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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

Near-term global financial stability risks have been contained as an unprecedented policy response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has helped avert a financial meltdown and maintain the flow of credit to the economy. For the first time, many emerging market central banks have launched asset purchase programs to support the smooth functioning of financial markets and the overall economy. But the outlook remains highly uncertain, and vulnerabilities are rising, representing potential headwinds to recovery. The report presents an assessment of the real-financial disconnect, as well as forward-looking analysis of nonfinancial firms, banks, and emerging market capital flows. After the outbreak, firms’ cash flows were adversely affected as economic activity declined sharply. More vulnerable firms—those with weaker solvency and liquidity positions and smaller size—experienced greater financial stress than their peers in the early stages of the crisis. As the crisis unfolds, corporate liquidity pressures may morph into insolvencies, especially if the recovery is delayed. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are more vulnerable than large firms with access to capital markets. Although the global banking system is well capitalized, some banking systems may experience capital shortfalls in an adverse scenario, even with the currently deployed policy measures. The report also assesses the pandemic’s impact on firms’ environmental performance to gauge the extent to which the crisis may result in a reversal of the gains posted in recent years.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The April 2020 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) assesses the financial stability challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Chapter 1 describes how financial conditions tightened abrubtly with the onset of the pandemic, with risk asset prices dropping sharply as investors rushed to safety and liquidity. It finds that a further tightening of financial conditions may expose vulnerabilities, including among nonbank financial institutions, and that bank resilience may be tested if economic and financial market stresses rise. Vulnerabilities in global risky corporate credit markets, including weakened credit quality of borrowers, looser underwriting standards, liquidity risks at investment funds, and increased interconnectedness, could generate losses at nonbank financial institutions in a severe adverse scenario, as discussed in Chapter 2. The pandemic led to an unprecedented and sharp reversal of portfolio flows, highlighting the challenges of managing flows in emerging and frontier markets. Chapter 3 shows that global financial conditions tend to influence portfolio flows more during surges than in normal times, that stronger domestic fundamentals can help mitigate outflows, and that greater foreign participation in local currency bond markets may increase price volatility where domestic markets lack depth. Beyond the immediate challenges of COVID-19, Chapter 4 explores the profitability pressures that banks are likely to face over the medium term in an environment where low interest rates are expected to persist. Chapter 5 takes a broader perspective on physical risks associated with climate change. It finds that these risks do not appear to be reflected in global equity valuations and that stress testing and better disclosure of exposures to climatic hazards are essential to better assess physical risk.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The October 2019 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) identifies the current key vulnerabilities in the global financial system as the rise in corporate debt burdens, increasing holdings of riskier and more illiquid assets by institutional investors, and growing reliance on external borrowing by emerging and frontier market economies. The report proposes that policymakers mitigate these risks through stricter supervisory and macroprudential oversight of firms, strengthened oversight and disclosure for institutional investors, and the implementation of prudent sovereign debt management practices and frameworks for emerging and frontier market economies.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Financial Systems Dept.

Abstract

The April 2019 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) finds that despite significant variability over the past two quarters, financial conditions remain accommodative. As a result, financial vulnerabilities have continued to build in the sovereign, corporate, and nonbank financial sectors in several systemically important countries, leading to elevated medium-term risks. The report attempts to provide a comprehensive assessment of these vulnerabilities while focusing specifically on corporate sector debt in advanced economies, the sovereign–financial sector nexus in the euro area, China’s financial imbalances, volatile portfolio flows to emerging markets, and downside risks to the housing market. These vulnerabilities require action by policymakers, including through the clear communication of any changes in their monetary policy outlook, the deployment and expansion of macroprudential tools, the stepping up of measures to repair public and private sector balance sheets, and the strengthening of emerging market resilience to foreign portfolio outflows. This GFSR also takes an in depth look at house prices at risk, a measure of downside risks to future house price growth—using theory, insights from past analyses, and new statistical techniques applied to 32 advanced and emerging market economies and major cities. The chapter finds that lower house price momentum, overvaluation, excessive credit growth, and tighter financial conditions predict heightened downside risks to house prices up to three years ahead. The measure of house prices at risk helps forecast downside risks to GDP growth and adds to early-warning models for financial crises. Policymakers can use estimates of house prices at risk to complement other surveillance indicators of housing market vulnerabilities and guide macroprudential policy actions aimed at building buffers and reducing vulnerabilities. Downside risks to house prices could also be relevant for monetary policymakers when forming their views on the downside risks to the economic and inflation outlook. Authorities considering measures to manage capital flows might also find such information useful when a surge in capital inflows increases downside risks to house prices and when other policy options are limited.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The April 2018 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) finds that short-term risks to financial stability have increased somewhat since the previous GFSR. Medium-term risks are still elevated as financial vulnerabilities, which have built up during the years of accommodative policies, could mean a bumpy road ahead and put growth at risk. This GFSR also examines the short- and medium-term implications for downside risks to growth and financial stability of the riskiness of corporate credit allocation. It documents the cyclical nature of the riskiness of corporate credit allocation at the global and country levels and its sensitivity to financial conditions, lending standards, and policy and institutional settings. Another chapter analyzes whether and how house prices move in tandem across countries and major cities around the world—that is, global house price synchronicity.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Financial Systems Dept.

Abstract

The October 2017 Global Financial Stability Report finds that the global financial system continues to strengthen in response to extraordinary policy support, regulatory enhancements, and the cyclical upturn in growth. It also includes a chapter that examines the short- and medium-term implications for economic growth and financial stability of the past decades’ rise in household debt. It documents large differences in household debt-to-GDP ratios across countries but a common increasing trajectory that was moderated but not reversed by the global financial crisis. Another chapter develops a new macroeconomic measure of financial stability by linking financial conditions to the probability distribution of future GDP growth and applies it to a set of 20 major advanced and emerging market economies. The chapter shows that changes in financial conditions shift the whole distribution of future GDP growth.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

Financial stability has continued to improve since the October 2016 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR). Economic activity has gained momentum, as outlined in the April 2017 World Economic Outlook (WEO), amid broadly accommodative monetary and financial conditions, spurring hopes for reflation. Chapter 2 analyzes the potential long-term impact of a scenario of sustained low growth and low real and nominal rates for the business models of financial institutions and the products offered by the financial sector. Chapter 3 examines whether countries still retain influence over their domestic financial conditions in a globally integrated financial system. The chapter develops financial conditions indices that make it possible to compare a large set of advanced and emerging market economies.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The current report finds that short-term risks to global financial stability have abated since April 2016, but that medium-term risks continue to build. Financial institutions in advanced economies face a number of cyclical and structural challenges and need to adapt to low growth and low interest rates, as well as to an evolving market and regulatory environment. Weak profitability could erode banks’ buffers over time and undermine their ability to support growth. A cyclical recovery will not resolve the problem of low profitability. More deep-rooted reforms and systemic management are needed, especially for European banks. The solvency of many life insurance companies and pension funds is threatened by a prolonged period of low interest rates. Corporate leverage in emerging market economies remains elevated in some countries, but the current favorable external environment presents an opportunity for overly indebted firms to restructure their balance sheets. The political climate is unsettled in many countries. A lack of income growth and a rise in inequality have opened the door for populist, inward-looking policies. These factors make it even harder to tackle legacy problems and further expose economies and markets to shocks. A potent and more balanced policy mix is needed to deliver a stronger path for growth and financial stability, and avoid slipping into a state of financial and economic stagnation. The report also examines how the rise of nonbank financing has altered the impact of monetary policy and finds that fears of a decline in the effectiveness of monetary policy are unfounded. It appears that the transmission of monetary policy is, if anything, stronger in economies with larger nonbank financial sectors. Finally, the report examines the link between corporate governance, investor protection, and financial stability in emerging market economies. It finds that the improvements over the past two decades have helped bolster the resilience of their financial systems. These benefits strengthen the case for further reform.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The current Global Financial Stability Report (April 2016) finds that global financial stability risks have risen since the last report in October 2015. The new report finds that the outlook has deteriorated in advanced economies because of heightened uncertainty and setbacks to growth and confidence, while declines in oil and commodity prices and slower growth have kept risks elevated in emerging markets. These developments have tightened financial conditions, reduced risk appetite, raised credit risks, and stymied balance sheet repair. A broad-based policy response is needed to secure financial stability. Advanced economies must deal with crisis legacy issues, emerging markets need to bolster their resilience to global headwinds, and the resilience of market liquidity should be enhanced. The report also examines financial spillovers from emerging market economies and finds that they have risen substantially. This implies that when assessing macro-financial conditions, policymakers may need to increasingly take into account economic developments in emerging market economies. Finally, the report assesses changes in the systemic importance of insurers, finding that across advanced economies the contribution of life insurers to systemic risk has increased in recent years. The results suggest that supervisors and regulators should take a more macroprudential approach to the sector.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Abstract

The October 2015 Global Financial Stability Report finds that, despite an improvement in financial stability in advanced economies, risks continue to rotate toward emerging markets. The global financial outlook is clouded by a triad of policy challenges: emerging market vulnerabilities, legacy issues from the crisis in advanced economies, and weak systemic market liquidity. With more vulnerable balance sheets in emerging market companies and banks, firms in these countries are more susceptible to financial stress, economic downturn, and capital outflows. Recent market developments such as slumping commodity prices, China’s bursting equity bubble, and pressure on exchange rates underscore these challenges. The prospect of the U.S. Federal Reserve gradually raising interest rates points to an unprecedented adjustment in the global financial system as financial conditions and risk premiums “normalize” from historically low levels alongside rising policy rates and a modest cyclical recovery. The report also examines the factors that influence levels of liquidity in securities markets, as well as the implications of low liquidity. Currently, market liquidity is being supported by benign cyclical conditions. Although it is too early to assess the impact of recent regulatory changes on market liquidity, changes in market structure, such as larger holdings of corporate bonds by mutual funds, appear to have increased the fragility of liquidity. Finally, the report studies the growing level of corporate debt in emerging markets, which quadrupled between 2004 and 2014. The report finds that global drivers have played an increasing role in leverage growth, issuance, and spreads. Moreover, higher leverage has been associated with, on average, rising foreign currency exposures. It also finds that despite weaker balance sheets, firms have managed to issue bonds at better terms as a result of favorable financial conditions.