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Aliona Cebotari and Karim Youssef
Natural disasters are a source of economic risks in many countries, especially in smaller and lower-income states, and ex-ante preparedness is needed to manage the risks. The paper discusses sovereign experience with disaster insurance as a key instrument to mitigate the risks; proposes ways to judge the adequacy of insurance; and considers ways to enhance its use by vulnerable countries. The paper especially aims to inform policy decisions on disaster insurance. Through simulations of natural disasters and various insurance options, we find that sovereign decisions on optimal risk transfer involve balancing trade-offs between growth and debt, based on government risk preferences and country risk exposure. The choice of optimal insurance for smaller countries turns out to be more constrained by cost considerations due to their higher exposure, likely resulting in underinsurance; donor grants could help them achieve a more optimal protection. We also find that optimal insurance packages are those that are least costly relative to expected payouts (i.e. have the lowest insurance multiple), which are also the packages that insure less severe (more frequent) disasters.
Mr. Marcos d Chamon, Mr. David J Hofman, Mr. Nicolas E Magud, and Alejandro M. Werner

Abstract

Foreign exchange intervention is widely used as a policy tool, particularly in emerging markets, but many facets of this tool remain limited, especially in the context of flexible exchange rate regimes. The Latin American experience can be informative because some of its largest countries adopted floating exchange rate regimes and inflation targeting while continuing to intervene in foreign exchange markets. This edited volume reviews detailed accounts from several Latin American countries’ central banks, and it provides insight into how and with what aim many interventions were decided and implemented. This book documents the effectiveness of intervention and pays special attention to the role of foreign exchange intervention policy within inflation-targeting monetary frameworks. The main lesson from Latin America’s foreign exchange interventions, in the context of inflation targeting, is that the region has had a considerable degree of success. Transparency and a clear communication policy have been key. For economies that are not highly dollarized, rules-based intervention helped contain financial instability and build international reserves while preserving inflation targets. The Latin American experience can help other countries in the design and implementation of their policies.

International Monetary Fund
The quota database has been updated by one year through 2014. Overall, the results of the update continue the broad trends observed in previous updates, but the shifts between the main country groups are generally smaller. Using the current quota formula, the calculated quota share of Emerging Market and Developing Countries (EMDCs) as a group increases by 0.6 percentage points relative to the 2015 update to 49.3 percent, which is about half the increase in the last update. The paper takes stock of recent discussions on the quota formula, including the outcome of the Quota Formula Review in 2013 and subsequent discussions in the context of the annual quota data updates. It also updates the illustrative simulations of possible reforms of the quota formula presented previously, using the latest data. These simulations have sought to capture possible reforms that would be broadly in line with the conclusions of the Quota Formula Review and Directors’ guidance is sought on the relative merits of these reforms and the most productive areas for future work. Download Quota Data: Updated IMF Quota Formula Variables - September 2016
Mr. Shaun K. Roache and Mrs. Marina V Rousset
We examine the effects of unconventional monetary policy (UMP) events in the United States on asset price risk using risk-neutral density functions estimated from options prices. Based on an event study including a key exchange rate, an equity index, and five commodities, we find that “tail risk” diminishes in the immediate aftermath of UMP events, particularly downside left tail risk. We also find that QE1 and QE3 had stronger effects than QE2. We conclude that UMP events that serve to ease policies can help to bolster market confidence in times of high uncertainty.
International Monetary Fund
The Executive Board has held three formal meetings on the quota formula review, and discussions have also taken place in other fora including the IMFC Deputies work stream and the G-20 IFA Working Group. Considerable progress has been made in terms of identifying areas of common ground as well as those areas where views differ. At their most recent meeting in late September, Directors reaffirmed their commitment to completing the review by January 2013, and stressed that achieving this goal will require constructive engagement and a spirit of flexibility and compromise from all sides. At its subsequent meeting in Tokyo, the IMFC called on the membership to develop the consensus needed through further engagement of the Executive Board, with input from the IMFC Deputies, to complete the review by January 2013.
International Monetary Fund
In March 2012, the Executive Board held its first formal discussion on the comprehensive review of the quota formula. This review, to be completed by January 2013, is an important part of the quota and governance reforms agreed in 2010. Directors stressed the importance of agreeing on a quota formula that better reflects members’ relative positions in the global economy for future discussions on the 15th General Review of Quotas. This view was reiterated in April by the IMFC, which looked forward to an agreement by January 2013: "…on a simple and transparent quota formula that better reflects members’ relative positions in the world economy." The IMFC also reaffirmed its commitment to complete the 15th quota review by January 2014. It noted that any realignment is expected to result in increases in the quota shares of dynamic economies in line with their relative positions in the world economy, and hence likely in the share of EMDCs as a whole; and that steps shall be taken to protect the voice and representation of the poorest members. The Board held an informal follow-up meeting on June 13, 2012.
International Monetary Fund
In the context of the ongoing review of Fund facilities, this paper examines the analytical basis for Fund lending in emerging market countries and provides a broad-ranging perspective for reforming the General Resources Account (GRA) lending toolkit. The Fund’s important lending role in crisis prevention and resolution is buttressed by its unique characteristics: (i) its ability as a nonatomistic lender to provide large-scale financing and reduce the likelihood of a run by private creditors; (ii) its ability as a cooperative institution with near-universal membership to agree conditionality with members, thus providing national authorities with a policy commitment tool to underpin confidence and catalyze private lending; and (iii) its de facto preferred creditor status, which allows it to provide crisis financing when private creditors may be reluctant to lend.
Mr. Ousmene J Mandeng
This paper aims to identify appropriate option contract specifications for effective central bank exchange market intervention. Option contract specifications determine the impact of options on the underlying asset or currency, and hence their actual effect on asset price or currency volatility and are therefore key to determining the effectiveness of option-based intervention. The paper reviews the experience of the systematic option-based foreign exchange market intervention of the Central Bank of Colombia and finds that its contract has only been moderately successful at abating exchange rate volatility, which is attributed here to sub-optimal contract specifications.
Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau and Mr. Armando Méndez Morales
This paper analyzes the informational efficiency of OTC currency options on the Czech koruna and the Polish zloty correcting for the volatility risk premium and errors-in-variable problems, using state-of-the-art techniques (Chernov 2001). It finds that these markets are more efficient than mature markets possibly because of higher relative participation of informed dedicated investors, which offset the effects of relative illiquidity and higher transaction costs in these countries. Moreover, implied volatilities generally anticipate the direction of volatility correctly, with a bias to overpredicting volatility increases reflecting one-sided markets.