Uruguay experienced one of its biggest economic booms in history during 2004-2014. Since then, growth has come down significantly. The paper investigates the various causes of the boom and discusses the sustainability of these causes. It then compares Uruguay against high-growth countries that were once at a similar income level, across a broad set of structural indicators, to identify priority reform areas that could improve long-term growth prospect.
Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Dimitris Drakopoulos, Rohit Goel, and Mr. Robin Koepke
This paper reviews the role of benchmark-driven investments in EM local bond markets. We provide an overview of how key EM bond benchmark indices are constructed, how they affect the behavior of investment funds, and what are the likely implications for capital flows and policy-making. Several methods are presented suggesting that the amount of assets benchmarked against widely followed EM local-currency bond indices have risen fivefold since the mid-2000s to around $300 billion. Our review suggests that the benefits of index membership may be tempered by portfolio outflow risks for some countries. This is because benchmark-driven investments may increase the importance of external factors at the expense of domestic factors, raising the risks of outflows unrelated to recipient country fundamentals. Some countries may be disproportionately exposed to these risks, reflecting the way the indices are constructed.
Katharina Bergant, Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, and Mr. Damiano Sandri
We show that macroprudential regulation can considerably dampen the impact of global
financial shocks on emerging markets. More specifically, a tighter level of regulation reduces
the sensitivity of GDP growth to VIX movements and capital flow shocks. A broad set of
macroprudential tools contribute to this result, including measures targeting bank capital and
liquidity, foreign currency mismatches, and risky forms of credit. We also find that tighter
macroprudential regulation allows monetary policy to respond more countercyclically to
global financial shocks. This could be an important channel through which macroprudential
regulation enhances macroeconomic stability. These findings on the benefits of
macroprudential regulation are particularly notable since we do not find evidence that stricter
capital controls provide similar gains.
Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Marcos d Chamon, Aitor Erce, and Akira Sasahara
Sovereign debt restructurings are associated with declines in GDP, investment, bank credit, and capital flows. The transmission channels and associated output and banking sector costs depend on whether the restructuring takes place preemptively, without missing payments to creditors, or whether it takes place after a default has occurred. Post-default restructurings are associated with larger declines in bank credit, an increase in lending interest rates, and a higher likelihood of triggering a banking crisis than pre-emptive restructurings. Our local projection estimates show large declines in GDP, investment, and credit amplified by severe sudden stops and transmitted through a “capital inflow-credit channel”.
We present and discuss a set of indicators to help assess countries’ trade policies. The indicators relate to three policy areas – trade in goods, trade in services, and FDI. Given concerns about the direction of global trade policy, we also consider a set of more granular measures that reflect the evolution of countries’ policies since the 2008 financial crisis. We propose a simple approach to present the multidimensional aspects of trade policy that, by shedding light on relative openness across areas, can facilitate policy discussions. In the cross-section of countries, we find a diversity in the type of measures adopted, both between and (since the 2008 financial crisis) within policy areas, lending support to the approach based on multiple indicators. The indicators’ time series suggest that advanced and, especially, emerging economies are moving toward more open regimes over time, although recently progress has, with some exceptions, slowed across the board. Lastly, our findings also call for stronger efforts to objectively quantify the different aspects of countries’ trade regimes. More data, both across countries and in terms of policy areas that significantly affect trade, are needed for better-informed policy discussions.
Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Marcos d Chamon, and Akira Sasahara
Sovereign debt restructurings have been shown to influence the dynamics of imports and exports. This paper shows that the impact can vary substantially depending on whether the restructuring takes place preemptively without missing payments to creditors, or whether it takes place after a default has occurred. We document that countries with post-default restructurings experience on average: (i) a more severe and protracted decline in imports, (ii) a larger fall in exports, and (iii) a sharper and more prolonged decline in both GDP, investment and real exchange rate than preemptive cases. These stylized facts are confirmed by panel regressions and local projection estimates, and a range of robustness checks including for the endogeneity of the restructuring strategy. Our findings suggest that a country’s choice of how to go about restructuring its debt can have major implications for the costs it incurs from restructuring.
How do financial markets respond to concerns over debt sustainability and the level of public debt in emerging markets? We introduce a measure of debt sustainability – the difference between the debt stabilizing primary balance and the primary balance–in an otherwise standard spread regression model applied to a panel of 26 emerging market economies. We find that debt sustainability is an important determinant of spreads. In addition, using a panel smooth transition regression model, we find that the sensitivity of spreads to debt sustainability doubles as public debt increases above 45 percent of GDP. These results suggest that market interest rates react more to debt sustainability concerns in a country with a high level of debt compared to a country with a low level of debt.