Current economic developments

Post n°183
Published on 10/02/2020

By Luc Jacolin and Khalil Bechchani

Official development assistance (ODA) should be bolstered in 2020 by the international response to the Covid-19 crisis, whose impact in low-income countries is still uncertain. The main challenge is to ensure that the efforts undertaken will be sufficient and sustainable: increasing ODA is desirable if the sustainable development goals for 2030 are not to be compromised.

Chart 1: Changes in financial flows entering LICs (in USD billions)
Chart 1: Changes in financial flows entering LICs (in USD billions) Sources: World Bank, OECD and Banque de France estimates for 2020.
Post n°182
Published on 09/30/2020

By Pierre Aldama, Hadrien Camatte, Jean-François Ouvrard and Paul Sabalot

According to the Banque de France macroeconomic projections published on 14 September 2020, after declining by 8.7% in 2020, GDP growth is expected to stand at 7.4% in 2021 and 3.0% in 2022. Despite this apparently impressive rebound, the economic catching-up process should in reality only be very gradual. GDP should only return to its pre-crisis level at the beginning of 2022. This post provides a few explanations of these unusual growth rates.

Chart 1: France: Projections of the volume of GDP, compared to the post-2008 trajectory
Chart 1: France: Projections of the volume of GDP, compared to the post-2008 trajectory Sources: Insee, Banque de France
Post n°181
Published on 09/25/2020

By Emilie Hermet and Dorothée de Franclieu

In response to the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis, the European Commission has authorised a temporary easing of the framework governing the use of State aid. While this measure was necessary in an emergency situation, it is likely to distort competition in the internal market if it is used on a wide, prolonged and heterogeneous basis.

Chart 1: Breakdown by country of State aid ceilings authorised by the Commission from 19 March to 8 July 2020
Chart 1: Breakdown by country of State aid ceilings authorised by the Commission from 19 March to 8 July 2020 Sources: European Commission data (estimated ceiling amounts) and author's calculations. The amount of State aid paid out can be de facto much lower than the ceiling amount, in particular in the case of loan guarantees (e.g. Germany).
Post n°180
Published on 09/16/2020

By Vivien Levy-Garboua, François Mouriaux, Tatiana Mosquera Yon and Mylène Sabatini

Since the 2008 financial crisis, captive financial institutions (special-purpose financial holding companies), subsidiaries of non-financial corporations (NFCs), have helped to drive growth in the financial sector, causing it to outstrip GDP growth. This trend reflects the increasingly complex and international organisational structures adopted by NFCs, but does not appear to have been accompanied by growth in risky financial transactions by these entities.

Chart 1a. Foreign direct investment by country, liabilities, % of GDP
Chart 1a. Foreign direct investment by country, liabilities, % of GDP Source: ECB
Post n°178
Published on 08/20/2020

Are the effects of a fiscal stimulus greater in situations in which central banks are stuck at the zero lower bound (ZLB)? The question is still debated in the economic literature but some empirical evidence suggests that the ZLB per se does not seem to increase the effects of a fiscal stimulus, while economic slack and loose monetary policy do: this bodes well for the fiscal response to the covi19 crisis.

Source: Glocker, Sestieri and Towbin (2019).
Figure 1. UK fiscal multiplier of output Source: Glocker, Sestieri and Towbin (2019).
Post n°177
Published on 08/13/2020

The health crisis has severely impacted global trade and revived debates about the location of production. The widespread onshoring of manufacturing activities would mean abandoning the gains from international specialisation, but without necessarily making value chains more resilient. Given that French companies mainly source their inputs from Europe, a coordinated, EU-wide industrial strategy seems more appropriate.

Chart 1: Percentage change in volumes of manufacturing output and external trade between January-April 2019 and January-April 2020
Chart 1: Percentage change in volumes of manufacturing output and external trade between January-April 2019 and January-April 2020 Source: CPB World Trade Monitor. Authors' calculations.
Post n°176
Published on 08/05/2020

By Annabelle de Gaye, Cristina Jude

In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the US authorities adopted an unprecedented set of fiscal measures, targeting households in particular. These measures aim at preserving the purchasing power of US households, but less than half of this additional income should be spent.

Chart 1. Compared fiscal policy responses 2020/2008
Chart 1. Compared fiscal policy responses 2020/2008 Source: Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
Post n°174
Published on 07/28/2020

By Barbara Castelletti, Marie Delorme, Pavel Diev, Yannick Kalantzis, Antoine Lalliard and Matteo Mogliani

The COVID-19 crisis has required a real-time monitoring of economic activity, which has not been possible with the usual data. However, by using high-frequency data, such as electricity consumption and credit card transactions, it has been possible to estimate the magnitude of the shock and the timing of the rebound at an early stage, for both industrial production and for household consumption.

Chart 1: Impact of the health crisis on household consumption and firms' electricity consumption  (%)
Chart 1: Impact of the health crisis on household consumption and firms' electricity consumption (%) Note: Deviation from a normal level (households) or from the historical average (firms). Household consumption is estimated by credit card transactions. Electricity consumption is adjusted for temperatures and working days.
Post n°169
Published on 07/03/2020

Climate policy has so far had limited results despite national commitments under the Paris agreement. Various scenarios establishing a cost-benefit balance of this policy bring to light the main obstacles it is facing. Its net gains are highly significant but remote in time and very unevenly distributed between countries.

Chart 1: Impact on world GDP of global warming and climate policies (as a % of GDP)
Chart 1: Impact on world GDP of global warming and climate policies (as a % of GDP) Source : Alestra, Cette, Chouard and Lecat (2020)
Post n°165
Published on 06/10/2020

Sharp increases in government debt have occurred in post-war periods. While inflation, albeit at times moderate, was the norm in the 20th century, this had not occurred in previous centuries, even though wars had led to similar increases in public debt. One of the reasons for this is that this debt was set aside in a sinking fund for repayment at a later date.

Chart 1: Inflation and government debt in the United Kingdom (1700-1950)
Chart 1: Inflation and government debt in the United Kingdom (1700-1950) Source: Bank of England

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