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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Macao SAR’s recovery is expected to continue in 2022, but it will take several years before the economy returns to its pre-crisis level. Although strong fiscal support and the financial strength of Macao SAR’s casino groups cushioned employment and consumption, the sharp contraction in activity exposed Macao SAR’s vulnerability to external forces affecting the inflow of tourists. Short-term risks to the outlook include a re-intensification of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in Macao SAR’s financial sector stress. The heavy impact of the pandemic on Macao SAR’s growth highlights the need to diversify the economy beyond the gaming industry. The high exposure to climate-related shocks poses long-term concerns.
Jiri Podpiera
Distance, as a proxy for trade barriers, is found in many studies to matter even for weightless cross-border financial investments and lending, possibly due to the presence of information asymmetries. Its importance is tested in this paper using exports of all five broad categories of the U.K.’s financial and insurance services. No trade barriers are found for the bulk of the U.K.’s exports. Trade barriers are confirmed only for interest-bearing activities – being in line with available results in the literature. The positive effect of EU membership appears to be small. Notwithstanding the uncertainties, it suggests that post-Brexit disruptions of the U.K.’s export of financial and insurance services may be minor.
El Bachir Boukherouaa, Mr. Ghiath Shabsigh, Khaled AlAjmi, Jose Deodoro, Aquiles Farias, Ebru S Iskender, Mr. Alin T Mirestean, and Rangachary Ravikumar
This paper discusses the impact of the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the financial sector. It highlights the benefits these technologies bring in terms of financial deepening and efficiency, while raising concerns about its potential in widening the digital divide between advanced and developing economies. The paper advances the discussion on the impact of this technology by distilling and categorizing the unique risks that it could pose to the integrity and stability of the financial system, policy challenges, and potential regulatory approaches. The evolving nature of this technology and its application in finance means that the full extent of its strengths and weaknesses is yet to be fully understood. Given the risk of unexpected pitfalls, countries will need to strengthen prudential oversight.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The Kyrgyz economy is highly dependent on remittances and foreign aid and does not have access to international capital markets. Inequality is relatively low, but poverty is widespread. The COVID crisis led to a sharp recession with output contracting by 8.6 percent in 2020, public debt rising by 16.5 percent of GDP to 68 percent, and the som depreciating by 19 percent against the US$. Under the assumption that the global pandemic begins to decisively recede this year, a rebound in growth is expected in 2021–22. However, significant uncertainty surrounds the baseline outlook and the recovery could be delayed if downside risks materialize. In the medium to long term, the main challenge is to create jobs for about 65,000 new jobseekers annually and to reduce labor out-migration. This will require deep structural reforms to transform the economy from a reliance on remittances to more diversified and private sector-led growth that is underpinned by higher investment and exports.
Ms. Kazuko Shirono, Esha Chhabra, Ms. Bidisha Das, Ms. Yingjie Fan, and Mr. Hector Carcel Villanova
The rapid uptake of mobile money in recent years has generated new data needs and growing interest in understanding its impact on broad money. This paper reviews mobile money trends using mobile money data from the Financial Access Survey (FAS) and examines the statistical treatment of mobile money under the IMF’s Monetary and Financial Statistics (MFS) framework. MFS guidance is straightforward in most cases, as many jurisdictions have adopted regulations which ensure that mobile money is captured in the banking system and thus in the calculation of broad money. However, in cases where mobile network operators (MNOs) act as niche financial intermediaries outside the banking regulatory perimeter and are allowed to invest their customer funds in sovereign securities and other permitted assets, mobile money liabilities may remain outside the banking system as well as monetary statistics. In that case, information on mobile money liabilities need to be collected directly from MNOs to account for mobile money as part of broad money.