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Mr. Luis Catão, Valeriya Dinger, and Daniel Marcel te Kaat
Using a sample of over 700 banks in Latin America, we show that international financial liberalization lowers bank capital ratios and increases the shares of short-term funding. Following liberalization, large banks substitute interbank borrowing for equity and long-term funding, whereas small banks increase the proportions of retail funding in their liabilities, which have been particularly vulnerable to flight-to-quality during periods of financial distress in much of Latin America. We also find evidence that riskier bank funding in the aftermath of financial liberalizations is exacerbated by asymmetric information, which rises on geographical distance and the opacity of balance sheets.
Stephanie Medina Cas, Mr. Andrew J Swiston, and Mr. Luis D Barrot
This paper studies the potential for the export sector to play a more important role in promoting growth in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (CAPDR) through deeper intra-regional and global trade integration. CAPDR countries have enacted many free trade agreements and other regional integration initiatives in recent years, but this paper finds that their exports remain below the norm for countries of their size. Several indexes of outward orientation are constructed and suggest that the breadth of geographic trading relationships, depth of integration into global production chains, and degree of technological sophistication of exports in CAPDR are less conducive to higher exports and growth than in fast-growing, export-oriented economies. To boost exports and growth, CAPDR should implement policies to facilitate economic integration, particularly building a customs union, harmonizing trade rules, improving logistics and infrastructure, and enhancing regional cordination.
International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes macroeconomic fluctuations in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The paper describes data, along with the estimation technique used to ensure stationarity of the data. The empirical regularities of macroeconomic fluctuations in the ECCU are described, examining the relationship between a set of macroeconomic time series and domestic output, for each of the six IMF members of the ECCU. The paper also explores the determinants of macroeconomic volatility in the ECCU.

Kathleen White

Domestic support is essential to the successful implementation and maintenance of sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms. But how do governments convince citizens of longer-term benefits when short-term sacrifices are involved? Legislators and journalists from six Central American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, plus the Dominican Republic—joined IMF officials on May 18-20 to discuss the region’s policy priorities and the role legislatures and the media play in shaping public debate and in building understanding of the trade-offs that policymakers confront. Also on the agenda was the importance of greater regional integration and cooperation to Central America’s ability to compete successfully in the global economy.

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. Paolo Mauro and Yishay Yafeh
This paper analyzes the Corporation of Foreign Bondholders (CFB), an association of British investors holding bonds issued by foreign governments. The CFB played a key role during the heyday of international bond finance, 1870-1913, and in the aftermath of the defaults of the 1930s. It fostered coordination among creditors, especially in cases of default, arranging successfully for many important debt restructurings, though failing persistently in a few cases. While a revamped creditor association might once again help facilitate creditor coordination, the relative appeal of defection over coordination is greater today than it was in the past. The CFB may have had an easier time than any comparable body would have today.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.