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Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Mr. Ralph Chami, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, and Anne Oeking
Despite welfare and poverty-reducing benefits for recipient households, remittance inflows have been shown to entail macroeconomic challenges; producing Dutch Disease-type effects through their upward (appreciation) pressure on real exchange rates, reducing the quality of institutions, delaying fiscal adjustment, and ultimately having an indeterminate effect on long-run growth. The paper explores an additional challenge, for monetary policy. Although they expand bank balance sheets, providing a stable flow of interest-insensitive funding, remittances tend to increase banks’ holdings of liquid assets. This both reduces the need for an interbank market and severs the link between the policy rate and banks’ marginal costs of funds, thus shutting down a major transmission channel. We develop a stylized model based on asymmetric information and a lack of transparent borrowers and undertake econometric analysis providing evidence that increased remittance inflows are associated with a weaker transmission. As independent monetary policy becomes impaired, this result is consistent with earlier findings that recipient countries tend to favor fixed exchange rate regimes.
Ms. Mwanza Nkusu
This paper examines the impact of interest rates and inflation on bank loans and investment within a framework that mimics the financial sectors prevailing in most low-income developing countries. The paper emphasizes the importance of treating the lending and deposit rates of interest as distinct parameters in investment equations. The spread between the two rates is indicative of default risk and has a negative impact on incremental loan amounts associated with higher lending rates, in particular in economies with flawed institutions. The model presented in the paper highlights the importance of promoting macroeconomic stability and upgrading institutions and informational infrastructure.