This Selected Issues paper on Bolivia reports that it has experienced major increases in its gas reserves, production, and exports. Not only have their levels increased significantly, but also there have been extensive regulatory changes, which range from the privatization of the mid-1990s to the increase in the government’s tax take from the hydrocarbons industry. The government has reached new agreements with foreign oil companies that will allow foreign companies to continue recovering part of their old investments.
Leon T. Kendall, Michael J. Fishman, Harold Hirschhofer, Mr. Richard Disney, Olivia S. Mitchell, Alex Counts, Helen Todd, Thomas Dichter, Lawrence E. Harrison, William Easterly, Zvi Bodie, John A. Turner, and Mr. Albert Jaeger
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
Niamh Sheridan, Mr. Alfred Schipke, Ms. Susan M George, and Mr. Christian H. Beddies
In just over a decade after independence, the three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, have transformed themselves into fully functioning, small open-market economies that will be joining the European Union. Capital Markets and Financial Intermediation in The Baltics analyzes the financial systems of the three countries and discusses some of their unique characteristics. The study also examines current distortions of the systems and discusses whether or not the Baltics should move from an almost exclusively bank-based system to one that relies more on capital markets. In the process, it addresses issues of corporate governance and regional integration.
The need to develop domestic securities markets has, following the recent international financial crises, increasingly attracted the attention of national and international policymakers.1 This has resulted in the issuance of a number of policy recommendations by various organizations, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) collaborative Initiative on Development of Domestic Bond Markets. The issue of government debt management is intrinsically linked to government securities market development. Work is currently under way on this issue at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, where guidelines have been developed to guide government actions as an issuer, thereby steering development of the government securities market.2 This handbook on government securities market development seeks to fill an existing gap between specific technical studies about securities market microstructure and publications that offer general policy recommendations about securities market development. The handbook integrates these two perspectives by outlining important issues confronting senior strategic policymakers or those implementing policies to support development of a government securities market.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
In late 2011, the euro area’s banking and government bond markets came under stresses that pushed financial stability risks to a new peak of intensity. Subsequent policy actions eased bank funding strains and helped stabilize sovereign markets, but the risks to global financial stability remain elevated (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). This report calls on policymakers to utilize recent stabilization gains to swiftly implement a comprehensive set of policies to achieve durable stability.
Tax policy has significant impact on financial decisions of investors and firms. Certain tax policies, such as transaction tax, can stifle the development of capital markets. New financial products, such as mutual funds and asset-backed securities, will have difficulty in competing against traditional substitutes without proper tax treatment. Thus, a well-developed financial system requires a well-designed tax policy.
Decentralization of some governmental functions is taking place in many developing and transition countries. Decentralized entities are becoming responsible for undertaking various infrastructure investments required to meet basic needs at the local level, including utilities, water and sanitation, transportation, health and education, and environmental protection. Owing to fiscal constraints at the center, decentralized entities can rely only partly on capital grants from the center to fund these investments. To meet their funding needs, decentralized entities, therefore, need to broaden their own resource base, access subnational bond markets, and increase the efficiency of resource use. In emerging-market countries, these funding needs must be weighed against the prospect that multiple issuers of securities with varying claims to sovereign creditworthiness will fragment a nascent market and thereby reduce its liquidity and efficiency. On the other hand, properly managed subnational bond market can complement the national bond market.
The issuance of debt securities by private sector entities has considerable public policy benefits. Such securities help the private sector contribute to economic development through more efficient reallocation of capital. In particular, they improve access to capital for housing and infrastructure at a time when privatization and deregulation in many developing countries are shifting the financing of these projects from public to private hands. Private sector securities also help diffuse stresses on the banking system by matching long-term investments with long-term capital. There is thus a strong public interest in a viable bond market for private sector issuers. Authorities can support private sector bond market development by maintaining a well-functioning market for government securities and by helping to establish disclosure procedures and a credit-rating system for private sector securities, bankruptcy laws, avoiding public sector crowding out, and limiting statutory restrictions on the issuance of private sector debt securities.
The money market is the cornerstone of a competitive and efficient system of market-based intermediation, and should normally be in good working order before a government bond market is developed. The money market stimulates an active secondary bond market by reducing the liquidity risk attached to bonds and other term financial instruments and assisting financial intermediaries in managing liquidity risk. The money market serves as the medium for government cash management and provides the first link in implementing monetary policy using indirect instruments.