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Mr. Sami Ben Naceur, Mr. Ralph Chami, and Mohamed Trabelsi
This paper explores the relationship between remittances and financial inclusion for a sample of 187 countries over the period 2004-2015, using cross-country as well as dynamic panel GMM regressions. At low levels of remittances-to-GDP, these flows act as a substitute to formal financial channels, thereby reducing financial inclusion. In contrast, when remittance-to-GDP ratio is high, above 13% on average, they tend to complement formal access and usage channels, thus enhancing financial inclusion. This “U shaped” relationship highlights the role of remittance flows in financing household consumption at low levels, while raising formal household bank savings and allowing for more intermediation, at high levels of remittance-to-GDP.
Mr. Luis Catão, Valeriya Dinger, and Daniel Marcel te Kaat
Using a sample of over 700 banks in Latin America, we show that international financial liberalization lowers bank capital ratios and increases the shares of short-term funding. Following liberalization, large banks substitute interbank borrowing for equity and long-term funding, whereas small banks increase the proportions of retail funding in their liabilities, which have been particularly vulnerable to flight-to-quality during periods of financial distress in much of Latin America. We also find evidence that riskier bank funding in the aftermath of financial liberalizations is exacerbated by asymmetric information, which rises on geographical distance and the opacity of balance sheets.
Stephanie Medina Cas, Mr. Andrew J Swiston, and Mr. Luis D Barrot
This paper studies the potential for the export sector to play a more important role in promoting growth in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (CAPDR) through deeper intra-regional and global trade integration. CAPDR countries have enacted many free trade agreements and other regional integration initiatives in recent years, but this paper finds that their exports remain below the norm for countries of their size. Several indexes of outward orientation are constructed and suggest that the breadth of geographic trading relationships, depth of integration into global production chains, and degree of technological sophistication of exports in CAPDR are less conducive to higher exports and growth than in fast-growing, export-oriented economies. To boost exports and growth, CAPDR should implement policies to facilitate economic integration, particularly building a customs union, harmonizing trade rules, improving logistics and infrastructure, and enhancing regional cordination.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper surveys the foreign exchange markets, money and secondary government security markets, and stock exchanges in 107 smaller economy countries. The underdevelopment of these markets impedes risk transfer, monetary policy, corporate financing, and the capacity to absorb capital inflows. This study marks a first step toward formulating policies to develop essential smaller economy financial markets by documenting the stylized facts and presenting a framework for assessing the policy issues.

Ms. Emilia M Jurzyk and Mr. Bernhard Fritz-Krockow
This paper examines the relationship between fixed exchange rate arrangements and trade using a gravity model of international trade together with bilateral trade data from 24 countries from the Caribbean and Latin America for the period 1960-2001. The analysis indicates that a credible fixed peg has a positive impact on the value of bilateral trade. Moreover, the positive impact on trade is more pronounced with a stricter definition of the fixed peg or a longer duration of the peg. This supports the argument that the credibility of an exchange rate peg is an important element to determine bilateral trade. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that a currency union provides additional benefits.
Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Padamja Khandelwal, and Mr. Alexander Lehmann
We assess the current barriers to trade in financial services in the six Central American countries seeking a free trade agreement with the United States (the CAFTA) and examine the relative merits of regional and multilateral liberalization. Even though there are few formal barriers, deficiencies in regulatory and competition standards and in the judicial systems still restrict the participation of foreign institutions in the financial systems in the region. A greater presence of such institutions could support other objectives of trade and investment liberalization, though it would require several adjustments in prudential supervision at national levels and greater cooperation between members of the CAFTA.