International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper analyzes saving to understand history and identify the drivers in Malaysia. IMF analysis suggests that Malaysia’s current account (CA) surplus is higher than warranted by medium-term fundamentals and desired policies. The changes in the corporate saving rate almost entirely reflect the changes within each group of firms of similar size or age. Leveraging firm-level data for listed firms, the paper focuses on the contribution to the CA surplus of private non-financial corporations. The trend analysis indicates a high dependence of listed firms in Malaysia on internal funds (savings) to finance their investments or, equivalently, a lower dependence on external funds. The results suggest that relaxing firms’ external financing constraints and lifting productivity growth could help encourage investment and reduce excess corporate saving. The regression results show that the transaction cost and precautionary saving motives, as well as their interaction with external financing dependence, could play an important role in explaining corporate net saving.
Over the last two decades, cash holdings in nonfinancial firms around the world have increased. This phenomenon is particularly concerning in Japan, where the success of Abenomics depends on a transition from stimulus-driven to self-sustaining growth based on private consumption and investment. This paper finds that Japanese nonfinancial firms have accumulated cash at the expense of investment and dividends, hampering this transition. The evidence suggests that cash accumulation is due to financial imperfections combined with rising corporate profitability and uncertainty, while corporate governance plays only a limited role. These firms have cash holdings available for investment of about 5 percent of GDP. Policy options for encouraging the use of these cash holdings include improving firms’ access to market-based financing and discouraging CEO duality.
Ms. Sally Chen, Mr. Philip Liu, Andrea M. Maechler, Chris Marsh, Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs, and Mr. Hyun S Shin
This paper explores the concept of global liquidity, its measurement and macro-financial importance. We construct two sets of indicators for global liquidity: a quantity series distinguishing between core and noncore liabilities of financial intermediatires and a corresponding price series. Using price and quantity indicators simultaneously, it is possible to distinguish between shocks to the supply and demand for global liquidity, and isolate their impact on the economy. Our results confirm that global liquidity conditions matter for economic and financial stability, and points to indicators whose regular monitoring could be valuable to policymakers.
This paper analyzes the implications of growing international economic integration for the conduct of structural policy. Section I points out that the internationalization of financial intermediation has raised the welfare costs associated with domestic distortions. The growing importance of structural policies in affecting domestic demand in a more integrated world economy is discussed in Section II. It is shown that domestic distortions reduce the effect of expansionary policy on the domestic economy. Section III examines the international transmission of unilateral structural policies. Section IV discusses the need for the international coordination of structural policies. Section V identifies structural areas in which international policy coordination is most urgent.