By Ludivine Berret, Bruno Cabrillac and Céline Rochon

G7 countries activated several economic policy levers to respond to the 2008 crisis, in particular monetary and fiscal policy. As a result, their ability to stimulate the economy or deal with future crises has been reduced. Consequently, the temptation to conduct beggar-thy-neighbour policies, despite their harmful effects, could be exacerbated. Even though its weight in global GDP has declined significantly since the late 1980s, the G7—whose presidency is held by France in 2019—remains the appropriate forum for curbing this temptation.

Chart 1: Reduction of the weight of the G20 and the G7 in global GDP
Chart 1: Reduction of the weight of the G7 in global nominal GDP Source: Datastream and IMF-World Economic Outlook (WEO).

By Laurent Ferrara and Charles-Emmanuel Teuf

What role does the international environment play in shaping US monetary policy decisions? To measure its influence, we construct an international indicator extracted from minutes of Fed monetary policy committee meetings. In a Taylor rule model, we show that the indicator has a significant and negative impact on the fed funds rate. Discussions centred more on the international environment may thus be associated with greater monetary policy easing.

Chart: International environment indicator and major events affecting the global economy
Chart: International environment indicator and major events affecting the global economy Note: The grey areas correspond to major international economic events. Indicator constructed from a textual analysis of FOMC minutes (1993-2017), authors’ calculations

By Hadrien Camatte and Guillaume Gaulier 

The contribution of foreign trade to French growth was strongly negative between 2014 and 2016. Although, on average, the contribution from sectoral specialisation is more positive in France than for its European partners, it also implies a dependence on a limited number of sectors. The difficulties experienced by France's stronghold export sectors explain a large part of the downturn in the French trade balance between 2014 and 2016.

Chart 1 – Cumulative contributions to growth in the foreign trade coverage ratio for non-energy goods (in %)
Chart 1 – Cumulative contributions to growth in the foreign trade coverage ratio for non-energy goods (in %) Sources: Customs authorities and authors’ calculations.

No one wins a trade war. Based on a multi-region dynamic general equilibrium model (GIMF), we show that a global and generalised 10 percentage point increase in import tariffs could reduce global GDP by 1% after two years. This effect could be amplified by a fall in productivity, a rise in the financing cost of capital and a decline in investment demand. Taking all these factors into account could result in lowering global real GDP by up to 3% after two years.

Chart 1: Impact of a generalised 10 percentage point increase in tariffs on global real GDP
Chart 1: Impact of a generalised 10 percentage point increase in tariffs on global real GDP Source: author’s calculations.

Reducing current account imbalances is often equated with curbing excessive exports or imports. However, legacies of the past can develop their own dynamics due to accruing income flows. Indeed, in some countries that have accumulated large foreign liabilities, current account adjustment has been impeded by large negative income flows despite substantial improvements in the trade balance.

Figure 1 Current account dynamics Source: IMF BoPS

The share of imports from low-wage countries in French households’ consumption increased threefold from 1994 to 2014. These less expensive imports lowered inflation in France by 0.17 pp per year on average. This direct effect of imports since 1994 represented a gain of about EUR 1,000 in terms of average household consumption in 2014. However, the indirect effects of opening up to international trade on households’ purchasing power, via wages and employment, were not taken into account.

Chart 1: Share of imports in households’ consumption (in %) Source: Carluccio et al. (2018) based on Customs and INSEE data Note: Only imports of final goods that are included in household consumption are taken into account.

Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are giant companies that reflect the more general phenomenon of concentration which is intensifying in most sectors in the United States. This trend is contributing to an increase in the share of profits and to a decrease in the share of labour in domestic income, as well as to a deepening of inequalities. It is also associated with a decline in the creation rate of new firms and jobs, which could in the longer term weigh on US growth.

The effects of the exchange rate on the exports of European firms depend to a large extent on their productivity. The exports of the most productive firms are less affected by exchange rate variations than those of the less productive firms. At the macroeconomic level, this tends to reduce the effects of the exchange rate on trade.

This blog post summarises a study covering the 1995-2007 period focusing on the local effects of Chinese import competition on the French labour market: the competition displaced jobs in the manufacturing sector; it also placed downward pressure on average hourly wages, and modified the wage distribution, with limited impacts on the lowest wages, probably as a result of the lower limit set by the statutory minimum wage.

The relationship between the rather volatile capital flows and domestic credit has become a major challenge from a financial stability point of view. It is at the origin of the implementation, in some economies, of capital flow management measures. Domestic credit sensitivity to cross-border inflows is amplified by the fixed exchange rate arrangements and the strong presence of foreign banks. The implications for countercyclical policies are significant.