Freitag, 24. Oktober 2014

Krisenbewältigung: USA vs. Europa

Der NYFED-Blog berichtet über eine Konferenz.

"Participants agreed that macroeconomic policy responses on both sides moved in the same direction in the first phase of the global financial crisis and were effective in avoiding a repetition of the Great Depression. The bifurcation took place in 2011 when the euro area, having failed to address early on its banking problems and confronted with the sovereign debt crisis, was caught in a negative feedback loop between bank credit risk and sovereign credit risk. The emergency measures that were adopted avoided the worst but resulted in pro-cyclical fiscal consolidation. Together with a credit crunch in a number of euro area countries, this led to a strong decline in demand in general and investment spending in particular. In the same period, the United States had to face challenges that also made its policy mix far from optimal, such as the abrupt fiscal consolidation in early 2013. Still, its macroeconomic stance was much less pro-cyclical and, helped by a healthier banking and financial sector, the U. S. economy was able to stage a meaningful recovery and approach the point where monetary normalization could start.

     Some participants considered that the main factor behind the different performances of the United States and the euro area was the reluctance to tackle decisively the euro  area banking problems at the beginning of the crisis. This failure gave rise to the negative feedback loop between banks and sovereigns that was the root cause of the double-dip recession in the euro area. Other participants, while agreeing that the euro area banking problems affected the policy sequence during the sovereign debt crisis, pointed out that the latter was significantly worsened by the excessively restrictive fiscal stance and the insufficient monetary accommodation, in particular in the 2011-12 period. The observation that credit problems in the euro area emerged only in 2012 helped support this view. Until that moment, credit growth had been stronger in the euro area than in the United States.

     Looking forward, some conference participants deemed the euro area to be more at risk of facing secular stagnation than the United States. The euro area has excess saving, as indicated by its large current account surplus, depressed domestic demand, unfavorable demographics, very low productivity growth, and interest rates stuck at the zero lower bound. However, others argued that secular stagnation is not inevitable and suggested, in particular, that repairing euro area bank balance sheets would be a step in the right direction. The asset quality review and the stress tests currently undertaken were considered pivotal in this respect."

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