Working Paper 133 - Monetary Policy Transmission, House Prices and Consumer Spending in South Africa: An SVAR Approach
AbstractThe study used a structural vector autoregressive approach to estimate and quantify the percentage decline in consumption expenditure, which can be attributed to changes in housing wealth, after monetary policy tightening. The effects are separated using a disaggregated Absa house price data, namely all-size, large-size and medium-size and small-size house prices.The results suggest that at the peak of the interest rate effects on consumption the combined effect of housing wealth and credit extension changes, following a monetary policy tightening, was a decline of 9.8 per cent in all-size, 3.7 per cent in small-size, 4.7 per cent in medium-size and 5.3 per cent in large-size houses. The findings indicate heterogeneity in the transmission of interest rate effects operating through housing wealth and the credit channel. Moreover, we reached the same conclusion after modifying the baseline model by adding the restrictions that house price also respond to both aggregate demand and aggregate supply variables. Lastly, the differences between the counterfactual consumption and the baseline consumption responses, provided little support for the assumption that the housing wealth channel is the dominant source of monetary policy transmission to consumption.This paper thus provided an understanding of the indirect channels through which monetary policy influences real variables by focusing on monetary policy transmission to consumption via house prices. We showed interest rate effects, working through both housing wealth and the credit channel, influence real spending. Thus, interest rate effects operating through housing wealth and the credit channel are felt differently by the four house categories. Moreover, the differences between the consumption impulse responses from the counterfactual and baseline scenarios provide little support that combined house wealth and credit effect channels are the dominant sources of monetary policy transmission to consumption. These findings suggest that the direct effects of high interest rates on consumption appear to be more important in transmitting monetary policy to the economy than through the indirect effects. Hence, monetary policy tightening can only marginally weaken inflationary pressures arising from excessive consumption operating through housing wealth and the credit channel.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by African Development Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 317.
Date of creation: 25 Jun 2011
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