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International Monetary Fund

The European Union’s (EU) financial stability framework is being markedly strengthened. This is taking place on the heels of a severe financial crisis owing to weaknesses in the banking system interrelated with sovereign difficulties in the euro area periphery. Important progress has been made in designing an institutional framework to secure microeconomic and macroprudential supervision at the EU level, but this new set-up faces a number of challenges. Developments regarding the financial stability may assist in the continuing evolution of the European financial stability architecture.

EPHRAIM W. CHIRWA and MLACHILA MONTFORT

This first issue of Volume 51 for 2004 includes a new paper by Peter B. Clark and Jacques J. Polak, along with a tribute from the Editor to Mr. Polak in honor of his 90th birthday. This issue also launches a new featured section, "Data Issues," which will be devoted in future issues to on-going discussions of the latest in econometric and statistical tools for economists, data puzzles, and other related topics of interest to researchers.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues and Analytical Note on Finland discusses the potential spillovers to Finland from various shocks associated with cross-country interlinkages. The note provides an overview of the trade and financial linkages, assesses the impact of global fiscal consolidation on Finland via trade links, quantifies dynamic contributions from external sources to growth, and uses these contributions to forecast the potential loss to Finnish GDP from a growth slowdown in other European countries; and analyzes the potential impact from the banking sector or sovereign stress.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix examines inflation and wage dynamics in Finland. The paper discusses the data set used (quarterly data covering from 1975 to 1995) and the statistical properties of the relevant time series. It presents the model and the empirical estimates, and provides an outlook for consumer price index and nominal wage inflation for 1996:Q1–2001:Q4. The paper examines the determinants of the equilibrium real exchange rate, and also analyzes the Finnish banking system and the credit crunch hypothesis.

Mr. Paul Louis Ceriel Hilbers, Mr. Alfredo Mario Leone, Mr. Mahinder Singh Gill, and Mr. Owen Evens

Abstract

Substantial progress has been made during recent years in forging a consensus on the importance of strengthening the architecture of the international financial system. The international community, acting through various forums, has identified a number of priorities in this work, including the need to enhance its own—and the markets’—ability to assess the strengths and vulnerabilities of financial systems, and to develop the analytical and procedural tools needed to perform this task. In particular, the importance of assessing the soundness of financial systems as part of the IMF’s surveillance work was given prominence by the Group of Twenty-Two finance ministers and central bank governors in the Report of the Working Group on Strengthening Financial Systems in October 1998. The working group recommended that financial sector surveillance be anchored to the IMF surveillance process, with expert support from the World Bank and elsewhere. This process is now well under way as part of the joint World Bank-IMF Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), and the related Financial System Stability Assessments (FSSAs).1 The development and possible dissemination of so-called macroprudential indicators (MPIs)—defined broadly as indicators of the health and stability of financial systems—have been encouraged recently by both the Group of Seven (G–7) and the IMF Interim Committee.2 Such indicators will be critical in producing reliable assessments of the strengths and vulnerabilities of financial systems as part of IMF surveillance, and to enhancing disclosure of key financial information to markets.

Mr. Paul Louis Ceriel Hilbers, Mr. Alfredo Mario Leone, Mr. Mahinder Singh Gill, and Mr. Owen Evens

Abstract

The ability to monitor financial soundness presupposes the existence of indicators that can be used as a basis for analyzing the current health and stability of the financial system. These macroprudential indicators comprise both aggregated microprudential indicators of the health of individual financial institutions, and macroeconomic variables associated with financial system soundness. Aggregated microprudential indicators are primarily contemporaneous or lagging indicators of soundness;4 macroeconomic variables can signal imbalances that affect financial systems and arc, therefore, leading indicators. Financial crises usually occur when both types of indicators point to vulnerabilities, that is, when financial institutions are weak and face macroeconomic shocks.

Mr. Paul Louis Ceriel Hilbers, Mr. Alfredo Mario Leone, Mr. Mahinder Singh Gill, and Mr. Owen Evens

Abstract

This chapter reviews the theoretical and empirical literature, other than work done by the IMF,39 which would support the selection of a core set of MPIs. In general, these studies look at the features of crisis-prone systems, with a view to anticipating future crisis events. By attempting to identify leading indicators of crises, rather than contemporaneous indicators of financial soundness, much of the earlier literature did not specifically review the full range of potential MPIs. More recently, the focus of many studies has shifted toward contemporaneous indicators of financial health. No consensus has yet emerged, however, from this body of work on a set of indicators that is most relevant to assessing financial soundness, or to building effective early warning systems. The statistical significance of individual indicators is often found not to be strong, and some of the studies have produced conflicting results. This may be due to differences among crises, so that specific indicators may be more or less relevant to each case.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses findings of interconnectedness and spillover analysis on Italy. The market-based measures of tail risks and interconnectedness among key banks and insurance companies in Italy have declined from their peak but remain at elevated levels. Although the stress on Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena has been manifesting on its own, the market perception about the condition of the banks appears to be increasingly contaminating the market views on other Italian financial institutions. It is also observed that exogenous factors, such as the Italian sovereign, are the key source of systemic risk for the market pricing of Italian financial institutions.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses the results of stress testing of Finland’s banking system. Despite high capitalization levels, there are important vulnerabilities in the Finnish banking system. Near-term risks are largely tilted to the downside, stemming from both external and domestic sources. A sharper-than-expected global growth slowdown would be a drag on Finland’s export and GDP growth. Although so far high compared with the rest of the euro area banks, Finnish banks’ profitability is facing challenges from the low interest rate environment and the low economic growth. Vulnerabilities include funding risks, contagion risks, and challenges related to long-term profitability.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses the findings and recommendations made in the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) for Finland in the area of banking supervision. The regulatory and supervisory framework for liquidity and funding risk has improved since the last FSAP, but certain vulnerabilities persist and require greater attention. Finnish banks continue to rely extensively on wholesale funding, as noted in the 2010 FSAP. Although supervisory action has managed to mitigate the problem, many banks remain heavily exposed to the risk of a dry-up of unsecured wholesale funding. Also, banks hold covered bonds issued by other banks as part of their liquidity buffer.