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Ms. May Y Khamis, Mr. Abdelhak S Senhadji, Mr. Gabriel Sensenbrenner, Mr. Francis Y Kumah, Maher Hasan, and Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad
This paper focuses on impact of the global financial crisis on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries and challenges ahead. The oil price boom led to large fiscal and external balance surpluses in the GCC countries. However, it also generated domestic imbalances that began to unravel with the onset of the global credit squeeze. As the global deleveraging process took hold, and oil prices and production fell, the GCC’s external and fiscal surpluses declined markedly, stock and real estate markets plunged, credit default swap spreads on sovereign debt widened, and external funding for the financial and corporate sectors tightened. In order to offset the shocks brought on by the crisis, governments—buttressed by strong international reserve positions—maintained high levels of spending and introduced exceptional financial measures, including capital and liquidity injections. The immediate priority is to complete the clean-up of bank balance sheets and the restructuring of the nonbanking sector in some countries. Clear communication by the authorities would help implementation, ease investor uncertainty, and reduce speculation and market volatility.
International Monetary Fund
This Financial System Stability Assessment on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) examines macroeconomic and financial sector developments. The banking sector as a whole shows comfortable levels of capitalization and profits, having benefited from the rapid expansion of the economy and a steady decline in the ratio of nonperforming loans (NPLs) to total loans. Although mortgages still account for a relatively small part of bank loan portfolios, the indirect exposure could be significant. Some financial institutions’ lending standards also may be weakening as they compete for new business in mortgage lending.
Ms. Inutu Lukonga
Consumer protection and financial literacy are essential pillars of a well functioning and stable financial system. As the global financial crisis demonstrated, inadequate attention to consumer protection and financial literacy can lead to financial instability. Though Shari’ah principles provide a strong foundation for consumer protection, the principles alone cannot provide adequate protection because not all providers are guided by ethical precepts and the practices have deviated from the principles. To safeguard the stability of the Islamic finance industry, consumer protection frameworks that cater to the specifics of Islamic financial products should be an integral part of regulatory frameworks.
Mr. Sami Ben Naceur, Mr. Adolfo Barajas, and Mr. Alexander Massara
The paper analyses existing country-level information on the relationship between the development of Islamic banking and financial inclusion. In Muslim countries—members of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC)—various indicators of financial inclusion tend to be lower, and the share of excluded individuals citing religious reasons for not using bank accounts is noticeably greater than in other countries; Islamic banking would therefore seem to be an effective avenue for financial inclusion. We found, however, that although physical access to financial services has grown more rapidly in the OIC countries, the use of these services has not increased as quickly. Moreover, regression analyis shows evidence of a positive link to credit to households and to firms for financing investment, but this empirical link remains tentative and relatively weak. The paper explores reasons that this might be the case and suggests several recommendations to enhance the ability of Islamic banking to promote financial inclusion.
Aledjandro Lopez Mejia, Suliman Aljabrin, Rachid Awad, Mr. Mohamed Norat, and Mr. In W Song
This paper aims at developing a better understanding of Islamic banking (IB) and providing policy recommendations to enhance the supervision of Islamic banks (IBs). It points out and discusses similarities and differences of IBs with conventional banks (CBs) and reviews whether the IBs are more stable than CBs. Given the risks faced by IBs, the paper concludes that they need a legal, corporate and regulatory framework as much as CB does. The paper also argues that it is important to ensure operational independence of the supervisory agency, which has to be supported by adequate resources, a sound legal framework, a well designed governance structure, and robust accountability practices.
Mr. Heiko Hesse and Mr. Tigran Poghosyan
This paper analyzes the relationship between oil price shocks and bank profitability. Using data on 145 banks in 11 oil-exporting MENA countries for 1994-2008, we test hypotheses of direct and indirect effects of oil price shocks on bank profitability. Our results indicate that oil price shocks have indirect effect on bank profitability, channeled through country-specific macroeconomic and institutional variables, while the direct effect is insignificant. Investment banks appear to be the most affected ones compared to Islamic and commercial banks. Our findings highlight systemic implications of oil price shocks on bank performance and underscore their importance for macroprudential regulation purposes in MENA countries.
Mr. Vlad Manole and Mr. David A. Grigorian
Bahrain's financial sector development strategy succeeded in building a leading regional banking center, which has become one of the main engines of growth and sources of employment. Although the simulations conducted in the paper suggest that the banking sector in Bahrain continues to occupy a front-runner position among those in a sample of member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, they also reveal that: (i) as expected, banks in Bahrain still lag behind their Singaporean counterparts, and (ii) there is strong competition from other countries in the region. The paper also finds that in terms of scale efficiency, the banks in Bahrain operate at the same level as banks in Singapore and their closest competitors in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The results appear to be robust with respect to changes in the sample size and model specifications.
Mr. Mumtaz Hussain, Asghar Shahmoradi, and Rima Turk
Islamic finance has started to grow in international finance across the globe, with some concentration in few countries. Nearly 20 percent annual growth of Islamic finance in recent years seems to point to its resilience and broad appeal, partly owing to principles that govern Islamic financial activities, including equity, participation, and ownership. In theory, Islamic finance is resilient to shocks because of its emphasis on risk sharing, limits on excessive risk taking, and strong link to real activities. Empirical evidence on the stability of Islamic banks, however, is so far mixed. While these banks face similar risks as conventional banks do, they are also exposed to idiosyncratic risks, necessitating a tailoring of current risk management practices. The macroeconomic policy implications of the rapid expansion of Islamic finance are far reaching and need careful considerations.
Ms. Ritu Basu, Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad, and Mr. Sergio L. Rodriguez
The assessment provides evidence of market segmentation across Islamic and conventional banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), leading to excess liquidity, and an uneven playing field for Islamic banks that might affect their growth. Liquidiy management has been a long-standing concern in the global Islamic finance industry as there is a general lack of Shari’ah compliant instruments than can serve as high-quality short-term liquid assets. The degree of segmentation and bank behavior varies across countries depending on Shari’ah permissibility and the availability of Shari’ah-compliant instruments. A partial response would be to support efforts to build Islamic liquid interbank and money markets, which are crucial for monetary policy transmission through the Islamic financial system.This can be achieved, to a large extent, by deepening Islamic government securities and developing Shari’ah-compliant money market instruments.
Mariam El Hamiani Khatat
This paper discusses key issues related to the conduct of monetary policy in countries that have Islamic banks. It describes the macrofinancial background and monetary policy frameworks where Islamic banks typically operate, and discusses the monetary transmission mechanism in economies where Islamic and conventional banking coexist. Most economies with Islamic banks also have conventional banks and this calls for a comprehensive approach to monetary policy. At the same time, a dual approach to monetary policy should be considered whenever the Islamic segment of the financial system is not as developed as the conventional one. The paper tries to shed light on potential spillovers between conventional and Islamic financial systems, and proposes specific recommendations on the design of Islamic monetary policy operations and for facilitating monetary transmission through the Islamic financial system.