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  • Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation x
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Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Ms. Gaelle Pierre, Mr. Benedicte Baduel, Dominique Fayad, Alexander de Keyserling, Mr. Babacar Sarr, and Mariusz A. Sumlinski
This IMF Departmental Paper presents the key areas in which countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucasus and Central Asia (MECA) can enhance governance and fight corruption to achieve their economic policy goals. It draws on advances that have already taken hold in the region.
Mr. Andreas A. Jobst and Mr. Juan Sole
This paper provides a conceptual overview of key aspects of the design and implementation of solvency stress testing of Islamic banks. Based on existing regulatory standards and prudential practice, the paper explains how Islamic finance principles and their impact on various risk drivers affect the capital assessment of asset-oriented financial intermediation under stress. The formal specification of these risk factors helps operationalize and integrate the stress testing of Islamic banks within established frameworks for financial stability analysis.
Raja Almarzoqi, Mr. Sami Ben Naceur, and Alessandro Scopelliti
The paper analyzes the relationship between bank competition and stability, with a specific focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Price competition has a positive effect on bank liquidity, as it induces self-discipline incentives on banks for the choice of bank funding sources and for the holding of liquid assets. On the other hand, price competition may have a potentially negative impact on bank solvency and on the credit quality of the loan portfolio. More competitive banks may be less solvent if the potential increase in the equity base—due to capital adjustments—is not large enough to compensate for the reduction in bank profitability. Also, banks subject to stronger competitive pressures may have a higher rate of nonperforming loans, if the increase in the risk-taking incentives from the lender’s side overcomes the decrease in the credit risk from the borrower’s side. In both cases, country-specific policies for market entry conditions—and for bank regulation and supervision—may significantly affect the sign and the size of the relationship. The paper suggests policy reforms designed to improve market contestability and to increase the quality and independence of prudential supervision.
Ms. Inutu Lukonga
Consumer protection and financial literacy are essential pillars of a well functioning and stable financial system. As the global financial crisis demonstrated, inadequate attention to consumer protection and financial literacy can lead to financial instability. Though Shari’ah principles provide a strong foundation for consumer protection, the principles alone cannot provide adequate protection because not all providers are guided by ethical precepts and the practices have deviated from the principles. To safeguard the stability of the Islamic finance industry, consumer protection frameworks that cater to the specifics of Islamic financial products should be an integral part of regulatory frameworks.
Ms. Zsofia Arvai, Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad, and Mr. Kentaro Katayama
As undiversified commodity exporters, GCC economies are prone to pro-cyclical systemic risk in the financial system. During periods of high hydrocarbon prices, favorable economic prospects make the financial sector keen to lend, leading to higher domestic credit growth and easier access to external financing. Fiscal policy is a very important tool for macroeconomic management, but due to the significant time lags and expenditure rigidities, it has not been a flexible enough tool to prevent credit booms and the build-up of systemic risk in the GCC. This, together with limited monetary policy independence because of the pegged exchange rate, means that macro-prudential policy has a particularly important role in limiting systemic risk in the financial system. This importance is reinforced by the underdeveloped financial markets in the region that provide limited risk management tools and shortcomings in crisis resolution frameworks. This paper will discuss the importance of macro-prudential policy in the GCC countries, look at the experience with macro-prudential policies in the boom/bust cycle in the second half of the 2000s, and use the broad frameworks being developed in the Fund and elsewhere to discuss ways existing frameworks and policy toolkits in the region can be strengthened given the characteristics of the GCC economies.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper estimates the optimal allocation of government current spending, precautionary saving, and investment for Kuwait under uncertainty. The results show that in the face of high oil income volatility and the expected decline in oil prices, projected current spending exceeds the optimal amount over the medium term (2013–2018). However, there is room to increase investment spending, which should contribute to the growth of the tradable sector, as the projected investment rate is lower than the optimal investment rate of 20 percent of government income.
Mr. Jemma Dridi and Maher Hasan
This paper examines the performance of Islamic banks (IBs) and conventional banks (CBs) during the recent global crisis by looking at the impact of the crisis on profitability, credit and asset growth, and external ratings in a group of countries where the two types of banks have significant market share. Our analysis suggests that IBs have been affected differently than CBs. Factors related to IBs‘ business model helped limit the adverse impact on profitability in 2008, while weaknesses in risk management practices in some IBs led to a larger decline in profitability in 2009 compared to CBs. IBs‘ credit and asset growth performed better than did that of CBs in 2008-09, contributing to financial and economic stability. External rating agencies‘ re-assessment of IBs‘ risk was generally more favorable.
International Monetary Fund
The study shows that the global financial crisis has adversely affected Kuwait’s financial system, especially in the Investment Company (IC) sector. Stress tests indicate that, in contrast to the ICs, the banking system could broadly withstand significant shocks. The Central Bank of Kuwait's (CBK) well-designed framework for banks has proven effective in shielding the banking sector from the crisis. It shows that the enactment of the capital market law is an important step toward the creation of Certified Management Accountant (CMA). The study shows that a powerful regulatory regime is needed for the insurance sector.
Mr. Juan Sole
Over the last decade, Islamic banking has experienced global growth rates of 10-15 percent per annum, and has been moving into an increasing number of conventional financial systems at such a rapid pace that Islamic financial institutions are present today in over 51 countries. Despite this consistent growth, many supervisory authorities and finance practitioners remain unfamiliar with the process by which Islamic banks are introduced into a conventional system. This paper attempts to shed some light in this area by describing the main phases in the process, and by flagging some of the main challenges that countries will face as Islamic banking develops alongside conventional institutions.