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Pierpaolo Grippa and Lucyna Gornicka
Concentration risk is an important feature of many banking sectors, especially in emerging and small economies. Under the Basel Framework, Pillar 1 capital requirements for credit risk do not cover concentration risk, and those calculated under the Internal Ratings Based (IRB) approach explicitly exclude it. Banks are expected to compensate for this by autonomously estimating and setting aside appropriate capital buffers, which supervisors are required to assess and possibly challenge within the Pillar 2 process. Inadequate reflection of this risk can lead to insufficient capital levels even when the capital ratios seem high. We propose a flexible technique, based on a combination of “full” credit portfolio modeling and asymptotic results, to calculate capital requirements for name and sector concentration risk in banks’ portfolios. The proposed approach lends itself to be used in bilateral surveillance, as a potential area for technical assistance on banking supervision, and as a policy tool to gauge the degree of concentration risk in different banking systems.
International Monetary Fund
The already sluggish global recovery has suffered new setbacks and uncertainty weighs heavily on prospects. The euro area crisis intensified in the first half of 2012 and growth has slowed across the globe, reflecting financial market tensions, extensive fiscal tightening in many countries, and high uncertainty about medium-term prospects. Activity is forecast to remain tepid and bumpy, with a further escalation of the euro-area crisis or a failure to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in the United States entailing significant downside risk.
Mr. Oral Williams and Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes
This paper uses a pairwise approach to investigate the main factors that have been driving inflation differentials in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region for the past two decades. The results suggest that inflation differentials in the GCC are largely influenced by the oil cycle, mainly through the credit and fiscal channels. This implies that closer coordination of fiscal policies will be key for facilitating the closer integration of the GCC economies and ahead of the move to a monetary union. The results also indicate that after controlling for cyclical factors, convergence increased even during the recent oil boom.
Samya Beidas-Strom, Mr. Tobias N. Rasmussen, and Mr. David Robinson
Departmental papers are usually focused on a specific economic topic, country, or region. They are prepared in a timely way to support the outreach needs of the IMF’s area and functional departments.
Mr. Raphael A Espinoza and Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad
According to a dynamic panel estimated over 1995 - 2008 on around 80 banks in the GCC region, the NPL ratio worsens as economic growth becomes lower and interest rates and risk aversion increase. Our model implies that the cumulative effect of macroeconomic shocks over a three year horizon is indeed large. Firm-specific factors related to risk-taking and efficiency are also related to future NPLs. The paper finally investigates the feedback effect of increasing NPLs on growth using a VAR model. According to the panel VAR, there could be a strong, albeit short-lived feedback effect from losses in banks’ balance sheets on economic activity, with a semi-elasticity of around 0.4.
Ms. May Y Khamis and Mr. Abdelhak S Senhadji
Departmental papers are usually focused on a specific economic topic, country, or region. They are prepared in a timely way to support the outreach needs of the IMF’s area and functional departments.
Ms. May Y Khamis, Mr. Abdelhak S Senhadji, Mr. Gabriel Sensenbrenner, Mr. Francis Y Kumah, Maher Hasan, and Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad
This paper focuses on impact of the global financial crisis on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries and challenges ahead. The oil price boom led to large fiscal and external balance surpluses in the GCC countries. However, it also generated domestic imbalances that began to unravel with the onset of the global credit squeeze. As the global deleveraging process took hold, and oil prices and production fell, the GCC’s external and fiscal surpluses declined markedly, stock and real estate markets plunged, credit default swap spreads on sovereign debt widened, and external funding for the financial and corporate sectors tightened. In order to offset the shocks brought on by the crisis, governments—buttressed by strong international reserve positions—maintained high levels of spending and introduced exceptional financial measures, including capital and liquidity injections. The immediate priority is to complete the clean-up of bank balance sheets and the restructuring of the nonbanking sector in some countries. Clear communication by the authorities would help implementation, ease investor uncertainty, and reduce speculation and market volatility.
Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad and Pierluigi Bologna
This note assesses the impact of the global financial risks on Oman's banking system and highlights the remaining risks. It concludes that the liquidity and prudential measures introduced by the authorities mitigated the adverse effects of the crisis on the banking system. Banks continue to make profits despite higher provisioning. Stress tests confirm the resilience of the banking system to credit and market risks. Banks have limited exposure to derivatives and the majority of the off-balance sheet exposures are conventional and relatively secure. Interest rate risks are within an acceptable range.
Mr. Ugo Fasano-Filho and Ms. Andrea Schaechter

Abstract

The six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)--Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates--have made important progress toward economic and financial integration, with the aim of establishing an economic and monetary union. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the economic performance and policies of the GCC countries during 1990-2002. Drawing on the lessons from the experience of selected currency and monetary unions in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean, it assesses the potential costs and benefits of a common currency for GCC countries and also reviews the options for implementing a monetary union among these countries.

Ms. Catharina J. Hooyman
The paper discussed the use of foreign exchange swaps by central banks. Such use has aimed at affecting domestic liquidity, managing foreign exchange reserves, and stimulating domestic financial markets. It discusses these different uses and present evidence for a selected group of countries. The paper cautions about the use of foreign exchange swaps to defend a particular exchange rate at a time when foreign exchange reserves are under pressure. It notes, finally, that use of foreign exchange swaps by central banks has been losing importance.