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Mr. David J Hofman, Mr. Marcos d Chamon, Mr. Pragyan Deb, Mr. Thomas Harjes, Umang Rawat, and Itaru Yamamoto
We investigate the motives inflation-targeting central banks in emerging markets may have for intervening in foreign exchange markets and evaluate the case for such interventions based on the existing literature. Our findings suggest that the rationale for interventions depends on initial conditions and country-specific circumstances. The case is strongest in the presence of large currency mismatches or underdeveloped markets. While interventions can have benefits in the short-term, sustained over time they could entrench unfavorable initial conditions, though more work is needed to establish this empirically. A first effort to measure the cost of interventions to the credibility of policy frameworks suggests that the negative impact may be smaller than often assumed—at least for the set of more sophisticated inflation-targeting emerging-market central banks considered here.
Thomas McGregor
How do oil price movements affect sovereign spreads in an oil-dependent economy? I develop a stochastic general equilibrium model of an economy exposed to co-moving oil price and output processes, with endogenous sovereign default risk. The model explains a large proportion of business cycle fluctuations in interest-rate spreads in oil-exporting emerging market economies, particularly the countercyclicallity of interest rate spreads and oil prices. Higher risk-aversion, more impatient governments, larger oil shares and a stronger correlation between domestic output and oil price shocks all lead to stronger co-movements between risk premiums and the oil price.
Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov and Mr. Luca A Ricci
This study investigates the nonlinear relationship between public debt and sovereign credit ratings, using a wide sample of over one hundred advanced, emerging, and developing economies. It finds that: i) higher public debt lowers the probability of being placed in a higher rating category; ii) the negative debt-ratings relationship is nonlinear and depends on the rating grade itself; and iii) the identified nonlinearity explains the differential impact of debt on ratings in advanced economies versus in emerging markets and developing economies. These results hold for both gross debt and net debt, and are robust to alternative dependent variable definitions, analytical techniques, and empirical specifications. These findings underscore the potential for fiscal consolidation in helping countries achieve a better credit rating.
Luc Eyraud, Ms. Diva Singh, and Mr. Bennett W Sutton
The timing is ripe to pursue greater regional financial integration in Latin America given the withdrawal of some global banks from the region and the weakening of growth prospects. Important initiatives are ongoing to foster financial integration. Failure to capitalize on this would represent a significant missed opportunity. This paper examines the scope for further global and regional financial integration in Latin America, based on economic fundamentals and comparisons to other emerging regions, and quantifies the potential macroeconomic gains that such integration could bring. The analysis suggests that closing the financial integration gap could boost GDP growth be ¼ - ¾ percentage point in these countries, on average.
Metodij Hadzi-Vaskov and Mr. Luca A Ricci
Does gross or net debt matter for long-term sovereign spreads in emerging markets? The topic is important for undestanding the borrowing cost implications of public assetliability management decisions (e.g. using assets to lower debt). We investigate this question using data on emerging market economies (EMEs) over the period 1998–2014. We find that both gross debt and assets have a significant impact on long-term sovereign bond spreads in emerging markets, with effects roughly offsetting each other (coefficients of opposite sign and similar magnitude). Hence, net debt seems more appropriate than gross debt when evaluating the impact of indebtedness on spreads. The empirical results suggest that an increase in net debt by 10 percentage points of GDP implies an increase in the spread by 100–120 basis points, and the effect is larger during periods of domestic distress. The key results from this empirical study are quite robust to alternative specifications and subgroups of EMEs.
Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Mr. Cem Karacadag, Roberto Pereira Guimarães, and Mr. Shogo Ishii

Abstract

Despite increasing exchange rate flexibility, central banks in emerging markets still intervene in their foreign exchange markets for several reasons. In doing so, they face many operational questions, including on the degree of transparency and the choice of markets and counterparties. This paper identifies elements of best practice in official foreign exchange intervention, presents survey evidence on intervention practices in developing countries, and assesses the effectiveness of intervention in Mexico and Turkey.

Juan Manuel Lima, Mr. Johannes Wiegand, Enrique Montes, and Carlos Varela
We employ an extended version of the Allen et al. (2002) Balance Sheet Approach to examine macroeconomic vulnerabilities in Colombia between 1996 and 2003, based on an unusually rich data set. We find that vulnerabilities existing prior to Colombia's 1999 recession-high levels of private debt, a large negative foreign currency position of the corporate sector, and banks' exposure to stretched households and companies-receded subsequently. New vulnerabilities emerged, however, especially the high level of public debt accumulated until end-2003, and growing exposure of the financial sector to the sovereign.
Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau and Ms. Yoon Sook Kim
This paper examines equilibrium price relationships and price discovery between credit defaul swap (CDS), bond, and equity markets for emerging market sovereign issuers. Findings suggest that CDS and bond spreads converge despite various pressures that arise in the market. In most countries, however, we do not find any equilibrium price relationship between the bond and CDS markets and the equity markets. As for price discovery, our results are mixed. This stands in contrast to the empirical findings on corporate issuers in the United States and Europe.
Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Mr. Cem Karacadag, and Roberto Pereira Guimarães
This paper offers guidance on the operational aspects of official intervention in the foreign exchange market, particularly in developing countries with flexible exchange rate regimes. A brief survey of the literature and country experience is followed by an analysis of the objectives, timing, amount, degree of transparency, and choice of markets and counterparties in conducting intervention. The analysis highlights the difficulty of detecting exchange rate misalignments and disorderly markets, and argues in favor of parsimony in official intervention. Determining the timing and amount of intervention is a highly subjective excercise, and some degree of discretion is almost necessary, though policy rules may serve as "rules of thumb."
Mr. Ousmene J Mandeng
This paper aims to identify appropriate option contract specifications for effective central bank exchange market intervention. Option contract specifications determine the impact of options on the underlying asset or currency, and hence their actual effect on asset price or currency volatility and are therefore key to determining the effectiveness of option-based intervention. The paper reviews the experience of the systematic option-based foreign exchange market intervention of the Central Bank of Colombia and finds that its contract has only been moderately successful at abating exchange rate volatility, which is attributed here to sub-optimal contract specifications.