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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Regional growth weakened in 2013 due to a fall in oil production in most countries. GDP growth is expected to pick-up in 2014 due to the recovery of oil production and the continuation of the implementation of public investment plans in most of CEMAC countries. Despite large spending of oil wealth during the last years, poverty, income inequality and unemployment remain high. The business climate is one of the most challenging in Africa. The region’s most pressing challenge is to implement structural reforms to promote sustainable and inclusive growth while adopting macro policies to preserve financial stability, ensure an efficient use of oil revenues and increase resilience to shocks.

International Monetary Fund

This paper assesses the evolution of Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) real exchange rates over time, and examines whether the region has lost competitiveness. The main finding is that there is little evidence of overvaluation of the Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollar. The relationship summarized above permits the calculation of equilibrium current account balances or norms. The financing of ECCU current account imbalances appears stable. This paper also provides evidence on the distinctive impact that tourism plays in the determination of the real exchange rate in tourism-driven economies.

International Monetary Fund

This paper reviews the IMF’s discussions with Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU) regional institutions. Discussions focused on the outlook for 2003 and the policy responses needed to arrest the fiscal deterioration and to achieve consolidation over the medium term. Although the short-term outlook for growth appears weak given the external climate, the region can look toward benefits from deeper regional and global integration over the medium term. The IMF staff has also emphasized that structural reforms are needed to improve efficiency, in advance of new trade arrangements.

International Monetary Fund

The staff report for the 2004 Regional Surveillance on the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) focuses on the economic developments and near-term prospects. The fiscal position of the governments in the region has deteriorated sharply in recent years and resulted in a marked increase in public sector debt. Efforts in the region have focused on strengthening the supervisory and regulatory regimes in both the domestic banking sector and the offshore financial sector. Enhanced regional cooperation could also help broaden markets and provide opportunities to achieve economies of scale.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
Deniz Anginer, Mr. Eugenio M Cerutti, and Mr. Maria Soledad Martinez Peria
This paper examines the association between the default risk of foreign bank subsidiaries in developing countries and their parents during the global financial crisis, with the purpose of determining the size and sign of this correlation and, more importantly, understanding what factors can help insulate affiliates from their parents. We find evidence of a significant and robust positive correlation between parent banks’ and foreign subsidiaries’ default risk. This correlation is lower for subsidiaries that have a higher share of retail deposit funding and that are more independently managed from their parents. Host country bank regulations also influence the extent to which shocks to the parents affect the subsidiaries’ default risk. In particular, the correlation between the default risk of subsidiaries and their parents is lower for subsidiaries operating in countries that impose higher capital, reserve, provisioning, and disclosure requirements, and tougher restrictions on bank activities.
Mr. Eugenio M Cerutti and Mr. Christian Schmieder
The recent crisis has spurred the use of stress tests as a (crisis) management and early warning tool. However, a weakness is that they omit potential risks embedded in the banking groups’ geographical structures by assuming that capital and liquidity are available wherever they are needed within the group. This assumption neglects the fact that regulations differ across countries (e.g., minimum capital requirements), and, more importantly, that home/host regulators might limit flows of capital or liquidity within a group during periods of stress. This study presents a framework on how to integrate this risk element into stress tests, and provides illustrative calculations on the size of the potential adjustments needed in the presence of some limits on intragroup flows for banks included in the June 2011 EBA stress tests.
Coenraad Vrolijk
This paper examines changes in the monetary policy transmission mechanism in the presence of derivatives markets. The effect of adding derivatives markets is analyzed independently for each of the main channels of monetary policy transmission: interest rates, credit, and exchange rates. Theoretically, derivatives trading speeds up transmission to financial asset prices, but changes in the transmission to the real economy are ambiguous. Using the structural vector autoregression methodology, an empirical study of the United Kingdom is used to assess the impulse responses of output and inflation, controlling for the size of the U.K. derivative markets. No definitive empirical support for a change in the transmission process is found.
Ms. Emilia M Jurzyk and Olena Havrylchyk
Using a combination of propensity score matching and difference-in-difference techniques we investigate the impact of foreign bank ownership on the performance and market power of acquired banks operating in Central and Eastern Europe. This approach allows us to control for selection bias as larger but less profitable banks were more likely to be acquired by foreign investors. We show that during three years after the takeover, banks have become more profitable due to cost minimization and better risk management. They have additionally gained market share, because they passed their lower cost of funds to borrowers in terms of lower lending rates. Previous studies failed to pick up the improvements in performance of takeover banks, because they did not account for the performance of financial institutions before acquisitions.
Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Mr. Joonkyu Park, Ms. Diva Singh, and Ms. Nita Thacker
Financial sector linkages have increased continuously in the Caribbean with cross border capital flows and financial conglomerates dominating the financial system. While the greater interconnectedness can heighten systemic risks and likelihood of contagion, it can have positive impacts provided the regional authorities take steps to prevent the systemic risk. In this context, financial sector reform measures aimed at bolstering and harmonizing prudential regulations in line with international best practices, the strengthening and enhancement of financial sector supervision to include cross border linkages through consolidated supervision, increased cooperation across supervisors in the region, and the establishment of deposit insurance and crisis resolution frameworks will be critical to maintain financial sector stability and minimize the repercussions of any negative shocks.