let’s take a look at this conversation between two friends, overheard in rue Croix des Petits Champs…

Source: author, with the help of Ariane Mostamandy (drawings)

By Florian Lalanne and Irena Peresa

Responding to China’s greater capital account openness, major investment indices have started incorporating renminbi-denominated securities. This is expected to support portfolio inflows into China and increase the correlation between domestic asset prices and external factors. The consequences for other emerging markets are uncertain.

Composition of the MSCI Emerging markets index (%).
Chart 1: Composition of the MSCI Emerging markets index (%). Source: MSCI. Note: The index is composed of equity securities. China A-shares are renminbi-denominated equities traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, while China offshore shares are mainly traded in Hong Kong.

While the duration of an expansion can intuitively be associated with its age, a study of historical GDP data for the euro area reveals that this is not the case. Old economic expansions are as likely to disappear as new ones. Like J. R. R. Tolkien's Elves, expansions are "biologically immortal": they do not die of old age, but of exogenous causes.

Chart 1 - The duration of expansions does not depend on their age
Chart 1 - The duration of expansions does not depend on their age Source: Author's calculations. The Durland and McCurdy (1994) model is applied to the euro area growth rate.

By S. Avouyi-Dovi and G. Horny

The Banque de France conducts a research patronage policy through partnerships and the action of its Foundation. The partnerships are collaborations with French research institutions, while the Foundation promotes research work by awarding grants and various prizes to researchers in France and abroad. What does the Banque de France’s research patronage consist in?

By Patrick Branthomme and Laurent Paul

Launched in September 2013 by the Chinese authorities, the “new silk road” project aims to better connect Asia and Europe. The latter must defend its economic interests and the multilateral framework to the best of its ability. To this end, it will be able to draw on the recent progress of the G20, which has established principles for the transparency of financing, the quality of infrastructure and compliance with environmental and corporate social responsibility standards.

Image: land and sea trade corridors of the “new silk road”
Image: land and sea trade corridors of the “new silk road” Source: Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Research

By Barbara Castelletti-Font, Pavel Diev and William Honvo

Severe financial market stress can result in significant errors in the forecasting of quarterly GDP growth. This post focuses on the impact of financial variables on the short-term forecasting of GDP in France. A financial conditions indicator can provide useful qualitative information to the forecaster on the risks associated with the baseline projection.

Severe financial market stress can result in significant errors in the forecasting of quarterly GDP growth. This post focuses on the impact of financial variables on the short-term forecasting of GDP in France. A financial conditions indicator can provide
Chart 1: Relationship between the Country-Level Index of Financial Stress (CLIFS) and GDP growth in France GDP quarter-on-quarter growth, 10% of the obs. with lowest GDP, rest of the obs. Sources: Banque de France, ECB and INSEE

By Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi, Pierre Bui-Quang et Pierre Sicsic

The primary income surplus has been growing for several years. Since 2010, the increase of around EUR 10 billion in the income of French residents working abroad has been higher than that of direct investment (DI) income. The improvement in the income balance is now driven by employee compensation.

Chart 1: A significant improvement in the balance of compensation of cross-border commuters since 2010
Chart 1: A significant improvement in the balance of compensation of cross-border commuters since 2010 Source: Banque de France’s Annual Report on the Balance of Payments. Note: primary income surplus expressed in billions of euro (EUR bn). PI: Portfolio investment; OI: Other investment

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