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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on various aspects of corporate debt in France. The increase in debt has financed real investments, as well as acquisition of financial assets and extension of intercompany loans. The increase in debt (and its level) appears less worrisome when debt is consolidated among nonfinancial corporations. Despite the increase in the stock of debt, debt service has increased moderately. A cross-country regression analysis reveals that French publicly listed firms are on average not more indebted and have not increased their debt more than peers in other countries, after controlling for firm and sector characteristics as well as common time effects. However, the increase in debt is concentrated among large firms with sizeable leverage in a few industries, raising questions about these firms’ ability to service this debt when interest rates rise. Stress test scenarios of a large and sudden increase in interest rates suggest that corporate debt at risk could be significant at a macroeconomic level, but that cash buffers would mitigate the impact of the shock on debt service.
Ms. Monique Newiak and Tim Willems
We use the Synthetic Control Method to study the effect of IMF advice on economic growth, inflation, and investment. The analysis exploits the existence of IMF programs that do not involve any financing (Policy Support Instruments, “PSIs”). This enables us to focus on the effects of IMF monitoring, advice, and approval (as opposed to direct financial assistance). In addition, countries with non-financial programs are typically not crisis-struck – thereby mitigating the reverse causality problem and facilitating the construction of counterfactuals. Results suggest that treated countries add about 1 percentage point in annual real GDP per capita growth, with inflation being lower by some 3 percentage points per year. While we do not find evidence for an impact on total investment and the resulting capital stock, PSI-treatment does seem to stimulate foreign direct investment.
International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses Haiti’s progress under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. Substantial advances have been made toward meeting the four triggers not fully implemented, and the authorities are committed to further progress in the near future. These triggers relate to publication of audited government accounts, implementation of a new procurement law, education funding, teacher training and school inspections, and increasing immunization rates. Haiti’s parliament passed a new procurement law in June 2009, which is in line with international best practices.
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
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.
Mr. Paolo Mauro and Mr. Andre Faria
A widespread view holds that countries that finance themselves through foreign direct investment (FDI) and portfolio equity, rather than bonds and loans, are less prone to crises. But what determines countries' external capital structures? In a cross section of emerging markets and developing countries, we find that equity-like liabilities (FDI and, especially, portfolio equity) as a share of countries' total external liabilities (or as a share of GDP) are positively and significantly associated with indicators of educational attainment, natural resource abundance, and especially, institutional quality. These relationships are robust to attempts to control for possible endogeneity, suggesting that better institutional quality may help improve countries' capital structures. The results might also provide an explanation for the observed correlation between institutional quality and the frequency of crises.
Ms. Florence Jaumotte
The paper investigates whether the market size of a regional trade agreement (RTA) is a determinant of foreign direct investment (FDI) received by countries participating in the RTA. This hypothesis is tested on a sample of 71 developing countries during the period 1980-99. Evidence is found that the RTA market size had a positive impact on the FDI received by member countries, even more so in the 1990s when such agreements were revived and became more widespread. The size of domestic population also seemed to matter, possibly because of its effect on the availability of the labor supply. It appears, however, that not all countries in the RTA benefited to the same extent from the RTA: countries with a relatively more educated labor force and/or a relatively more stable financial situation tended to attract a larger share of FDI at the expense of their RTA partners. This evidence suggests it is essential for all RTA countries to improve their business environment to the best available in the region. Finally, a partial negative correlation between the FDI received by RTA countries and that received by non-RTA countries possibly reflects a diversion of FDI from non-RTA to RTA countries. As an illustration, FDI benefits are simulated from the creation of a regional trade agreement between Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.