Monetary policy and the flow of funds in the euro area
This paper provides new evidence on the transmission of monetary policy in the euro area, assessing the impact of an unexpected increase of the short-term interest rates on the lending and borrowing activity in different economic sectors. We exploit the information content of the flow-of-funds statistics, providing the best framework to analyse the flow of funds from lenders to borrowers. After estimating a small VAR for the euro area, we extend the benchmark model with the flow-of-funds series, analysing the response of these variables to a contractionary monetary policy shock. We find that the policy tightening is followed by a worsening of the budget deficit, firms cut down on their demand for bank loans, partially replacing them with inter-company loans, and draw on their liquidity to try to offset the fall in revenue associated with the slowdown in economic activity, while households increase precautionary saving in the short run. Consistent with the bank lending channel of monetary policy, the interest rate hike is followed by a short-run deceleration in credit growth, mainly driven by the response of banks.
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