Eco Notepad features educational articles that present the research, studies and economic expertise of the Banque de France. The blog is aimed at students, professionals, journalists and academics. Some articles will be devoted to analyses carried out by the Bank's branch network, on specific topics. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Banque de France, the Eurosystem, or the institutions employing these authors.
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The results of the 2020 Eco Notebook contest will be announced this autumn. The date and terms of the award ceremony will be communicated later.
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.
The health crisis has left a significant number of businesses in urgent need of cash. In response, public authorities have put in place various support mechanisms, including a scheme to provide State-Guaranteed Loans (SGLs). The credit mediation system is currently helping businesses that have received an initial refusal from a bank in response to their SGL request.
Chart 1: Number of requests for credit mediation from businesses (monthly average) Source: Banque de France, Credit Mediation Scheme for Businesses
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 (%) 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.
Bank solvency and liquidity risks mutually interact. Using a model that simultaneously estimates the solvency and liquidity ratios of French banks, it is possible to incorporate them jointly into a stress scenario. It shows that the financial environment has a significant impact, but only in times of crisis, and that solvency has an impact on liquidity, not vice versa.
Chart 1: Solvency ratio and liquidity ratio of French banks since 1993 Sources: ACPR, authors’ calculations.
By Martial Delmas, Lucas Devigne, Emmanuelle Politronacci, Ghjuvanni Torre
The demand for banknotes in the euro area has grown faster than GDP since the creation of the euro. Yet, paradoxically, the use of cash as a means of payment is tending to decline. The increase in the demand for banknotes seems to be mainly due to an increase in precautionary demand from economic agents.
Chart 1: Continual rise in nominal net banknote issuance (% of GDP) Sources: Banque de France (BdF), Currency Information System (CIS) of the Eurosystem and OECD
During the lockdown, inflation in France fell sharply while households expected a sharp increase. The profound and sudden change in the structure of household consumption and the strong dispersion of price changes for commonly purchased goods (fresh food, fuel) could explain this unprecedented divergence, which is set to narrow.
Chart 1: Inflation and households’ inflation expectations in France Sources: European Commission and Eurostat. Note: y-axis: balance of opinion on price developments over the next 12 months; x-axis: year-on-year % change in the HICP in France. Each point represents a date.
US dollar funding costs in foreign exchange markets rose sharply in March 2020 when the supply of US dollars in FX swap markets dried up with the onset of the pandemic. Central banks reacted quickly by activating swap lines, which enabled them to provide US dollar liquidity to banks in their jurisdictions.
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) Source : Alestra, Cette, Chouard and Lecat (2020)
With nominal interest rates close to zero, the scope for using conventional monetary policy becomes very limited. However, this liquidity trap does not undermine central banks’ capacity for action. A recent study shows that they can stimulate the economy even in periods of low interest rates, and that they are therefore equipped to act effectively in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Chart 1 – The effect of monetary easing remains positive in the euro area in ELB times Source: Lhuissier, Mojon and Jubio-Ramirez (2020). NB: The accommodative monetary policy decision (“monetary policy shock”) corresponds to a fall in two-year sovereign interest rates of the order of 10 basis points.
We assess the link between banks' commitments to take climate issues seriously, measured by a climate performance rating based on their declarations, and the changes in their lending in France to greenhouse gas emitting industries between 2010 and 2017. A higher score appears to be associated with lower growth in lending to large enterprises in the five most carbon-intensive industries. However, lending to SMEs is not affected.
Chart 1: Banks’ pro-climate commitments and share of loans to firms in the most carbon-intensive industries in France. Source: Banque de France, authors’ calculations.
The Eurosystem responded quickly to the COVID-19 crisis, deploying significant measures to support the provision of financing to the economy through the bank lending and market financing channels. The measures take three forms: credit operations have been adjusted and extended, collateral easing measures have been introduced, and securities purchase programmes have been strengthened.
Table: main monetary policy decisions taken in March-June 2020 Source: Banque de France
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) Source: Bank of England