The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has hit financial systems across Africa, is likely to deteriorate banks’ balance sheets. The largest threat to banks pertains to their loan portfolios, since many borrowers have faced a sharp collapse in their income, and therefore have difficulty repaying their obligations as they come due. This could lead to a sharp increase in nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the short to medium term.
Declining commodity prices during mid-2014-2016 posed significant challenges to commodity-exporting economies. The severe terms of trade shock associated with a sharp fall in world commodity prices have raised anew questions about the viability of pegged exchange rate regimes. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures needed to contain its spread have been associated with a significant disruption in several economic sectors, in particular, travel, tourism, and hospitality industry, adding to the downward pressure on commodity prices, a sharp fall in foreign exchange earnings, and depressed economic activity in most commodity exporters. This paper reviews country experiences with different exchange rate regimes in coping with commodity price shocks and explores the role of flexible exchange rates as a shock absorber, analyzing the macroeconomic impact of adverse term-of-trade shocks under different regimes using event study and panel vector autoregression techniques. It also analyzes, conceptually and empirically, policy and technical considerations in making exchange rate regime choices and discusses the supporting policies that should accompany a given regime choice to make that choice sustainable. It offers lessons that could be helpful to the Caribbean commodity-exporters.
The 2009 reforms have broadly achieved their objective of closing gaps and creating a streamlined architecture of facilities that is better tailored to the diverse needs of LICs. Supported by the financing package to boost the PRGT’s lending capacity for 2009–14 and the accompanying doubling of access, the Fund was able to mount an effective response to LICs’ needs during the global financial crisis.
Only a minority of countries have succeeded in establishing a developed financial system, despite widespread financial liberalization. Confronted with this finding, the political institutions view claims that sustained financial deepening is most likely to take place in institutional environments where governments effectively impose constraints on their own powers in order to create trust. This paper identifies over 200 post-1960 episodes of accelerations in financial development in a large cross-section of countries. We find that the likelihood of an acceleration leading to sustained financial development increases greatly in environments that have high-quality political institutions.