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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper presents highlights of the 1964 annual meetings of the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The paper underscores that the charters of these organizations provide that they shall hold annual meetings of their Governors, who constitute the highest authority of each body. Although there are two principal institutions involved, and the special business of each is transacted separately, their annual meetings have always been held at the same time, and these joint meetings are in many respects a single and unified event.

Filippo Balestrieri and Mr. Suman S Basu
We analyze a union of financially-integrated yet politically-sovereign countries, where households in the Northern core of the union lend to those in the Southern periphery in a unified debt market subject to a borrowing constraint. This constraint generates sudden stops throughout the South, depresses the intra-union interest rate, and reduces Northern welfare below its unconstrained level, while having ambiguous effects on Southern welfare. During sudden stops, Pareto improvements can be achieved using North-to-South governmental loans if Southern governments have the capacity to commit to repay, or using a combination of Southern debt relief and budget-neutral taxes and subsidies if they do not. From the pre-crisis perspective, it is Pareto-improving to allow loans and debt relief to be negotiated in later sudden-stop periods as long as the regions in the union are sufficiently heterogeneous to begin with. We show that our results are robust to production and to limited financial openness of the union.
Miss Catriona Purfield and Mr. Christoph B. Rosenberg
The paper traces the Baltics’ adjustment strategy during the 2008-09 global financial crisis. The abrupt end to the externally-financed domestic demand boom triggered a severe output collapse, bringing per capita income levels back to 2005/06 levels. In response to this shock, the Baltics undertook an internal devaluation that relied on unprecedented fiscal and nominal wage adjustment, steps to preserve financial sector stability as well as complementary efforts to facilitate voluntary private debt restructuring. One-and-half years on, the strategy is making good progress but not yet complete. Confidence in the exchange rate was maintained, the banking system was supported by its parent banks, external imbalances and inflation have largely disappeared, competitiveness is improving, and fiscal deficits are gradually being brought back towards pre-crisis levels. However, amid record levels of unemployment, further reforms are needed to foster a return to more balanced growth, fiscal sustainability, and a healthier banking system.
International Monetary Fund
An unexpected shortage of banknotes emerged during 1992 in the former Soviet Union. The cash shortage is explained by the asymmetry in the monetary union that prevailed, under which one member (the Russian Federation) controlled banknote production while every member could create deposit money. Interest rate rigidity forestalled an equilibrating adjustment in demand for banknotes. The possible efficiency costs of the cash shortage are explored.
Mr. Helge Berger and Volker Nitsch
When does trade become a one-way relationship? We study bilateral trade balances for a sample of 18 European countries over the period from 1948 through 2008. We find that, with the introduction of the euro, trade imbalances among euro area members widened considerably, even after allowing for permanent asymmetries in trade competitiveness within pairs of countries or in the overall trade competitiveness of individual countries. This is consistent with indications that pair-wise trade tends to be more balanced when nominal exchange rates are flexible. Intra-euro area imbalances also seem to have become more persistent with the introduction of the euro, some of which is linked to labor market inflexibility. Reviewing the direction of imbalances, we find that bilateral trade surpluses are decreasing in the real exchange rate, decreasing in growth differentials, and increasing in the relative volatility of national business cycles. Finally, countries with relatively higher fiscal deficits and less flexible labor and product markets exhibit systematically lower trade surpluses than others.
Mr. Rupert D Worrell
The experiences of Caribbean Economic Community countries show that exchange rate depreciation in these countries is inflationary, and that, while changes in the relative prices of tradables may affect exports, tourism, and imports, nominal exchange rate changes have no predictable effect on those relative prices. Under these circumstances, economic literature indicates that a fixed exchange rate regime is optimal, and Caribbean countries with (quasi-) currency boards have been successful in maintaining durable exchange rate pegs. Commitment to a currency board is a potentially vital step in achieving a currency union for the Caribbean.
Mr. Serhan Cevik
This paper investigates the empirical characteristics of business cycles and the extent of cyclical comovement in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, using various measures of synchronization for non-hydrocarbon GDP and constituents of aggregate demand during the period 1990-2010. By applying the Christiano-Fitzgerald asymmetric band-pass filter and a mean corrected concordance index, the paper identifies the degree of non-hydrocarbon business cycle synchronization?one of the main prerequisites for countries considering to establish a monetary union. The empirical results show low and heterogeneous synchronization in non-hydrocarbon business cycles across the GCC economies, and a decline in the degree of synchronicity in the 2000s, if Kuwait is excluded from the sample, partly because of divergent fiscal policies.
Mr. Seung M Choi, Ms. Laura E. Kodres, and Jing Lu
This paper examines whether the coordinated use of macroprudential policies can help lessen the incidence of banking crises. It is well-known that rapid domestic credit growth and house price growth positively influence the chances of a banking crisis. As well, a crisis in other countries with high trade and financial linkages raises the crisis probability. However, whether such “contagion effects” can operate to reduce crisis probabilities when highly linked countries execute macroprudential policies together has not been fully explored. A dataset documenting countries’ use of macroprudential tools suggests that a “coordinated” implementation of macroprudential policies across highly-linked countries can help to stem the risks of widespread banking crises, although this positive effect may take some time to materialize.
Eric Monnet and Mr. Damien Puy
This paper assesses the strength of business cycle synchronization between 1950 and 2014 in a sample of 21 countries using a new quarterly dataset based on IMF archival data. Contrary to the common wisdom, we find that the globalization period is not associated with more output synchronization at the global level. The world business cycle was as strong during Bretton Woods (1950-1971) than during the Globalization period (1984-2006). Although globalization did not affect the average level of co-movement, trade and financial integration strongly affect the way countries co-move with the rest of the world. We find that financial integration de-synchronizes national outputs from the world cycle, although the magnitude of this effect depends crucially on the type of shocks hitting the world economy. This de-synchronizing effect has offset the synchronizing impact of other forces, such as increased trade integration.