Credit-to-GDP gaps

Updated 11 March 2018

The published series cover 44 economies starting at the earliest in 1961. The credit-to-GDP gap is defined as the difference between the credit-to-GDP ratio and its long-run trend. The credit-to-GDP ratio as published in the BIS database of total credit to the private non-financial sector, capturing total borrowing from all domestic and foreign sources, is used as input data.

Importantly, while the use of these total credit series as input data facilitates comparability across countries, it means that the credit-to-GDP gaps published by the BIS may differ from credit-to-GDP gaps considered by national authorities as part of their countercyclical capital buffer decisions. The gap indicator was adopted as a common reference point under Basel III to guide the build-up of countercyclical capital buffers. Authorities are expected, however, to apply judgment in the setting of the buffer in their jurisdiction after using the best information available to gauge the build-up of system-wide risk rather than relying mechanistically on the credit-to-GDP guide. For instance, national authorities may form their policy decisions using credit-to-GDP ratios that are based on different data series from the BIS's as input data, leading to credit-to-GDP gaps that differ from those published by the BIS. See also the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision page on countercyclical capital buffer.

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