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Chang Ma and Mr. Fabian Valencia
Over the past two decades, Mexico has hedged oil price risk through the purchase of put options. We examine the resulting welfare gains using a standard sovereign default model calibrated to Mexican data. We show that hedging increases welfare by reducing income volatility and reducing risk spreads on sovereign debt. We find welfare gains equivalent to a permanent increase in consumption of 0.44 percent with 90 percent of these gains stemming from lower risk spreads.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes transmission of monetary policy rates to lending and deposit rates in Mexico. The results show that transmission of the policy rate to market rates is statistically significant in all cases, except for mortgage rates. For sight deposits, pass-through is low, with a 1 percentage point increase in the policy rate leading to a 0.2 percentage point rise in the deposit rate. For term deposits the pass-through is stronger, but remains below unity at 0.7. The pass-through to both lending and deposit rates is very rapid. The dynamic specifications show that pass-through is significant in either the current or the following month, and the long-term impact is achieved during the second month.
Mr. Juan Sole and Andreas Jobst
Derivatives are few and far between in countries where the compatibility of financial transactions with Islamic law requires the development of shari'ah-compliant structures. Islamic finance is governed by the shari'ah, which bans speculation and gambling, and stipulates that income must be derived as profits from the shared generation of goods and services between counterparties rather than interest or a guaranteed return. The paper explains the fundamental legal principles underpinning Islamic finance with a view towards developing a cohesive theory of derivatives subject to shari'ahprinciples. After critically reviewing accepted contracts and the scholastic debate surrounding existing financial innovation in this area, the paper offers an axiomatic perspective on a principle-based permissibility of derivatives under Islamic law.
Mr. Luca A Ricci, Mr. Marcos d Chamon, and Ms. Yuanyan S Zhang
The availability of financial instruments related to indices that track global financial conditions and risk appetite can potentially offer countries alternative options to insure against external shocks. This paper shows that while these instruments can explain much of the in-sample variation in borrowing spreads, this fails to materialize in hedging strategies that work well out-of-sample during tranquil times. However, positions on instruments such as those tracking the US High Yield Spread, the VIX, and especially other emerging market CDS spreads can substantially offset adverse movements in own spreads during times of systemic crises. Moreover, high risk countries seem to gain more, as their underlying weaknesses makes them more vulnerable to external shocks. Overall, the limited value in tranquil times, coupled with political economy arguments and innovation costs could justify the limited interest for this type of hedging in practice
Jose Giancarlo Gasha, Mr. Andre O Santos, Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau, Mr. Carlos I. Medeiros, Mr. Marcos R Souto, and Christian Capuano
As is well known, most models of credit risk have failed to measure the credit risks in the context of the global financial crisis. In this context, financial industry representatives, regulators and academics worldwide have given new impetus to efforts to improve credit risk modeling for countries, corporations, financial institutions, and financial instruments. The paper summarizes some of the recent advances in this regard. It considers modifications of structural models, including of the classical Merton model, and efforts to reconcile the structural and the reduced-form models. It also discusses the reassessment of the default correlations using copulas, the pricing of credit index options, and the determination of the prices of distressed debt and estimation of recovery values.
Miss Yinqiu Lu and Salih N. Neftci
Many developing economies are heavily exposed to commodity markets, leaving them vulnerable to the vagaries of international commodity prices. This paper examines the use of commodity options-including plain vanilla, risk reversal, and barrier options-to hedge such risk. It then proposes the use of a new structured product-a sovereign Eurobond with an embedded option on a specific commodity price. By extracting commodity price risk out of the bond, such an instrument insulates the bond default risk from commodity price movements, allowing it to be marketed at a lower credit spread. The product is also designed to help developing countries establish a credit derivatives market, which would in turn enhance the marketability and liquidity of sovereign bonds.
Mr. Ousmene J Mandeng
This paper aims to identify appropriate option contract specifications for effective central bank exchange market intervention. Option contract specifications determine the impact of options on the underlying asset or currency, and hence their actual effect on asset price or currency volatility and are therefore key to determining the effectiveness of option-based intervention. The paper reviews the experience of the systematic option-based foreign exchange market intervention of the Central Bank of Colombia and finds that its contract has only been moderately successful at abating exchange rate volatility, which is attributed here to sub-optimal contract specifications.
Mr. Armando Méndez Morales
This paper surveys concepts, practices and analytical literature to assess benefits and risks for monetary stability of cross-border currency and interest rate derivative operations in calm and turbulent periods, with a view of extracting implications for emerging economies. Monetary authorities must prevent one-sided positions in the currency, favor asset substitutability, and incorporate the enriched information set provided by derivative-based transactions into monetary policy design. In some circumstances, the use of derivatives by monetary authorities may help fulfill this role. By contrast, surcharges to compensate for a downward impact of derivatives on the cost of capital appear neither advisable nor necessary.
Mr. Burkhard Drees, Mr. Garry J. Schinasi, Mr. Charles Frederick Kramer, and Mr. R. S Craig


This chapter provides an overview of market practices, market structure, and official supervision and regulation in financial markets. This paper also highlights the key features of modern banking and over the counter (OTC) derivatives markets that seem to be relevant for assessing their functioning, their implications for systemic financial risks in the international financial system, and areas where improvements in ensuring financial stability can be obtained. The paper also describes how OTC derivatives activities have transformed modern financial intermediation and discusses how internationally active financial institutions have become exposed to additional sources of instability because of their large and dynamic exposures to the counterparty (credit) risks embodied in their OTC derivatives activities. In order to rebalance private and official roles, it is essential first to clarify the limits to market discipline in OTC derivatives markets, before leaning more heavily on aspects of market discipline that seem to work well in these markets.

Mr. Peter Breuer
This paper analyzes whether and how central banks can use currency options to lower exchange rate volatility and maintain (implicit) target zones in foreign exchange markets. It argues that selling rather than buying options will result in market makers dynamically hedging their long option exposure in a stabilizing manner, consistent with the first objective. Selling a “strangle” allows a central bank to increase the credibility of its commitment to a target zone, and could have a lower expected cost than spot market interventions. However, this strategy also exposes the central bank to an unlimited loss potential.