World Economics

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Monetary policy
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Zura Kakushadze & Willie Yu, World Economics, December 2019
We discuss the idea of a purely algorithmic universal world iCurrency in light of recent developments, including Libra. We analyze the Libra proposal, including the stability and volatility aspects, and discuss various issues to be addressed. For example, one cannot expect a cryptocurrency such as Libra to trade in a narrow band without a robust monetary policy. A technical appendix (available online) provides a detailed mathematical description of the (crypto) FX rate dynamics in target zones.
What Shipping Can Tell Us About Europe’s Efforts to Face the Risk of COVID-19-Induced ‘Japanification’
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Theodore Pelagidis & Hercules Haralambides, World Economics, September 2020
Shipping leads the ‘dance’ on the way up and if this is indeed true, the post-COVID-19 economic recovery should not be long, if one is to judge from the relative prosperity of containerised shipping as of Q2, 2020. Most EU member states may face a new risk ahead: ‘Japanification’, an unwillingness to increase household spending and often business expenditure/demand, along with the inability of monetary policy to balance savings and investments. When things get better, and the COVID-19 infection curve flattens close to zero, European leaders will have to come up with new ideas on the rebirth of the European dream, if they want to prevent a new round of authoritarianism and populism throughout Europe.
China’s Monetary Policy Functions from the Core Inflation Perspective
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Yu Li Zhu & Lu Chang Rong, World Economics, September 2019
Based on the open-economy new Keynesian model, this paper studies the influence of core inflation on the central bank’s monetary policy reaction rules by optimising the multi-target welfare loss functions, and draws three conclusions. Sustainable balance of payments should be considered as a goal rather than a tool for monetary policy. The central bank should focus more on core inflation than normal inflation in its daily operations. An authoritative core inflation sequence should be established as a focal point in the policymaking process. In addition, we emphasise that the central bank should accurately judge the impacts of real exchange rate changes, and adjust how frequently it intervenes in interest rates.
Dissecting China’s Property Market Data
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Meiping (Aggie) Sun, World Economics, March 2016
This paper analyses Chinese property market data to evaluate recent trends in the market and to make prognoses for the future. It considers whether or not the existence of high prices and at the same time an enormous rise in residential supply in terms of floor space under construction means that there is a ``bubble'' in China's property market which may burst, similar to what happened in Japan in the early 1990s. Evidence that the price of new homes moves almost perfectly with sales of new residential floor space rather than with completed floor space suggests that the housing market is behaving normally and follows mini boom and bust cycles like other industries. The analysis finds that there are low maintenance costs for buyers after purchase due to the lack of annual property tax and negligible depreciation of bare-shelled housing units which limits the risk of default. Although recently developers are under pressure to raise more revenue mainly due to high interest-rate borrowing from shadow banks, the author considers that the probability of a systemic collapse of housing market is minimal given existing taxation systems, easing monetary policy and the continuing urbanization process.
Deflation? What Deflation? Statistical Origins of Japan’s Declining Price Levels
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Masanaga Kumakura, World Economics, June 2015
Although Japan’s CPI is often criticized for potential upward bias, it deals with improvements in the quality of individual goods in ways that make the statistical inflation rate much lower than actual price changes. Moreover, the quantitative importance of this effect has risen progressively since the early 2000s due to increased weights of technology-intensive electronic products and changes in the method of adjusting their prices for quality improvement. Once this artificial effect is taken into account, it becomes questionable that Japan’s recent deflation has been so serious as to justify the adventurous monetary policy currently implemented by its central bank.

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