Research Newsletter Online 3/2009



The recent turmoil in the US residential housing markets has had significant international financial, macroeconomic and in particular housing market repercussions. In the latter market, the turmoil has affected mainly the market for owner-occupied housing in various countries. A distinctive characteristic of this market is that most owners have less than a complete equity share in their home, so that they typically obtain a mortgage and borrow against the collateral value of their home. It is generally thought that financial innovations during the last 20–30 years have made it easier for households to borrow against the collateral value of their homes.
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Housing markets – a shelter from the storm or cause of the storm?

Almost eighty participants from Europe, the United States and Asia took part in this conference which was jointly organized by SUERF and the Bank of Finland. This was the fourth of their joint conferences taking place every second year.
In their welcoming words and opening address Catherine Lubochinsky, President of SUERF, and Sinikka Salo, Member of the Board of the Bank of Finland, respectively, both noted that asset prices are back on the agenda of central banks' policy discussions. Dr. Salo also reminded us of the important role played by well functioning structures and institutions of housing markets in providing cost-effective and quality housing to society.
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Oil price affects the economies of oil-producing countries in many ways

The price of oil has fluctuated greatly in recent years. Gyrations in the prices of oil and other commodities have traditionally had major impacts on the economies of both the developed industrial countries and countries that produce commodities. According to Hamilton (2009), higher oil prices have made a significant contribution for example to the recent economic difficulties of the United States by reducing consumers’ disposable income. On the other hand, Blanchard and Galí (2007) suggested that the sensitivity of Western industrialised countries to oil price movements clearly diminished since the first oil crisis, due to both higher energy efficiency in those countries and better economic policy responses to oil shocks.
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Jouko Vilmunen

Bank of Finland
ISSN 1796-9131

PO Box 160,
FI–00101 Helsinki

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Research Newsletter 3/2009 (PDF)