Mr. Geoffrey J Bannister, Mr. Jarkko Turunen, and Malin Gardberg
Despite significant strides in financial development over the past decades, financial dollarization, as reflected in elevated shares of foreign currency deposits and credit in the banking system, remains common in developing economies. We study the impact of financial dollarization, differentiating across foreign currency deposits and credit on financial depth, access and efficiency for a large sample of emerging market and developing countries over the past two decades. Panel regressions estimated using system GMM show that deposit dollarization has a negative impact on financial deepening on average. This negative impact is dampened in cases with past periods of high inflation. There is also some evidence that dollarization hampers financial efficiency. The results suggest that policy efforts to reduce dollarization can spur faster and safer financial development.
Cambodia is poised to join a new generation of Asian frontier economies transitioning from low-income to emerging-market. But the path to greater and more shared prosperity requires a solid foundation of sound macroeconomic policies, enabling new growth drivers, tackling a highly dollarized and fragmented financial system, and creating more fiscal policy space to help meet Cambodia’s vast development needs. This book first takes a closer look at the key economic challenges Cambodia faces at the current juncture, highlighting Cambodia’s structural and financial constraints to growth as well as shifting vulnerabilities as Asia rebalances. It then lays out how a strategy of fiscal and financial sector policies, from creating a fairer and more buoyant tax system to modernizing financial instruments, markets and supervision, can help mobilize the resources and tools needed for one of Asia’s youngest and fastest-growing populations to enjoy more self-sustaining and inclusive growth.
Over the past decade, Cambodia has become Asia’s most dollarized economy. In contrast, dollarization in neighboring Lao P.D.R., Mongolia, and Vietnam has been either declining or broadly stable. Somewhat paradoxically, growing dollarization in Cambodia has occurred against the backdrop of greater macroeconomic and political stability. The usual motive, currency substitution, does not appear to have been a factor. As the volume of dollars increased over the years, so has the volume of riel. A strong inward flow of dollars related to garments sector exports, tourism receipts, foreign direct investment, and aid, has benefitted the dollar based urban economy. The riel based rural economy has, however, lagged behind. Given international experience in de-dollarization, a carefully managed market based strategy, supported by a continued stable macroeconomic environment is essential for Cambodia’s de-dollarization.
This study examines the challenges and issues facing policymakers in highly dollarized economies. Focusing on Cambodia, which achieved almost complete dollarization during 1991-95, the authors review recent developments in the literature on dollarization and examine the costs and benefits of dollarization in Cambodia, including the ensuing macroeconomic policy implications. They carry out an econometric estimation of cash foreign currency circulation in Cambodia in order to gauge the degree of dollarization. In addition to this analysis, the authors present a short description of Cambodia’s economic, financial, and structural background.
Cambodia became dollarized suddenly in the early 1990s, as a result of massive dollar inflows stemming from a postconflict situation. Considering that the amount of dollars in circulation is unusually high, we attempt to estimate the true degree of dollarization empirically. Our results show that Cambodia has been virtually fully dollarized since 1995. Against a background of severe institutional limitations, the authorities have implemented in recent years policies akin to those of a de facto currency board arrangement, in particular with respect to fiscal discipline. The paper concludes that this policy mix has been appropriate for Cambodia's circumstances.
This paper reviews economic developments in Lao People’s Democratic Republic during 1996. The paper notes that real GDP growth of nearly 7 percent was readied despite disappointing growth in the agricultural sector in the aftermath of the floods. It highlights that the significant reduction in inflation in 1996 was brought about despite significant hikes in food prices as a result of those floods. The paper also indicates how the 1995/96 budget contributed to the financial tightening needed after the 1995 surge in inflation.