Valentina Flamini, Pierluigi Bologna, Fabio Di Vittorio, and Rasool Zandvakil
Credit is key to support healthy and sustainable economic growth but excess aggregate credit growth can signal the build-up of imbalances and lead to systemic financial crisis. Hence, monitoring the credit cycle is key to identifying vulnerabilities, particularly in emerging markets, which tend to be more exposed to sudden external shocks and reversal in capital flows. We estimate the credit cycle in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic and find that the creadit gap is a powerful predictor of systemic vulnerability in the region. We simulate the activation of the Basel III countercyclical capital buffers and discuss the macroprudential policy implications of the results, arguing that countercyclical macroprudential policies based on the credit gap could prove useful to enhance the resilience of the region’s financial sector but the activation of macroprudential instruments should also be informed by the development of other macrofinancial variables and by expert judgment.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights Nicaragua’s robust macroeconomic performance in 2016. Real GDP grew by 4.7 percent in 2016, supported by strong domestic demand, while inflation remained subdued at 3.1 percent as of the end of 2016, owing largely to the contribution of food prices. The current account deficit for 2016 is estimated to have narrowed to 8.6 percent of GDP, compared with 9 percent in 2015. This consolidation is largely explained by maquila exports, which have been better captured owing to improvements in statistical compilation. The current account deficit remained financed by foreign direct investment and other long-term inflows.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines opportunities and challenges for growth in Haiti. Achieving a sustained increase in living standards in Haiti will require deep-seated reforms across a range of areas. Diversifying the export base is needed to cushion the impact of severe shocks that have reduced per capita income and prevented a sustained increase in the capital stock. Integration into global-value chains would also allow Haiti to take advantage of its proximity to the U.S. market and favorable trade preferences to generate employment, spur the creation of human capital, and allow Haiti to begin climbing the value added chain.
Ms. Corinne C Delechat, Ms. Camila Henao Arbelaez, Ms. Priscilla S Muthoora, and Svetlana Vtyurina
Banks’ liquidity holdings are comfortably above legal or prudential requirements in most Central American countries. While good for financial stability, high systemic liquidity may nonetheless hinder monetary policy transmission and financial markets development. Using a panel of about 100 commercial banks from the region, we find that the demand for precautionary liquidity buffers is associated with measures of bank size, profitability, capitalization, and financial development. Deposit dollarization is also associated with higher liquidity, reinforcing the monetary policy and market development challenges in highly dollarized economies. Improvements in supervision and measures to promote dedollarization, including developing local currency capital markets, would help enhance financial systems’ efficiency and promote intermediation in the region.
Stephanie Medina Cas, Mr. Alejandro Carrion-Menendez, and Ms. Florencia Frantischek
Several Central American (CADR) countries with independent monetary policies are strengthening their monetary frameworks and some have implemented or are moving towards inflation targeting (IT) regimes. Strengthening the monetary policy frameworks of CADR is key to improving the effectiveness of monetary policy. The paper reviews the literature on the reforms needed for strengthening the monetary policy frameworks, and examines the experiences of IT countries, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay to help distill lessons for CADR. It also constructs an index to measure the relative strength of the monetary policy framework of CADR countries.
The paper focuses on the operational implications of high and volatile aid for the design of Fund-supported programs. It provides a conceptual framework that should guide country teams in giving advice to low-income countries on a case-by-case basis, without specific quantitative performance thresholds for the spending and absorption of additional aid. In doing so, it responds to some of the concerns raised by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) in its recent evaluation of the Fund and aid to sub-Saharan Africa
Family remittances are important for El Salvador's economy. This paper analyzes the impact of remittances on El Salvador's economy and the spillover effects on the other Central American countries. A vector autoregression (VAR) model is formulated, consisting of real and monetary variables. The results suggest that in, El Salvador, remittances lead to decreases in economic activity, international reserves, and money supply and increases in the interest rate, imports, and consumer prices. This underscores the need for reorienting economic policy in El Salvador to promote the use of remittances in capital formation activities to maximize the benefit of remittances.
Nicaragua’s report on the Observance of Standards and Codes examines Data Module, response by the authorities, and detailed assessments using the data quality assessment framework. The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit provides an institutional environment for compiling budgetary transactions data but not for compiling statistics for general government and/or nonfinancial public enterprises. The environment fosters good arrangements for data sharing among agencies involved in government finance statistics compilation and dissemination.