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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

Abstract

“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. Luis Catão, Valeriya Dinger, and Daniel Marcel te Kaat
Using a sample of over 700 banks in Latin America, we show that international financial liberalization lowers bank capital ratios and increases the shares of short-term funding. Following liberalization, large banks substitute interbank borrowing for equity and long-term funding, whereas small banks increase the proportions of retail funding in their liabilities, which have been particularly vulnerable to flight-to-quality during periods of financial distress in much of Latin America. We also find evidence that riskier bank funding in the aftermath of financial liberalizations is exacerbated by asymmetric information, which rises on geographical distance and the opacity of balance sheets.
Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, Mr. Juan Zalduendo, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, Mr. Jun I Kim, Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan, and Mr. Bikas Joshi

Abstract

This paper examines the various roles of IMF financing in crisis prevention. Emerging market economies that experienced financial crises in the past have been subject to enormous economic and social costs, highlighting the importance of crisis prevention. While the main defense against a crisis lies in a country’s own policies and institutional framework, the IMF can contribute to these efforts through its surveillance activities, provision of technical assistance, and promotion of standards and codes. But the IMF may be able to contribute to crisis prevention more directly by providing contingent financial support. This paper explores the theoretical basis of, and empirical evidence for, possible “crisis prevention programs.”

International Monetary Fund
This paper examines the theoretical foundations for, and empirical evidence of, Fund support in preventing capital account crises. At a theoretical level, Fund supported programs can lower the crisis probability in two ways. First, such programs provide the member with additional external reserves, making a run for the exit by private creditors less likely. Second, such programs induce and signal better economic policies, though this needs to be supported by conditionality.
Ms. Uma Ramakrishnan and Mr. Juan Zalduendo
This paper examines the role of IMF-supported programs in crisis prevention; specifically, whether, conditional on an episode of intense market pressures, IMF financial support helps prevent a capital account crisis from developing and, if so, through what channels. In doing so, the paper distinguishes between the seal of approval inherent in IMF support and its financing, evaluates the interaction of IMF support with economic policies, and assesses whether IMF financing has a different impact on the likelihood of a crisis than other forms of liquidity. The main result is that IMF financing helps prevent crises through the liquidity provided (i.e., money matters). However, since the effect holds even after controlling for (gross) foreign exchange reserves, stronger policies and the seal of approval under an IMFsupported program must also play a role. Finally, the results suggest that IMF financing as a crisis prevention tool is most effective for an intermediate range of economic fundamentals.
Curzio Giannini and Mr. Carlo Cottarelli
During the 1990s, the concept of "catalytic official finance" (COF) gained prominence in policy debates. The concept revolves around the idea that the propensity of investors to lend to a country increases when the IMF provides its "seal of approval"-backed up by only limited official financing-on the country's economic program. COF aims at avoiding, on the one hand, the massive use of public money to bail out private investors; on the other, the recourse to coercive bailing-in mechanisms. The paper concludes that COF, while possibly useful in other contexts, is less reliable when used to manage capital account crises.
Mr. Eduardo Levy Yeyati
The removal of government guarantees in borrowing countries does not eliminate the moral hazard problem posed by the existence of deposit guarantees in lender countries. The paper shows that, after restrictions on international capital flows are lifted, banks in low-risk developed countries benefit from lending funds captured in home markets at low deposit rates to high-risk/high-yield projects in emerging economies, even though these projects command lower expected returns. This, in turn, has a negative impact on bank profitability in the borrowing country, even when foreign funds are intermediated through domestic banks. The results are consistent with the surge in international bank lending flows that led to recent banking crises in Asia.
Ms. Catherine A Pattillo and Mr. Andrew Berg
This paper evaluates three models for predicting currency crises that were proposed before 1997. The idea is to answer the question: if we had been using these models in late 1996, how well armed would we have been to predict the Asian crisis? The results are mixed but somewhat encouraging. One model, and our modifications to it, provide useful forecasts, at least compared with a naive benchmark. The head-to-head comparison also sheds light on the economics of currency crises, the nature of the Asian crisis, and issues in the empirical modeling of currency crises.