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Alexis Meyer-Cirkel and Gonzalo Huertas
Public and private sector balance sheets are an important component to any analysis of debt sustainability. A vulnerable and indebted private sector can become a sudden liability for the government; alternatively, resilient household and bank balance sheets may reveal potential sources of funding for the sovereign during times of fiscal distress. In this paper, we document empirical regularities in the behavior of macroeconomic variables during debt crises, and show how both macroeconomic fundamentals and sectoral net worth can affect the likelihood of undergoing default.
Ali Compaoré, Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rasmané Ouedraogo, and Sandrine Sourouema
While there is an extensive literature examining the economic impact of conflict and political instability, surprisingly there have been few studies on their impact on the probability of banking crises. This paper therefore investigates whether rising conflict and political instability globally over the past several decades led to increased occurrence of banking crises in developing countries. The paper provides strong evidence that conflicts and political instability are indeed associated with higher probability of systemic banking crises. Unsurprisingly, the duration of a conflict is positively associated with rising probability of a banking crisis. Interestingly, the paper also finds that conflicts and political instability in one country can have negative spillover effects on neighboring countries’ banking systems. The paper provides evidence that the primary channel of transmission is the occurrence of fiscal crises following a conflict or political instability.
Ms. Julianne Ams, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Wolfgang Bergthaler, Ms. Chanda M DeLong, Ms. Nouria El Mehdi, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Mr. Sean Hagan, Ms. Yan Liu, Charlotte J. Lundgren, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, Alex Pienkowski, Mr. Gustavo Pinto, and Mr. Eric Robert


“The IMF’s Role in the Prevention and Resolution of Sovereign Debt Crises” provides a guided narrative to the IMF’s policy papers on sovereign debt produced over the last 40 years. The papers are divided into chapters, tracking four historical phases: the 1980s debt crisis; the Mexican crisis and the design of policies to ensure adequate private sector involvement (“creditor bail-in”); the Argentine crisis and the search for a durable crisis resolution framework; and finally, the global financial crisis, the Eurozone crisis, and their aftermaths.

Mr. Serkan Arslanalp and Mr. Takahiro Tsuda
This paper proposes an approach to track US$1 trillion of emerging market government debt held by foreign investors in local and hard currency, based on a similar approach that was used for advanced economies (Arslanalp and Tsuda, 2012). The estimates are constructed on a quarterly basis from 2004 to mid-2013 and are available along with the paper in an online dataset. We estimate that about half a trillion dollars of foreign flows went into emerging market government debt during 2010–12, mostly coming from foreign asset managers. Foreign central bank holdings have risen as well, but remain concentrated in a few countries: Brazil, China, Indonesia, Poland, Malaysia, Mexico, and South Africa. We also find that foreign investor flows to emerging markets were less differentiated during 2010–12 against the background of near-zero interest rates in advanced economies. The paper extends some of the indicators proposed in our earlier paper to show how the investor base data can be used to assess countries’ sensitivity to external funding shocks and to track foreign investors’ exposures to different markets within a global benchmark portfolio.
Mr. Luca Errico, Artak Harutyunyan, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Richard Walton, Ms. Yevgeniya Korniyenko, Hanan AbuShanab, and Mr. Hyun S Shin
This paper presents an approach to understanding the shadow banking system in the United States using a new Global Flow of Funds (GFF) conceptual framework developed by the IMF’s Statistics Department (STA). The GFF uses external stock and flow matrices to map claims between sector-location pairs. Our findings highlight the large positions and gross flows of the U.S. banking sector (ODCs) and its interconnectedness with the banking sectors in the Euro area and the United Kingdom. European counterparties are large holders of U.S. other financial corporations (OFCs) debt securities. We explore the relationship between credit to domestic entities and the growth of non-core liabilities. We find that external debt liabilities of the financial sector are procyclical and are closely aligned with domestic credit growth.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The Article IV Consultation discusses the IMF Executive Board’s assessment of economic developments and policies in Switzerland. With the exchange rate floor in place for more than one year, the Swiss economy has been relatively stable. Although overall export growth is weak, the external position remains comfortable, reflecting high investment income and strong export performance in some sectors. Executive Directors noted that, notwithstanding Switzerland’s stable economy and strong policy frameworks, risks stemming mostly from the euro area crisis and vulnerabilities in the domestic financial sector have clouded the near-term outlook.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The Research Summaries in the March 2013 Research Bulletin discuss "Trade Finance and Its Role in the Great Trade Collapse" (JaeBin Ahn) and "Sovereign Debt: How to Track Who Is Buying and Selling It" (Serkan Arslanalp and Takahiro Tsuda). The Q&A looks at "Seven Questions on the Implications of Global Supply Chains for Real Effective Exchange Rates" (Rudolfs Bems). Readers can also find in this issue a listing of recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and Recommended Readings from IMF Publications. The Bulletin also includes a call for papers for a research conference and information on free access to the IMF Economic Review in April.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The global financial crisis hit Denmark hard, and the recovery has been slow and unsteady. Denmark’s slow growth predates the recent economic crisis, and the economy has underperformed its regional peers. The current account remains in surplus, largely reflecting weak domestic demand since the crisis and strong net income. Monetary policy is based on maintaining a tight peg to the euro. Denmark’s financial system has rebuilt capital but still has substantial vulnerabilities. Potential growth is expected to recover gradually.