The Impact of LTV policy on Bank Lending: Evidence from Disaggregate Housing Loan Data
How did the Loan-to-Value (LTV) measures aimed at increasing resilience of the banking system affect banks’ lending? This paper utilizes bank-level and contract-level data of housing credit in Thailand spanning from 2004 to 2017, and applies the panel data and probit approaches in evaluating the impact of LTV measures introduced in 2009, 2011 and 2013 on the housing loans. We find that the LTV measures had an impact on banks’ risk-taking behavior in ways consistent with the policy’s objectives. The effects manifest in a reshaping of LTV distribution of the targeted loan sector rather than a credit growth slowdown at the bank level. In addition, the size of adjustment varies across different types of banks, with stronger response from large and small banks compared with medium banks. Overall, our results suggest that certain macroprudential policies can achieve target-specific outcome, but with differential impact across banks. Nevertheless, questions remain regarding the channels through which LTV measures impact bank lending and factors underlying diverging response among banks.
Bank Profitability and Risk-Taking in a Low Interest Rate Environment: The Case of Thailand
This paper studies the effects of monetary policy on the bank profitability and risk-taking. Using banklevel and account-level data sets of Thai banks during the period 2004-2017, we find that lower interest rates tend to reduce profitability. The effect works mainly through the impact of the interest rates on bank net interest income. At the bank level we find limited evidence of increased riskiness in the overall balance sheet of Thai banks when interest rates are low. However, the account-level results from a duration analysis suggest that low rates may lead to higher loan default risk and lower loan quality for long-term loans, particularly those in the portfolio of small and medium banks. Small firms seem to be more affected by bank risk-taking behavior. We also find that when the interest rate remains low for a protracted period, this tends to further increase bank risk-taking in new loans, though it helps lower the default risk for existing loans. The findings overall point to the potential unintended consequences of a low-for-long monetary policy accommodation with implications on financial stability.
Labour Supply of Married Women in Thailand: 1985-2016
This study investigates the labour supply behaviour of married Thai women with reference to their own and their spouse’s wages. By utilising data of the national Labour Force Survey in Thailand from 1985 to 2016, the wage imputation technique and the instrumental variables approach are applied to correct sample selection and to alleviate endogeneity, common issues that cause bias in estimating female labour supply. By controlling for spousal education and number of children, the main findings indicate an inverse relationship between married women’s labour supply and wages, contrary to the results found in most developed countries. The estimated own wage elasticity ranges from -1.70 to -2.40 and cross elasticity ranges from -0.16 to -0.17, indicating that the impact of own wage on labour supplied is much larger than spouse’s wage. The results from disaggregation classified according to different socioeconomic backgrounds also show the negative elasticities between own and spouses’ wage across all subgroups, except for those with university degrees and higher income.
Evaluating Thailand’s Free Basic Electricity Program
This study evaluates the performance of Thailand’s Free Basic Electricity (FBE) program along three dimensions: targeting effectiveness, benefit adequacy, and subsidy burden distribution. While the FBE benefits reaches the targeted population (low-income families) quite well, the benefit leakage to the non-targeted population could result in a significant increase in the overall subsidy cost. Furthermore, the current 50-unit free quota given by the FBE program is insufficient for the basic need of many low-income families. Lastly, the FBE subsidy burden falls exclusively on the industrial/commercial customers, but the cost increase has been rather small. Therefore, Thailand’s FBE program can be markedly improved by introducing a more effective targeting approach to reduce leakage, which will allow the government to raise the free electricity quota while maintaining the same overall subsidy cost.
Economic impacts of Political Uncertainty in Thailand
This paper aims to analyze political uncertainty in Thailand by looking at various dimensions of political uncertainty and quantifying the economic impacts. Based on keyword search in Thai-language newspapers, the paper proposes five measures related to different aspects of political uncertainty. These are: (1) political protest (2) official measures in dealing with political violence (3) coup d’état (4) parliament dissolution or election and (5) political structural reform, including the aggregate index of political uncertainty. We find that the overall political uncertainty in Thailand has been in the rising trend during the past 20 years. In particular, during the past 10 years, the main source of Thai political uncertainty comes from uncertainty related to political structural reform. Based on various econometric specifications, rising political uncertainty is found to have significant negative impacts on the Thai economy both in the short run – particularly, private investment – and economic growth in the long run. Nevertheless, we find that the degree of the economic impact and statistical significance on different components of macroeconomy is quite varied, reflecting complicated interaction between political factors and economic outcome.
Price Setting Behavior in Thailand: Evidence from Micro CPI Data
The nature of price setting has important implications for a wide range of issues in macroeconomics. This paper examines the patterns of price adjustment at the micro level in order to further our understanding of price rigidity at the aggregate level, as well as the underlying factors driving inflation dynamics more generally. We highlight 5 stylized facts: 1) Prices change infrequently with a mean duration of approximately 4 to 7 months between price changes; 2) Price decreases are common accounting for roughly 45 percent of all price changes; 3) Price changes, both increases and decreases, are sizable compared to the prevailing inflation rate; 4) The size of price changes covaries strongly with the rate of inflation, whereas the fraction of items changing prices does not; and 5) There is significant dispersion in price levels as well as in the synchronicity of price changes across geographical regions.
Extrapolative Beliefs and Exchange Rate Markets
Following Engel (2016) and Valchev (2015), this paper documents the relationship between interest rate differentials and differential returns on domestic and foreign bonds over time horizon using a broader data sample. I find that countries with higher contemporaneous interest rates earn excess positive bond returns initially in accordance with previous UIP literature. However, the sign of excess returns reverses in the medium run. Higher contemporaneous interest rates predict negative excess returns. Eventually, interest differentials have no excess return predictability. I argue that behavioral bubbles are natural and successful candidates in generating exchange rate dynamics observed in the data. In particular, I propose that investors rely not only on fundamentals (interest differentials) but also extrapolate past exchange rates when forming expectations. The proposed extrapolative model is consistent with both excess return patterns and survey evidence in the data.
A Microscopic View of Thailand’s Foreign Exchange Market: Players, Activities, and Networks
This paper explores Thailand’s foreign exchange (FX) market landscape by utilizing the Bank of Thailand’s supervisory Financial Market Statistics (FMST) data which covers the universe of onshore foreign exchange transactions in Thailand. Historical developments regarding different groups of market players and the use of foreign exchange instruments, as well as the overall market structure are documented. Through the lens of network analysis, we also provide topological descriptions of Thailand’s FX market landscape, with applications on interbank network stability. We observe low degree of concentration among the dealer banks in terms of market turnover share. In contrast, from a customer’s perspective, market share is highly concentrated within a handful of large FX customers. The network connectivity among different groups of players suggests that the Thai FX market is one that is rather segmented and clustered among similar players. A substantial degree of specialization is evident across banks in terms of FX instruments and market segments, both in the interbank network and in the retail market. Probing into the interbank network stability, we find a small subset of banks to be truly central to the FX market network, though the system appears to hold up well in stress times supported by fluidity among interbank players.
Dynamic Connectedness in Emerging Asian Equity Markets
This paper examines dynamic connectedness among emerging Asian equity markets as well as explores their linkages vis-à-vis other major global markets. We find that international equity markets are tightly integrated. Measuring connectedness based on a generalized Vector Autoregressive model, more than half of all total forecast error variance in equity return and volatility shocks come from other markets as opposed to country own shocks. When examining the degree of connectedness over time, we find that international stock markets have become increasingly connected, with a gentle upward trend since the Asian financial crisis but with a rapid burst during the global financial crisis. Despite the growing importance of Asian emerging markets in the world economy, we find that their influence on advanced economies is still relatively small, with no significant increase over time. During the past decade, advanced markets have been consistently net transmitters of shocks while emerging Asian markets act as net receivers. Based on the nature of equity shock spillovers, we also find that advanced countries are still tightly connected amongst themselves while intraregional connectedness within Asia remains strong. By investigating whether uncertainty plays an important role in explaining the degree of stock market connectedness, we find that economic policy uncertainty from the US is an important source of financial shock spillover for the majority of international equity markets. In contrast, US financial market uncertainty as proxied by the VIX index drives equity market spillovers only among advanced economies.
FX Hedging Behavior among Thai Exporters: A Micro-level Evidence
Over the past 20 years, Thailand’s FX hedging market has evolved to accommodate demands from rising trade and investment activities. Notwithstanding the growth in the use of FX derivative instruments for investment risk management by outward investment funds and non-residents, FX hedging demand from merchandise trade remains a significant part of the market. This paper utilizes a transactional database that disaggregates exporters according to their firm-level characteristics in order to explain their hedging behavior over periods of exchange rate fluctuation. FX hedging by exporters is found to be sensitive to the movement in exchange rate and past hedging experience. These sensitivities give rise to periods of panic or complacency. The effects also vary across exporters with different sizes.
Why So Low for So Long? A long-term View of Real Interest Rates
Prevailing explanations of the decline in real interest rates since the early 1980s are premised on the notion that real interest rates are driven by variations in desired saving and investment. But based on data stretching back to 1870 for 19 countries, our systematic analysis casts doubt on this view. The link between real interest rates and saving-investment determinants appears tenuous. While it is possible to find some relationships consistent with the theory in some periods, particularly over the last 30 years, they do not survive over the extended sample. This holds both at the national and global level. By contrast, we find evidence that persistent shifts in real interest rates coincide with changes in monetary regimes. Moreover, external influences on countries’ real interest rates appear to reflect idiosyncratic variations in interest rates of countries that dominate global monetary and financial conditions rather than common movements in global saving and investment. All this points to an underrated role of monetary policy in determining real interest rates over long horizons.
The Impact of Imperfect Financial Integration and Trade on Macroeconomic Volatility and Welfare in Emerging Markets
This study examines how international integration impacts macroeconomic volatility and welfare in emerging market economies (EMEs), employing a two-country real business cycle model with constrained cross-border borrowing and imperfect access to international financial market. Parameter calibration employs 2000-2013 trade and external debt data from EMEs. The simulation shows that higher foreign debt raises output volatility, slightly reduces consumption volatility of entrepreneurs who can borrow abroad, and brings about welfare loss due to higher debt interest payments and less consumption. Households who can only save in domestic markets are largely unaffected. Restricted financial integration does not have much adverse impact when people face no other frictions domestically, suggesting the importance of domestic financial development. Higher international trade tends to be favorable for output variability, consumption smoothing, and welfare, but does not play a significant role on how cross-border borrowing affects macroeconomic volatility. The results suggest that the impacts of financial and trade integration are generally independent. It might be difficult for EMEs to achieve evident gains from greater financial integration even with high trade intensity when market imperfection exists. Increasing only trade or both types of integration together can be Pareto improving that lowers aggregate fluctuation, whereas increasing only private external debt is not.
Targeting Credit through Community Members
Delegating the allocation of public resources to community members is an increasingly popular form of delivering development programs and are associated with a tradeoff between improved information about potential beneficiaries and favoritism towards local elites. Unlike targeting cash transfers to the poor, the optimal targeting of credit is a more complex problem involving issues of productivity, repayment, and market responses: This paper analyzes this problem using a large-scale lending program, the Thai Million Baht Credit Fund, which decentralizes the allocation of loans to an elected group of community members, and provides three main results. First, exploiting a long and detailed panel, I recover pre-program structural estimates of household total factor productivity and find that resources from the program were not allocated to high-productivity, poor households, which is inconsistent with poverty and productive efficiency as targeting criteria. Second, using socioeconomic networks data, I show that actual targeting is strongly driven by connections to village elites and is related to lower program profitability, which suggests favoritism as a reason for mistargeting. Finally, I exploit quasi-experimental variation in the rollout of the program and uncover evidence that, in general equilibrium, informal credit markets compensate for targeting distortions by redirecting credit towards unconnected households, albeit at higher interest rates than those provided by the program. The results highlight the limitations of community-driven approaches to program delivery and the role of markets in attenuating potential targeting errors.
The Impact of Cash Transfers on Child Outcomes in Rural Thailand: Evidence from a Social Pension Reform
Unlike standard literature on the social pension policy and children’s outcomes, this paper provides evidence from Thailand that an introduction of small (equivalent to 2-3 days of minimum wage) but universally covered social pension can affect educational choice and work status of children living with eligible pensioners. Such a result seems to be driven by the characteristics of newly eligible pensioners who are not as poor as the pensioners under the targeted program before the reform. Our findings also show differential effects of the social pension by genders of the children and pensioners. In particular, teenage boys living with male pensioners are more likely to enroll in the secondary school compared to children in the control group living with almost eligible seniors, while the results for teenage girls are rather inconclusive.
Minimum Wage and Lives of the Poor: Evidence from Thailand
Studying how the poor respond to the minimum wage policy in Thailand, I find that a notable increase in the minimum wage has no significant impact on employment among the poor even though wage plays a vital but heterogeneous role in determining employment. Also, this policy can significantly boost expenditure among the poor residing in provinces where the minimum wage is adjusted dramatically. Surprisingly, food does not account for the largest share of consumption as the income of the poor rises. The results are still robust to additional controls and redefinition of the poverty.