Consumption effects of mortgage payment holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic

Alexandra Varadi and and Bruno Albuquerque

Mortgage payment holidays (PH) were introduced in March 2020 to help households who might have struggled to keep up with mortgage payments due to the pandemic. It allowed a suspension of mortgage principal and interest repayments for a maximum of six months, without affecting households’ credit risk scores. Given the novelty of the policy, we study in a new paper whether mortgage PH have supported household consumption during the pandemic, especially for those more financially vulnerable. Using transaction-level data, we find that temporary liquidity relief provided by PH allowed liquidity-constrained households to maintain higher annual consumption growth compared to those not eligible for the policy. We also find that PH led more financially stable households to increase their saving rates, not their consumption.

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Bouncebackability of exports after the Great Trade Collapse of 2008/9

John Lewis and Selien De Schryder.

Did the dramatic fall in global trade exports in 2008/9 stem from a temporary shock, or did it herald a permanently lower level of trade?  The answer has important implications for the UK’s growth prospects.  If it was a permanent hit, then the UK’s weak export growth after the crisis is more explicable, but external growth sources have become less fruitful. We find that advanced economies as a whole exhibited a high degree of bouncebackability, since exports recovered to levels consistent with the pre-crisis relationship between output and exports.  But this masks considerable variability at the country level, with UK exports in particular recovering by less than expected.

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