Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mrs. Imen Benmohamed, Aidyn Bibolov, Giovanni Ugazio, and Ms. Tian Zhang
The Gulf Cooperation Council region faced a significant economic toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks in 2020. Policymakers responded to the pandemic with decisive and broad measures to support households and businesses and mitigate the long-term impact on the economy. Financial vulnerabilities have been generally contained, reflecting ongoing policy support and the rebound in economic activity and oil prices, as well as banks entering the COVID-19 crisis with strong capital, liquidity, and profitability. The banking systems remained well-capitalized, but profitability and asset quality were adversely affected. Ongoing COVID-19 policy support could also obscure deterioration in asset quality. Policymakers need to continue to strike a balance between supporting recovery and mitigating risks to financial stability, including ensuring that banks’ buffers are adequate to withstand prolonged pandemic and withdrawal of COVID-related policy support measures. Addressing data gaps would help policymakers to further assess vulnerabilities and mitigate sectoral risks.
Unlike most nonfinancial corporations, in a market-based economy, banks are subject to a special regime of licensing, regulation, and supervision (hereinafter also “prudential regulation”). In a market-based economy, the function of banks differs from that of other enterprises, calling for special treatment of banks by the state.
Banks require a strong legal framework providing certainty concerning their rights and obligations under the law and permitting them to enforce their financial claims expeditiously and effectively against counterparties in default. Conversely, weaknesses in the legal system that create uncertainties concerning the existence and enforceability of property rights increase the risk that, as debtors hiding behind such weaknesses default on their obligations, banks will not be able to collect on their claims. Inefficiencies in the judicial processing of financial claims by banks may inhibit the marketing of financial assets and reduce their value; this often results in unhealthy accumulations of nonperforming assets on banks’ balance sheets, weakening the banking system as a whole. Meanwhile, banks will cover these risks and market inefficiencies in the form of higher charges, creating upward pressure on transaction costs throughout the economy.
Regulatory intervention includes all action taken by the bank regulator with respect to a bank in response to continuing violations of prudential law (banking law, implementing regulations, etc.) on the part of that bank. Thereby, the bank regulator intervenes directly or indirectly in the bank’s management and operations.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights the macroeconomic conditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have remained stable. BiH has made progress in reducing internal and external imbalances in recent years, thanks to a prudent fiscal position, and a strong monetary anchor provided by the currency board. However, job creation has been limited, unemployment has remained high, particularly among the youth, and the income convergence with the European Union has stalled. Fiscal stability has been maintained, mainly through continued restraint on current government spending. Progress in improving budget composition has been limited and reforms of state enterprises have not progressed as envisaged.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
The staff paper for the Third Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement on Paraguay focuses on the macroeconomic framework and medium-term scenario, risks, and capacity to repay the IMF. There have been delays in implementing some structural measures, especially related to the approval of banking legislation, owing to a shift in the political environment and congressional delays. Macroeconomic performance has been better than envisaged under the program. The authorities have adopted a new strategy involving a two-stage approach that they believe is politically feasible to achieve but will require more time to implement.
Paraguay’s Fifth Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement and Request for Waiver of Performance Criteria are discussed. The overall fiscal position remains in surplus, the exchange rate weakened slightly with respect to the U.S. dollar, but considerably with respect to the Brazilian real, and international reserves continue to rise. There have been delays in implementing the structural reform agenda. The authorities need to maintain momentum and deepen the structural agenda to reduce vulnerabilities, strengthen institutions, and lay the basis for growth.
This paper discusses Bosnia and Herzegovina’s request for an Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility. Growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina was 3.2 percent in 2015, despite fiscal consolidation as a result of financing constraints, and is expected to be about the same in 2016. The authorities adopted a comprehensive reform agenda in early 2015 that aims to address tepid growth and high unemployment in a sustainable manner. Given the commitment by the authorities at all levels to steadfastly implement their program and to adjust policies as circumstances change, the IMF staff expects the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to progress in dealing with its present challenges. The IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for an extended arrangement.
This paper evaluates observance of the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision in the Russian Federation. The legal framework currently in place provides the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) with necessary powers and responsibilities. The CBR may authorize banks, conduct ongoing supervision, oversee compliance with laws, and undertake corrective action to address safety and soundness. Major new reforms increase many aspects of the CBR’s duties and powers, although implementation has not yet been tested in all cases. The Russian licensing regime for banks appears exhaustive. However, the legal regime for major acquisitions was found to be weak.