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Mr. Paolo Mauro, Tatiana Didier, and Mr. Sergio L. Schmukler
While a number of emerging market crises were characterized by widespread contagion during the 1990s, more recent crises (notably, in Argentina) have been mostly contained within national borders. This has led some observers to wonder whether contagion might have become a feature of the past, with markets now better discriminating between countries with good and bad fundamentals. This paper argues that a prudent working assumption is that contagion has not vanished permanently. Available data do not seem to point to a disappearance of the main channels that contribute to transmitting crises across countries. Moreover, anticipation of the Argentine crisis by international investors may help explain the recent absence of contagion.
Mr. Michael Andrews
Bonds issued by the government or government agencies are often used to finance bank restructuring following a systemic crisis. Many conflicting considerations affect the design of the bonds used to pay for public sector investment in bank equity or the purchase of distressed assets from banks. Some bond features can leave restructured banks facing significant risks, laying the foundation for future banking sector problems. Sovereign default makes publicly financed bank restructuring more difficult, but it is still possible to carry out if banks receive sufficient interest income to provide a margin over their cost of funds.
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.
Mr. R. B. Johnston, Mr. Balázs Horváth, Mr. Luca Errico, and Ms. Jingqing Chai
This paper examines the regulatory and supervisory implications stemming from the dominance of large and complex financial institutions, drawing on the recent Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) mission work on Sweden. The analysis highlights the importance of consolidated supervision, of a greater emphasis on effective management and corporate governance structures, and of measures strengthening the disciplinary role of the private sector. It calls for developing credible liquidity and crisis management arrangements through appropriate attention to the cross-product and cross-border nature of large and complex financial institution (LCFI) operations. Strengthened supervisory and regulatory responses will enable financial markets to better assess the nature and sources of residual risks they have to face and, on this basis, to develop more effective risk-mitigating measures.
Mr. Eduardo Borensztein and Mr. Paolo Mauro
This paper seeks to revive the case for countries to self-insure against economic growth slowdowns by issuing GDP-indexed bonds. We simulate the effects of GDP-indexed bonds under different assumptions about fiscal policy reaction functions and their output effects and find that they could substantially reduce the likelihood that debt/GDP paths become explosive. The insurance premium would likely be small, because cross-country comovement of GDP growth rates is low and cross-country GDP growth risk is thus largely diversifiable for an investor holding a portfolio of GDP-indexed bonds. Potential obstacles to the emergence of a market for these bonds include the verifiability of GDP data, the trade-off between insurance and moral hazard, and the need for liquidity. The paper discusses institutional fixes and suggests an approach to attempting to start up a market.
Mr. Carlo A Sdralevich and Mr. Biaggio Bossone
The paper discusses key incentive-related issues of the sovereign debt restructuring mechanism recently outlined by the IMF First Deputy Managing Director. The structure of incentives in the mechanism should be consistent with the principle of favoring market-oriented, voluntary solutions to financial crises. The paper frames the mechanism in the context of involving the private sector in financial crisis resolution (PSI), and identifies the conditions for setting up an appropriate incentive structure. The paper explores issues relating to the functioning of the mechanism, including access policy on IMF resources; the power to activate the mechanism; its relation with intermediate PSI instruments; and its impact on investment in emerging markets.
Mr. Mark R. Stone
This paper summarizes the objectives, tasks, and modalities of large-scale, post-crisis corporate restructuring based on nine recent episodes with a view to organizing the policy choices and drawing some general conclusions. These episodes suggest that government-led restructuring efforts should integrate corporate and bank restructuring in a holistic and transparent strategy based on clearly defined objective and including sunset provisions.
Mr. Andy M. Wolfe, Mr. Jeffrey M. Davis, and Mr. James Daniel
Current guidelines and practice for classifying government bank assistance operations inadequately capture in the fiscal balance some of the most common, and important, operations. The shortcomings result from the focus on the general government, the exclusion of non-cash operations, and divergences between the timing of cash outlays and the economic impact of assistance operations. Complementing the standard measures of the fiscal balance with an “augmented” balance would provide a definition that is transparent, comprehensive, and reasonably comparable across countries. The augmented balance would explicitly incorporate the major quantifiable fiscal costs of bank assistance operations that are not already included in current definitions of the overall balance.
Mr. Eduardo Borensztein
This paper discusses the broad orientation of the economic systems adopted in developing countries. While government-led development strategies were widely followed by developing countries since the 1950s and 1960s, a distinct trend towards the adoption of market-oriented systems has developed in the last decade. The paper reviews international trade policies, noting the move away from protectionism, and financial markets policies, where financial repression is also giving way to more liberal systems. The paper also discusses newer ideas supporting “industrial policies” or policies to promote certain export activities, that are partly inspired by the success of several East Asian economies, and observes that their application to other developing countries would not be promising.
Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian and Mr. Charles Collyns
A number of developing countries, including some of the largest debtors, have recently completed comprehensive debt and debt service restructuring packages with their commercial bank creditors. The experience of these countries provides important lessons for other countries that are just embarking on discussions to normalize their external payments situation. Following a brief description of the framework of the international debt strategy, this paper discusses the main lessons, distinguishing between those that are relevant to the process of negotiation and those relevant to the structure of the package being negotiated. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the authors) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the authors) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.