Mr. Tobias Adrian and Mr. Tommaso Mancini Griffoli
This paper marks the launch of a new IMF series, Fintech Notes. Building on years of IMF staff work, it will explore pressing topics in the digital economy and be issued periodically. The series will carry work by IMF staff and will seek to provide insight into the intersection of technology and the global economy. The Rise of Digital Money analyses how technology companies are stepping up competition to large banks and credit card companies. Digital forms of money are increasingly in the wallets of consumers as well as in the minds of policymakers. Cash and bank deposits are battling with so-called e-money, electronically stored monetary value denominated in, and pegged to, a currency like the euro or the dollar. This paper identifies the benefits and risks and highlights regulatory issues that are likely to emerge with a broader adoption of stablecoins. The paper also highlights the risks associated with e-money: potential creation of new monopolies; threats to weaker currencies; concerns about consumer protection and financial stability; and the risk of fostering illegal activities, among others.
Over the past decade, Cambodia has become Asia’s most dollarized economy. In contrast, dollarization in neighboring Lao P.D.R., Mongolia, and Vietnam has been either declining or broadly stable. Somewhat paradoxically, growing dollarization in Cambodia has occurred against the backdrop of greater macroeconomic and political stability. The usual motive, currency substitution, does not appear to have been a factor. As the volume of dollars increased over the years, so has the volume of riel. A strong inward flow of dollars related to garments sector exports, tourism receipts, foreign direct investment, and aid, has benefitted the dollar based urban economy. The riel based rural economy has, however, lagged behind. Given international experience in de-dollarization, a carefully managed market based strategy, supported by a continued stable macroeconomic environment is essential for Cambodia’s de-dollarization.
The effects of the global recession and decline in logging have undermined macroeconomic stability in the Solomon Islands. The government’s program offers a basis for resuming strong growth in a low inflation environment, helping to advance poverty alleviation efforts and achieve other development objectives. The current monetary policy stance is broadly appropriate, with monetary targets sufficiently accommodative to support economic recovery. Sound steps toward strong financial sector policy have been taken. The program, while not without risk, is well focused and sufficiently ambitious.
On July 1, 2009, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund discussed the Managing Director's proposal for a framework for issuing notes to the official sector. The framework approved by the Executive Board was adapted on the basis of these discussions, as reflected in supplement 2 of the paper. It enables members to invest in IMF paper under note purchase agreements approved by the Board, without any pre-specified limit on the cumulative amount committed under note purchase agreements. The actual issuance of notes will occur should the IMF need additional resources at the time of a loan disbursement to a member. The notes would have similar financial terms to the IMF’s recent bilateral borrowing agreements.
The Article IV Consultation discusses that recently a commodity price boom, driven by robust global demand, has pushed the Australian economy up against capacity constraints. Banks are adjusting the structure of their funding in response to the turmoil, increasing liquidity, and lengthening the maturity of their funding. Executive Directors considered that the sound macroeconomic framework should permit Australia to weather the global downturn and contain inflationary pressures. They encouraged the authorities to take advantage of the positive macroeconomic performance to advance structural reforms.
Mr. William E. Alexander, Mr. John Cady, and Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia
The Data Dissemination Initiative was launched in the mid-1990s as part of a broader internationally-agreed-upon initiative to strengthen transparency and promote good governance practices by establishing standards and codes. Ten years later, the initiative is viewed as an integral part of the international financial architecture, and is considered to have improved the functioning of international financial markets and contributed to global financial stability. This volume reviews certain aspects of the development of and experience with the initiative over the past decade, and concludes by reflecting on potential challenges ahead and possible enhancements.
This paper reviews how central banks allocate seigniorage, based on systematic crosscountry comparisons of their financial accounts. Central banks are classified as weak or strong, depending upon their structural profitability. Weak central banks typically (although not exclusively) operate in smaller and less wealthy countries, lack independence from their governments, and are burdened by compulsory transfers and low capital. Their operating expenditures, nonperforming assets, international reserve carrying costs, and international reserve accumulation needs are high. Governance appears to be a potential concern in many central banks, both weak and strong, with operating expenditures often adjusting upward for high profitability and capital accumulation adjusting downward for low profitability. The main policy implications are briefly reviewed.