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International Monetary Fund

Belgium has effected a remarkable fiscal adjustment, best illustrated by the decline in its public debt. While benefiting from an appreciable decline in interest rates, most of the underlying consolidation reflected a considerable increase in the tax burden, one of the highest in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This paper analyzes the social transfer system in Belgium. Belgium has a very accessible and equitable health care system. The system is characterized by high input levels and service volumes.

International Monetary Fund

The paper discusses the purpose, properties, and theoretical foundations of various indicators of inflation and also describes the forecasting methodology and performance of these indicators. It reviews the successful European labor market reform experiences and analyzes regulatory and supervisory frameworks in the European Union (EU), and assessments carried out under the IMF-World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). It also investigates whether the cross-country correlation of bank business in Europe makes a good case for pan-European supervision.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This financial stability assessment provides an update on the significant regulatory and supervisory developments in the banking and insurance sectors of Belgium since 2006. The Belgian financial system is relatively large with solid capital buffers on aggregate, and the 2008 global financial crisis has had a major impact on the Belgian financial sector. The links between banks and the Belgian sovereign have intensified owing to the crisis, with total exposure of the banking sector to the federal government at 10 percent of banking sector assets in mid-2012.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents Luxembourg’s Financial System Stability Assessment, including Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes on Monetary and Financial Policy Transparency, Banking Supervision, Securities Regulation, Insurance Regulation, and Payment Systems. Luxembourg’s financial sector is robust, efficient, and well supervised. No major weaknesses that could cause systemic risks were identified by the mission. The strength and efficiency of the financial sector is fully supported by the strong conformance by Luxembourg with international supervisory and regulatory standards and by the stress tests prepared under extreme assumptions.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper on Israel focuses on the fiscal institutions and the political economy in Israel. The paper addresses two questions. First, is there evidence for political-economy distortions to Israel’s fiscal policy? Second, what institutional changes could help in limiting these distortions? The paper presents some data on Israel’s political system and an empirical analysis of the relation between fiscal policy and the political infrastructure. It also presents some options for reducing political economy distortions through reforms in the budget process and institutions.
International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses key findings of the Financial System Stability Assessment (FSSA) and Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) on Banking Supervision, Securities Regulation, Insurance Supervision and Regulation, and Securities Settlement Systems for Belgium. The assessment reveals that overall, the financial system is generally sound, resilient to potential adverse shocks, and well supervised. Risks both on the international level and domestically appear well within the banks’ capacity to manage them and are well understood by the supervisor and overseer of the system.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note analyzes the key aspects of the regulatory and supervisory regime of banks, insurance companies and financial conglomerates (FCs) in Belgium. The regulatory framework for Belgian financial institutions has been strengthened substantially since the 2013 Financial Sector Assessment Program. Notably, new national banking and insurance laws have been issued, the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive and amendments to Financial Conglomerate Directive have been transposed, Solvency II has been implemented, and the National Bank of Belgium has been designated as the macroprudential authority. This has improved significantly the regulatory framework and broadened its scope to better address the challenges posed by FCs. Financial sector supervision has also been upgraded markedly.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The Belgian insurance industry was adversely affected by the global financial crisis and continued to confront challenges related to legacy assets and economic uncertainties in Europe. The Belgian authorities have made significant progress in updating the insurance regulatory regime and supervisory practice. The updated regulatory framework has a high level of observance with the Insurance Core Principles (ICPs), supported by robust prudential supervision. The authorities are advised to review current conduct-of-business (CoB) regulation and supervision to strengthen the protection for policyholders.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Belgian financial conglomerates (FCs) remained important players in the Belgian financial sector, despite significant restructuring following the global financial crisis. FCs operated in multiple streams of the financial sector, especially in banking and insurance. Owing to their economic reach and use of regulated and unregulated entities across sectoral boundaries, FCs presented a challenge for sector-specific supervisory oversight. The Executive Board suggested a pragmatic supervisory approach, which needs to be streamlined and applied more uniformly to contain FC-specific risks.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note presents risk analysis of banking and insurance sector in France. The assessment is based on stress tests, which simulate the health of banks, insurers under severe yet plausible (counterfactual) adverse scenarios. The stress tests reveal that banks and insurers would be resilient against simulated shocks, although some challenges remain. French banks have improved their capitalization and asset quality; however, profitability remains challenged. The report also highlights that profitability is pressured on both the income and expense sides. Banks’ ability to generate higher interest income is constrained by persistently low interest rates, and market businesses including trading activities have contracted in recent years. Growth-at-risk (GaR) analysis shows that the biggest contributing factors to the risk of growth are cost of funding and stock market prices. Financial conditions continue to tighten gradually since mid-2017; though the overall conditions remain accommodative. Risks stemming from loans to households seem to be contained over the short- to medium-term horizon, given relatively strong households’ balance sheets, no evidence of significant misalignment in house prices, social safety nets, and fixed interest rates.