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The authors propose a novel framework to assess financial system risk. Using a dynamic factor framework based on state-space methods, they construct coincident measures ('Thermometers') and a forward looking indicator for the likelihood of simultaneous failure of a large number of financial intermediaries. The indicators are based on latent macro-financial and credit risk components for a large data set comprising the U.S., the EU-27 area, and the respective rest of the world. Credit risk conditions can significantly and persistently de-couple from macro-financial fundamentals. Such decoupling can serve as an early warning signal for macro-prudential policy.
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