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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) work was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report, however, includes stability analysis and stress tests under updated illustrative scenarios to quantify the possible implications of the COVID-19 shock on bank solvency. An unusually high degree of caution must be exercised in interpreting the stress tests results and their implications or validity at the current juncture, due to heightened uncertainty around post COVID central projections and downside risks. Financial vulnerabilities were elevated on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key financial vulnerabilities included high household leverage amid high real estate valuations following a long period of loose financial conditions. There were also signs of risk taking in some sectors, such as commercial real estate (CRE), and in addition, there were downside risks to bank profitability amid the low-interest-rate environment.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Much of the work of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the FSAP’s focus on medium-term challenges and vulnerabilities, however, many of its findings and recommendations for strengthening policy and institutional frameworks remain pertinent. This report reflects key developments and policy changes since the FSAP mission work was completed, and includes illustrative scenarios to quantify the possible implications of the COVID-19 shock on the solvency of systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs). Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Danish authorities had taken important steps to improve financial system resilience. The authorities had actively used macroprudential tools to bolster the robustness of the financial system. The supervision of the banking and insurance sectors had improved. Likewise, recent legislation has strengthened anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) supervision. Major reforms such as a new bank resolution framework had also considerably improved Denmark’s financial safety net and crisis management frameworks.
Mr. Ralph Chami, Mr. Thomas F. Cosimano, Ms. Celine Rochon, and Julieta Yung
Investors seek to hedge against interest rate risk by taking long or short positions on bonds of different maturities. We study changes in risk taking behavior in a low interest rate environment by estimating a market stochastic discount factor that is non-linear and therefore consistent with the empirical properties of cashflow valuations identified in the literature. We provide evidence that non-linearities arise from hedging strategies of investors exposed to interest rate risk. Capital losses are amplified when interest rates increase and risk averse investors have taken positions on instruments with longer maturity, expecting instead interest rates to revert back to their historical average.
Mr. Andreas A. Jobst and Ms. Hiroko Oura
This paper explains the treatment of sovereign risk in macroprudential solvency stress testing, based on the experiences in the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). We discuss four essential steps in assessing the system-wide impact of sovereign risk: scope, loss estimation, shock calibration, and capital impact calculation. Most importantly, a market-consistent valuation approach lies at the heart of assessing the resilience of the financial sector in a tail risk scenario with sovereign distress. We present a flexible, closed-form approach to calibrating haircuts based on changes in expected sovereign defaults affecting bank solvency during adverse macroeconomic conditions. This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of using extreme value theory (EVT) in this context, with empirical examples from past FSAPs.
Mr. Fei Han and Mindaugas Leika
The paper presents a framework to integrate liquidity and solvency stress tests. An empirical study based on European bond trading data finds that asset sales haircuts depend on the total amount of assets sold and general liquidity conditions in the market. To account for variations in market liquidity, the study uses Markov regime-switching models and links haircuts with market volatility and the amount of securities sold by banks. The framework is accompanied by a Matlab program and an Excel-based tool, which allow the calculations to be replicated for any type of traded security and to be used for liquidity and solvency stress testing.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department


In the 10 years since the global financial crisis, regulatory frameworks have been enhanced and the banking system has become stronger, but new vulnerabilities have emerged, and the resilience of the global financial system has yet to be tested.

Thordur Jonasson and Mr. Michael G. Papaioannou
This paper provides an overview of sovereign debt portfolio risks and discusses various liability management operations (LMOs) and instruments used by public debt managers to mitigate these risks. Debt management strategies analyzed in the context of helping reach debt portfolio targets and attain desired portfolio structures. Also, the paper outlines how LMOs could be integrated into a debt management strategy and serve as policy tools to reduce potential debt portfolio vulnerabilities. Further, the paper presents operational issues faced by debt managers, including the need to develop a risk management framework, interactions of debt management with fiscal policy, monetary policy, and financial stability, as well as efficient government bond markets.
Mr. Helge Berger, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, and Mr. Maurice Obstfeld
The paper makes an analytical contribution to the revived discussion about the euro area’s institutional setup. After significant progress during the euro crisis, the drive to complete Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) had stalled, and the way forward will benefit from an in-depth look at the conceptual issues raised by the evolution and architecture of Europe, and the tradeoffs involved. A thorough look at the underlying economic issues suggests that in the long run, EMU will benefit from progressing along three mutually supporting tracks: introduce more fiscal risk sharing, helping to make the sovereign “no bailout” rule credible; complementary financial sector reforms to delink sovereigns and banks; and more effective rules to discourage moral hazard. This evolution would ensure that financial markets provide incentives for fiscal discipline. Introducing more fiscal union comes with myriad legal, technical, operational, and political problems, raising questions well beyond the remit of economics. But without decisive progress to foster fiscal risk sharing, EMU will continue to face existential risks.