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On the feasibility of monetary union among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: does the symmetry of shocks extend to the non-oil sector?

Louis, Rosmy and Balli, Faruk and Osman, Mohammad (2008): On the feasibility of monetary union among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: does the symmetry of shocks extend to the non-oil sector? Published in: Journal of Economics and Finance , Vol. 2, No. 36 (15. April 2012): pp. 319-334.

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Abstract

GCC countries’ output is heavily dichotomized into oil and non-oil. Oil shocks have similar effects on all member countries but little is known about their responses to non-oil shocks. This paper sets out to determine (1) whether aggregate demand (AD) and non-oil supply shocks (AS) are symmetrical across these countries to justify their suitability for monetary union; and (2) whether there is any commonality of shocks with the United States and the three major European countries, namely France, Germany, and Italy, which can warrant the choice of either the US dollar or the Euro as the anchor for the expected common currency of the bloc. We use bivariate structural vector autoregression models identified with long-run restrictions to extract the shocks. Our results show that (a) AD shocks are unequivocally symmetrical but non-oil AS shocks are weakly symmetrical across GCC countries thereby suggesting a monetary union is feasible, but not overwhelmingly; (b) neither AD nor AS shocks are symmetrical between GCC countries and the selected European countries; (c) GCC’s AD shocks are symmetrical with the US but non-oil AS shock are not. Furthermore, there are no significant changes in the results when we aggregate the GCC countries as a bloc. We therefore surmise that the US dollar is a more appropriate anchor for the new currency than the Euro since US monetary policy can at least help smooth demand shocks in GCC countries.

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