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Mr. Michael Blackwell

This paper examines the IMF’s role in the changing world. Faced with mounting domestic and external financial imbalances, numerous African countries adopted adjustment programs supported by the use of IMF resources during 1980–81. Considerable emphasis has been given to economic growth in programs under consideration and most aimed for an increase in economic growth during the program year. Although programs generally emphasized an improvement in the external sector position, medium-term considerations did not always allow for an improvement in the current account position.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix presents a number of studies designed to probe in more depth issues of fiscal adjustment, the public sector’s creditworthiness as judged by foreign lenders, and the banking system in Greece. The paper highlights that fiscal adjustment in Greece has followed a gradual path, relying to a significant extent on revenue enhancement and eschewing primary expenditure reduction. The paper also examines the evolution and tax determinants of the most widely followed indicator of the health and competitiveness of a banking system—the lending-deposit spread.

International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper of Portugal highlights the discussions on the requirement of policies to overcome structural and cyclical impediments to growth, and secure fiscal consolidation. It analyzes the strength of the company balance sheets in supporting the rebound from recession, and also the links between corporate balance sheet strength and investment. It reviews the challenges in the Portuguese economy, the impact of European Union enlargement on Portuguese trade, the pension prospects, and the implications of various policy reform scenarios.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
This report describes recent economic and financial developments in Guinea–Bissau, focusing on 1994 and early 1995, and provides statistical coverage from 1990. In 1994, the rate of growth of aggregate economic output exceeded that of the population, the pace of consumer price inflation abated to historic low, and both the fiscal and external current account positions showed further improvement. At end-1994, the economic and financial situation of Guinea–Bissau remained characterized by large domestic and external imbalances, as well as by a heavy burden of external debt service obligations.
Rima Turk-Ariss
Concerns about excessive variability in bank risk weights have prompted their review by regulators. This paper provides prima facie evidence on the extent of risk weight heterogeneity across broad asset classes and by country of counterparty for major banks in the European Union using internal models. It also finds that corporate risk weights are sensitive to the riskiness of an average representative firm, but not to a market indicator of a firm’s probablity of default. Under plausible yet severe hypothetical scenarios for harmonized risk weights, counterfactual capital ratios would decline significantly for some banks, but they would not experience a shortfall relative to Basel III’s minimum requirements. This, however, does not preclude falling short of meeting additional national supervisory capital requirements.
Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Nemanja Jovanovic, Ms. Laura Valderrama, and Jing Zhou
The spread of COVID-19, containment measures, and general uncertainty led to a sharp reduction in activity in the first half of 2020. Europe was hit particularly hard—the economic contraction in 2020 is estimated to have been among the largest in the world—with potentially severe repercussions on its nonfinancial corporations. A wave of corporate bankruptcies would generate mass unemployment, and a loss of productive capacity and firm-specific human capital. With many SMEs in Europe relying primarily on the banking sector for external finance, stress in the corporate sector could easily translate into pressures in the banking system (Aiyar et al., forthcoming).
Miss Rita Babihuga and Marco Spaltro
This paper investigates the determinants of bank funding costs for a sample of internationally active banks from 2001–12. We find that changes in banks’ unsecured funding costs are associated with bank-specific characteristics such as an institution’s credit worthiness and the return on its market value, and importantly, on the level and quality of capital. Similarly, market factors such as the level of investor risk appetite, as well as shocks to financial markets—notably the US subprime crisis and the Euro Area sovereign debt crisis—have also been key drivers of the sharp rise in bank funding costs. We also find evidence that large systemically important institutions have enjoyed a funding advantage, and that this advantage has risen since the onset of the two crises. With the exception of Euro Area periphery banks, by end-2012 the rise in funding costs had generally been reversed for most major banks as a result of improvments in bank asset quality as well as steps taken to increase resilience, notably higher capitalization. Our results suggest increased capital buffers may potentially support bank lending to the real economy by reducing bank funding costs.
Sophia Chen and Do Lee
We provide broad-based evidence of a firm size premium of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Europe after the Global Financial Crisis. The TFP growth of smaller firms was more adversely affected and diverged from their larger counterparts after the crisis. The impact was progressively larger for medium, small, and micro firms relative to large firms. It was also disproportionally larger for firms with limited credit market access. Moreover, smaller firms were less likely to have access to safer banks: those that were better capitalized banks and with a presence in the credit default swap market. Horseraces suggest that firm size may be a more important and robust vulnerability indicator than balance sheet characteristics. Our results imply that the tightening of credit market conditions during the crisis, coupled with limited credit market access especially among micro, small, and medium firms, may have contributed to the large and persistent drop in aggregate TFP.