Monetary Policy and the Economy Q3/10
- September 2010.
Monetary Policy and the Economy Q3/10 (PDF, 1.2 MB) September 2010.
Global Economy Continues to Recover (PDF, 691 kB) Fenz, Mayer, Schreiner. Fenz, Mayer, Schreiner – Monetary Policy and the Economy Q3/10 The economic recovery, which had started in Asia and then quickly spread to the U.S.A., recently lost momentum in both regions. In the second quarter of 2010, the U.S. economy recorded real GDP growth (in annualized terms) of a mere 1.7% quarter on quarter, following 3.7% in the first three months of 2010 and 5.0% in the final quarter of 2009. In Japan, quarterly real GDP dropped to 0.4% in the second quarter of 2010 from 1.2% in the first quarter. Meanwhile, the global economy continues to benefit most from the momentum of the Asian threshold countries. China, which has replaced Japan as the third largest economy (after the U.S.A. and the euro area), posted 10.3% growth in the second quarter of 2010, only slightly less than in the previous quarter. In light of its vibrant import performance, China’s current account surplus is likely to be lower in 2010 than it was in 2009. In contrast to global developments, the European economy saw a growth spurt in the second quarter of 2010 thanks to unexpectedly favorable developments in Germany, which compensated for problems in the southern and western periphery of the euro area. Growth was driven above all by international trade, with the low euro exchange rate recorded in spring supporting the pickup of exports. In the second quarter of 2010, real GDP in the euro area climbed by 1.0% on the previous quarter, i.e. more strongly than expected. All euro area countries, excluding Greece, posted an expansion, with Germany being the main driver (2.2%). According to the most recent forecasts, the euro area is expected to rebound more markedly than previously envisaged. At an unchanged 10.0%, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the euro area recorded in July 2010 continued to mark the highest value in twelve years. At 1.8%, the inflation rate remained moderate in September 2010. The latest forecasts do not point to any threats to price stability up until end-2011. The gradual economic recovery, which had become evident in the Central, Eastern and Southeastern European (CESEE) countries at end-2009, stabilized in the first six months of 2010, as the region, on balance, posted clearly positive quarter-on-quarter growth rates. Restocking and exports continued to buttress the economy, while consumption and investment did not foster growth in a sustainable manner. Despite a slight increase, inflation still remains at a relatively modest level. Financial markets have quieted for the time being after the turbulence of early summer 2010. In some countries, however, the situation remains highly uncertain. After an exceptionally powerful economic revival in Austria mid-2010, the OeNB expects continued robust economic activity in the second half of 2010 and a slowdown in line with world trade developments toward the end of the year. In 2010 as a whole, the Austrian economy is expected to grow by almost 2% on the back of animated export demand. Considering that the recession was very pronounced, the current upturn is fairly restrained, and domestic demand is still too weak for a self-sustained upswing. en global outlook, euro area, central and (south-)eastern Europe, Austria E2, E3, O1 Sep 30, 2010, 12:00:00 AM
The Austrian Labor Market and the Great Recession: Developments and Measures Taken (PDF, 805 kB) Stiglbauer. Stiglbauer – Monetary Policy and the Economy Q3/10 As the international financial and economic crisis unfolded, labor market conditions in Austria started to deteriorate in mid-2008, marking the onset of one of the severest crisis episodes in the Austrian labor market since World War II. Its effects have been surprisingly small, however, considering the scale of the decline in real economic activity. The reason for this moderate impact was that total hours worked declined more sharply than headcount employment. The working hour reductions were much more substantial than can be explained by short-time work alone, though. An international comparison shows country differences in the extent to which the decline in employment was based on reductions in headcount or hours worked per employee. Austria and Germany are among those countries in which hours worked declined most sharply, which made it possible to keep more people in employment. Even though labor market conditions in Austria have been improving over the past few months, unemployment figures and the number of participants in training programs by the Austrian Public Employment Service are still higher than they were before the crisis. Employment figures, too, have not yet returned to precrisis levels.. en labor demand, recession, public policy E24, J22, J48 Sep 30, 2010, 12:00:00 AM
Changes in the Wage Distribution in Austria: An Analysis Based on European Union Structure of Earnings Survey Data (PDF, 831 kB) Pointner, Stiglbauer. Pointner, Alfred Stiglbauer – Monetary Policy and the Economy Q3/10 The dispersion of hourly wages in Austria hardly changed between 1996 and 2002. Somewhat weaker growth at the bottom of the distribution implies that wage inequality increased slightly. Compared with other EU countries, however, the distribution of wages remained remarkably stable in Austria. A decomposition of the changes in the wage distribution shows that the relatively small overall change is attributable to some contrasting developments. Apparently, both market-driven and predetermined factors contributed to this marginal increase in wage inequality. In particular, higher education levels and higher returns to education caused stronger growth in the upper wage dispersion range. At the same time, the rise in women’s participation in the workforce was one of the main reasons for lower wages to grow less strongly. These developments caused higher wage inequality on the one hand; on the other hand, the returns to general work experience deteriorated, which, in turn, had an equalizing effect on wages. The data also show that the differences in wages for men and women remained almost unchanged over time. en wage structure, quantile regression, Machado-Mata decomposition, European Union J22, J31 Sep 30, 2010, 12:00:00 AM
Discount Pricing in Austria: Insights into Retail Business Practices and HICP Coverage (PDF, 614 kB) Fluch, Rumler, Wittenberger. Fluch, Rumler, Wittenberger – Monetary Policy and the Economy Q3/10 Discount pricing – the strategy of reducing regular prices through quantity, seasonal, cash or promotional discounts, coupons, customer loyalty programs and the like – plays an important role in retail pricing and is widespread business practice in virtually all retail industries in Austria. This is the main result of our study, for which we surveyed major Austrian retailers and analyzed empirical data compiled by A.C. Nielsen. Moreover, we found that shoppers who participate in customer loyalty programs benefit from discounts more frequently and pay less on average than shoppers who do not. In Austria, three out of four consumers held at least one loyalty card in 2008. All in all, some 30 million loyalty cards were circulating in Austria at the time, with five cards per cardholder being the average. 90% of respondents indicated the prospect of instant rebates as the main incentive for holding loyalty cards. The retailers participating in the OeNB survey generate roughly one-third of their sales revenue under customer loyalty programs. On the consumer side, the average level of retail discounting (as established in the OeNB survey) adds up to a purchasing power effect of approximately EUR 300 million a year. In addition, the paper assesses the HICP coverage of discounts with a view to drawing lessons for policymaking. The current measurement practices are found to reflect some but not all forms of discounting. Looking ahead, it would be advisable to change measurement practices to catch the effect of customer loyalty programs, as they are common in many industries and tend to generate higher discounts than other discounting practices. The most suitable method would be to cover retailers who run loyalty programs throughout Austria and offer the same terms to all cardholders. Retail scanners could provide useful price data for inflation measurement. en discount pricing, price differentiation, customer loyalty program, retail business, D11, D12, E31, L81 Sep 30, 2010, 12:00:00 AM
Technological Change in the Field of Payment Instruments – Long-Term Implications for Monetary Policy and Competition Policy (PDF, 267 kB) Stix, Summer. Stix, Summer – Monetary Policy and the Economy Q3/10 In July 2010 the Oesterreichische Nationalbank hosted a workshop entitled “Consumer Payment Choice and the Demand for Money,” which provided insights into state-of-the-art research on payment habits and cash demand. The papers presented showed that there is a vast potential for new research in this field – in particular, when new theoretical approaches are combined with newly available micro data on household payment habits. This holds the promise of uncovering interesting new findings on the implications of technological change in the field of payment instruments for monetary and competition policies. Thus, it is of substantial importance for central banks to participate in such research activities. en Sep 30, 2010, 12:00:00 AM