How important is the Global Financial Cycle? Evidence from capital flows
This study quantifies the importance of a Global Financial Cycle (GFCy) for capital flows. We use capital flow data disaggregated by direction and type between Q1 1990 and Q4 2015 for 85 countries, and conventional techniques, models and metrics. Since the GFCy is an unobservable concept, we use two methods to represent it: directly observable variables in centre economies often linked to it, such as the VIX; and indirect manifestations, proxied by common dynamic factors extracted from actual capital flows. Our evidence seems mostly inconsistent with a significant and conspicuous GFCy; the two methods combined rarely explain more than a quarter of the variation in capital flows. Succinctly, most variation in capital flows does not seem to be the result of common shocks nor stem from observables in a central country like the United States.