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Macro Waves

Author: BNP Paribas Economic Research

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Stories about money and markets : Weekly talks from the Economic Research department of BNP Paribas with William De Vijlder, Group Chief Economist.
44 Episodes
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In this final episode, William De Vijlder analyses the responses of European governments tothe crisis generated by the pandemic. How to stimulate and maintain economic growthwhilst at the same time developing an environmental policy that meets the challenges ofclimate change? The “Next Generation EU” plan recently launched by the EuropeanCommission is discussed from this viewpoint.
In the second episode, François Doux and William De Vijlder discuss the profound socialchanges that the pandemic has brought about. The virus has put health at the centre ofpeople’s worlds, and stimulated new interest in environmental issues. William De Vijlderexplains why these changes in behaviour and mindset could prove to be long-lasting.
In the first episode of this series of podcasts, William De Vijlder and François Doux will lookat the concept of externalities to consider how lockdowns, by limiting human and economicactivity considerably, have affected the environment. They also examine the notion of“green swan” risks; climate-related risks that could threaten the economy.
In the final episode, William De Vijlder turns to the psychological factors in play when it comes to inflation. We will see that inflation, perceived inflation and expected inflation are three very different notions. William also looks at relative prices and absolute prices and discusses how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected prices and the nature of demand. Lastly, he will look at the possible impact of the pandemic on the strategy of central banks in terms of monetary policy over the coming years.
In this second episode, William De Vijlder turns to the real economy and examines the factors that could produce inflation. He draws the distinction between headline inflation and core inflation. Could core inflation, which is affected by tensions in the labour market and the markets for goods and services but also by inflation expectations, see an acceleration under current circumstances? William De Vijlder also looks at the supply side shock and the disruption of global value chains as a result of the pandemic. We will see how changes to these value chains could produce inflation.
In the first episode, William De Vijlder emphasizes that the risk of an increase in inflation is high on the list of frequently asked questions by clients. To tackle the negative effects of the pandemic on the economy, central banks have relaxed their monetary policies and increased the size of their balance sheets by making massive injections of liquidity into the system. For Monetarists (followers of the Chicago School, founded by Milton Friedman), this increase in money supply is the root cause of inflation. Will this theory be borne out in the current economic context?
In response to the pandemic, many governments took a vast range of measures to curb the impact of the pandemic on the economy. In this final episode, William De Vijlder shows how the state remains the “balance sheet of last resort” in the event of an economic crisis. He also reviews the current situation of public finances and what this implies in terms of dynamics of the debt/GDP ratio.
Central banks have played a key role in supporting the economy during the pandemic-induced recession. To do so, they increased the size of their balance sheet. William De Vijlder explains the mechanisms governing this increase in their balance sheet. Is there any limit on how far it might go? He also explains the concept of direct monetary financing.
The second episode focuses on non-financial companies. As well as having a considerable impact on their short-term (cash) and long-term assets (imperative of aligning their operational model with new requirements in terms of supply chain resilience), the Covid-19 crisis has obliged businesses to increase their indebtedness. This confronts them with a dilemma whether to strengthen their balance sheet by paying back debt or to maintain a high degree of leverage an invest.
In the first episode, William De Vijlder takes a look at households’ balance sheets by considering how assets and liabilities are influenced by the pandemic. We will also see how the loss of human capital due to the deterioration of the labour market plays a key role in the post-pandemic economic environment.
In the third podcast, William De Vijlder shows how a central bank’s persistently accommodating monetary policy to bring inflation in line with the target can have a negative impact over the long term, threatening both growth and financial stability. In case of a crisis, central banks no longer have much room to intervene, since they have used up their manoeuvring room in the pursuit of their inflation target.
How to strike the right balance between inflation and financial stability has been a source of debate for decades. In this second podcast, William De Vijlder shows how the central banks give priority to inflation targets over financial stability. He uses a few examples to illustrate how central banks will opt to hold a steady course even when confronted with the risk of instability, which is often caused by financial market turmoil.
In this podcast, we look at central banks policy objectives, which sometimes differ. The ECB’s top priority is to meet its inflation target, whereas the Fed is targeting both inflation and full employment. These objectives raise several questions: how can we measure inflation and full employment? How do central banks set their targets? And what instruments can be used to attain them? We will also see how central banks must deal with a constantly changing economic environment.
In this last episode, William De VIjlder will show us how negative rates can have an unfavourable impact on financial income and notably retirement savings capital. Other questions arise: are these negative rates causing an increase in households’ savings rate and is this increase to last? And if so, to what extent can the monetary policy be affected?
How negative rates can impact households and their savings? In this second part, we will see with William De Vijlder that there is no easy answer to this question given the heterogeneity of households and assets.
In the first episode of this podcast, William De Vijlder analyses the causes of negative rates while explaining how they can brought about the “paradox of thrift”. What does this concept cover? And how could negative rates foster the emergence of such a paradox?
What is the position of central banks/organizations such as BIS (Bank for International Settlements), ECB (European Central Bank), the Fed (Federal Reserve) and the Bank of Japan on the issue of financial stability? In this last episode, William De Vijlder will focus on the Bank of Japan which has been conducting a policy of low interest rates for 20 years. Learning about the impact that such long-term policy has had on the Japanese economic agents is particularly relevant in our current low-rate environment.
2008 crisis was a major financial crisis but it was far from unique. William De Vijlder gives an account of some of the most significant economic crises with a particular focus on the 20th century. He shows how central banks tried to adjust to economic circumstances and fight financial instability. It is to be noted that financial stability has been one of the main concerns of central banks since the 2000s. The 2008 financial crisis reinforced the ambition of stability with notably the set-up of international organisations such as the FSB (Financial Stability Board) in 2009.
In this episode, William De Vijlder gives a definition of what financial stability is: not only does it create a favourable environment for the smooth functioning of the economy but it also helps absorbing shocks brought about by unforeseen events which put interconnected economic agents (companies, households, the public sector) at risk. He also reviews the four factors which make countries vulnerable and reveals how shocks (whether endogenous or exogenous) may deeply impact the economy.
This last episode focuses on the impact of climate risk on the public sector balance sheet. How will states address the challenge of climate change? How will they manage the climate debt? Will they be able to implement the appropriate investment policies in a context of pressure on tax revenues? William De Vijlder exposes in this podcast the tremendous challenge faced by the public sector and the answers it is starting to provide. Interview conducted with François Doux.
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