Mr. Fabian Valencia, Richard Varghese, Weijia Yao, and Juan Yepez
The policy response to the COVID-19 shock included regulatory easing across many jurisdictions to facilitate the flow of credit to the economy and mitigate a further ampli-fication of the shock through tighter financial conditions. Using an intraday event study,this paper examines how stock prices—a key driver in financial conditions—reacted to regulatory easing announcements in a sample of 18 advanced economies and 8 emerging markets. The paper finds that overall, regulatory easing announcements contributed to looser financial conditions, but effects varied across sectors and tools. Financial regulatory easing led to lower valuations for financial sector stocks, and higher valuations for non-financial sector stocks, particularly for industries that are more dependent on bank financing. Furthermore, valuations declined and financial conditions tightened following announcements related to easier bank capital regulation while equity valuation rose and financial conditions loosened after those about liquidity regulation. Effects from non-regulatory financial measures appear to be generally more muted.
Guyana’s residential real estate prices have been rising, particularly in the capital city Georgetown, following the discovery of oil in 2015. In line with the growing demand for housing, commercial banks’ housing loans have increased, prompting higher household debt. This paper presents two analyses which suggest that housing prices in Georgetown and banks’ lending to the housing sector appear to be in their early stages of growth. However, given the data limitations and caveats that underpin the analyses, the findings could also indicate early signals of possible risks. Further data collection would support surveillance and deeper studies. At the same time, enhancing prudential measures would help safeguard financial and macroeconomic stability. These include strengthening the monitoring of the housing market, bank lending practices and household debt, as well as fortifying the macroprudential framework, including with more effective toolkits for early intervention.
Ms. Ghada Fayad, Chengyu Huang, Yoko Shibuya, and Peng Zhao
This paper applies state-of-the-art deep learning techniques to develop the first sentiment index measuring member countries’ reception of IMF policy advice at the time of Article IV Consultations. This paper finds that while authorities of member countries largely agree with Fund advice, there is variation across country size, external openness, policy sectors and their assessed riskiness, political systems, and commodity export intensity. The paper also looks at how sentiment changes during and after a financial arrangement or program with the Fund, as well as when a country receives IMF technical assistance. The results shed light on key aspects on Fund surveillance while redefining how the IMF can view its relevance, value added, and traction with its member countries.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2019 Article IV Consultation highlights that Brunei’s economy has been adjusting to declining oil production since 2010 and lower oil and gas (O&G) prices since 2014, with the authorities undertaking wide-ranging reforms. Growth is expected to pick up in 2019 to 1.8 percent, with the outlook improving further over the medium term, driven by stronger O&G activities from asset rejuvenation and large foreign direct investment projects. The authorities have made substantial progress in fiscal consolidation, improving the business climate, and developing the financial sector. The fiscal consolidation initiatives include corporatization and privatization, public-private partnership, evaluation of subsidies against targets, fiscal management enhancement, revenue diversification, and amalgamation of the government’s asset management system. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ initiatives to develop the financial sector, while safeguarding financial stability and integrity. The initiatives include steps to broaden the investor base, establish a secondary bond market, develop the required infrastructure and rules for establishing a stock exchange, and put all the three pillars of Basel II in place.