International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that the 1980 Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the IMF affirmed the willingness of the IMF to evolve, under its charter, to meet new circumstances; but in some ways there was a departure from the past. Two substantive problems dominated the Meeting: the persistence of high inflation as a worldwide problem and the large payments deficits engulfing the non-oil developing countries. There was general agreement that these were the immediate threats to international monetary stability.
Although cross-border bank lending has fallen sharply since the crisis, extending our bank ownership database from 1995-2009 up to 2013 shows only limited retrenchment in foreign bank presence. While banks from OECD countries reduced their foreign presence (but still represent 89% of foreign bank assets), those from emerging markets and developing countries expanded abroad and doubled their presence. Especially advanced countries hit by a systemic crisis reduced their presence abroad, with far flung and relatively small investments more likely to be sold. Poorer and slower growing countries host fewer banks today, while large investments less likely expanded. Conversely, faster host countries’ growth and closeness to potential investors meant more entry. Lending by foreign banks locally grew more than cross-border bank claims did for the same home-host country combination, and each was driven by different factors. Altogether, our evidence shows that global banking is not becoming more fragmented, but rather is going through some important structural transformations with a greater variety of players and a more regional focus.
Mr. Brad J. McDonald, Mr. Geoffrey J Bannister, Ms. Natalia T. Tamirisa, Ms. Piritta Sorsa, and Mr. Jaroslaw Wieczorek
This paper reviews the economics of trade policy in financial services, highlighting differences between trade across borders and through commercial presence. Trade liberalization could complement other financial reforms by enhancing the efficiency, quality, and variety of financial services and by encouraging improvement of financial regulations and practices. However, it raises sectoral, strategic, and cultural concerns. The design of trade policy should therefore emphasize the nexus with the macroeconomic framework and other financial sector policies, especially prudential and capital account regulations. It should also differentiate between types of trade. National reforms should be coordinated with multilateral trade agreements and initiatives on international financial architecture.
International banks greatly reduced their direct cross-border and local affiliates’ lending as the global financial crisis strained balance sheets, lowered borrower demand, and changed government policies. Using bilateral, lender-borrower countrydata and controlling for credit demand, we show that reductions largely varied in line with markets’ prior assessments of banks’ vulnerabilities, with banks’ financial statement variables and lender-borrower country characteristics playing minor roles. We find evidence that moving resources within banking groups became more restricted as drivers of reductions in direct cross-border loans differ from those for local affiliates’ lending, especially for impaired banking systems. Home bias induced by government interventions, however, affected both equally.
This paper investigates the effects of national culture on firm risk-taking, using a comprehensive dataset covering 50,000 firms in 400 industries in 51 countries. Risk-taking is found to be higher for domestic firms in countries with low uncertainty aversion, low tolerance for hierarchical relationships, and high individualism. Domestic firms in such countries tend to take substantially more risk in industries which are more informationally opaque (e.g. finance, mining, IT). Risk-taking by foreign firms is best explained by the cultural norms of their country of origin. These cultural norms do not proxy for legal constraints, insurance safety nets, or economic development.
Mr. Olivier J Blanchard, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, and Mr. Marcos d Chamon
The workhorse open-economy macro model suggests that capital inflows are contractionary
because they appreciate the currency and reduce net exports. Emerging market policy makers
however believe that inflows lead to credit booms and rising output, and the evidence appears to go
their way. To reconcile theory and reality, we extend the set of assets included in the
Mundell-Fleming model to include both bonds and non-bonds. At a given policy rate, inflows may
decrease the rate on non-bonds, reducing the cost of financial intermediation, potentially offsetting
the contractionary impact of appreciation. We explore the implications theoretically and
empirically, and find support for the key predictions in the data.
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.