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Jannick Damgaard, Thomas Elkjaer, and Niels Johannesen
Macro statistics on foreign direct investment (FDI) are blurred by offshore centers with enormous inward and outward investment positions. This paper uses several new data sources, both macro and micro, to estimate the global FDI network while disentangling real investment and phantom investment and allocating real investment to ultimate investor economies. We find that phantom investment into corporate shells with no substance and no real links to the local economy may account for almost 40 percent of global FDI. Ignoring phantom investment and allocating real investment to ultimate investors increases the explanatory power of standard gravity variables by around 25 percent.
Emma Angulo and Alicia Hierro
This paper analyzes asymmetries in direct investment positions reported in the Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS) following a top down approach. First, it examines asymmetries at global level; second, it examines asymmetries between CDIS reported and derived data for individual economies; and third, the paper analyzes data at bilateral economy level. Then, the paper explores seven main reasons for asymmetries, including those arising even when economies follow international standards. Finally, the paper includes a section on addressing bilateral asymmetries and concludes with specific planned actions to reduce asymmetries, including initiatives led by international organizations.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the recent trends in The Bahamas’ offshore financial center (OFC) and their contribution to the real economy. The Bahamas hosts one of the largest OFCs in the world. International banks are the most important institutions in the Bahamian OFC. Despite a sharp contraction in the size of the offshore sector, the direct impact on the real economy appears to have been modest. The direct contribution of offshore banks to the real economy appears to have remained broadly stable, reflecting an orderly adjustment so far. Strong compliance with anti–money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and tax transparency standards should help ensure that this orderly adjustment continues.
Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia
This paper studies the economic costs of hurricanes in the Caribbean by constructing a novel dataset that combines a detailed record of tropical cyclones’ characteristics with reported damages. I estimate the relation between hurricane wind speeds and damages in the Caribbean; finding that the elasticity of damages to GDP ratio with respect to maximum wind speeds is three in the case of landfalls. The data show that hurricane damages are considerably underreported, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, with average damages potentially being three times as large as the reported average of 1.6 percent of GDP per year. I document and show that hurricanes that do not make landfall also have considerable negative impacts on the Caribbean economies. Finally, I estimate that the average annual hurricane damages in the Caribbean will increase between 22 and 77 percent by the year 2100, in a global warming scenario of high CO2 concentrations and high global temperatures.
International Monetary Fund
Standards assessments serve several important objectives but are not well integrated into Fund surveillance. Financial standards assessments, when undertaken in the context of FSAPs, are used to identify weaknesses in financial regulation and supervision, or other areas covered by international standards. However, those weaknesses are not specifically linked to the risks and vulnerabilities facing the financial sector. Conversely, the analysis of country-specific vulnerabilities in the FSAP does not contribute to targeting the standard assessment effort, since the assessment must be exhaustive and cover the entire standard.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Latvia has rebounded from the crisis, after successfully undertaking a difficult adjustment program. The recovery has been well balanced between external and domestic demand. The labor market is improving but unemployment is still high. Past consolidation efforts have brought down the fiscal deficit. The banking system is recovering. Nonresident deposits in the banking system have been expanding rapidly. Economic growth is expected to weaken slightly in 2013, before picking up later. Euro adoption in 2014 appears within reach, subject to some technical uncertainties.
International Monetary Fund
In a previous assessment, it was concluded that the British Virgin Islands (BVI) regulatory system governing securities markets functioned well overall, but required improvement in certain areas. Those areas are implemented with regulatory code, Securities and Investment Business Act (SIBA), related regulations, and the public funds code. The standards and eligibility of those who wish to manage or administer a mutual fund are determined by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) under the authority granted by statute. A mutual fund can be organized as a corporation, unit trust, or partnership.
International Monetary Fund
The Banks and trust Companies Act, Financial Services Commission Act, and the Regulatory Act are considered for banking supervision. The assessment is also based on a self-assessment prepared by the Financial Services Commission (FSC). British Virgin Islands (BVI) law provides three classes of banking licenses. The preconditions for effective banking supervision are present in the BVI. The FSC has sufficient autonomy, powers, and resources with clear responsibilities and objectives. The FSC does not impose specific limits on investments but reviews bank-imposed limits. The FSC has a well-developed system of ongoing supervision in place.