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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.
Mohsin S. Khan and and Mr. Abbas Mirakhor

This paper examines the trade and pricing policies in world agriculture. In the United States, the government pays farmers not to grow cereals and in the European Community, farmers are paid to grow more. Many have raised nominal producer prices but followed macroeconomic and exchange rate policies that left real producer prices unchanged or lower than before. Many have set up complex systems of producer taxation, and then established equally complex and frequently ineffectual systems of subsidies for inputs to offset that taxation.

Ms. Laura Wallace

This paper reviews the resurgence of Latin America. The paper highlights that much of the region has witnessed a swift and robust recovery from the successive financial crises of 2001–02. Within two years, the region’s economic growth reached 5.6 percent in 2004, a 24-year high. Growth rates of about 4 percent in 2005 and 3¾ percent projected for 2006 are well above historical averages. Mexico and South American countries have gained, in particular, from the surge in fuel, food, and metals prices, and have generally been able to exploit these opportunities by expanding production.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper presents country experiences with reforms to strengthen regulatory oversight of the Islamic banking sector. Based on the selected country experiences, a number of important lessons and policy options can be drawn that have implications for the stable and sound development of Islamic banking. An enabling regulatory and institutional framework and a level playing field for conventional and Islamic banks is critical for the sound and stable growth of the Islamic banking industry. The country experiences also underscore the importance of providing an enabling framework while letting market forces determine the size of the industry.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Staff Papers draws on IMF Working Papers, which are research studies by members of the Fund’s staff. A list of Working Papers issued in 1989:1 follows; additions will be noted in future issues.

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.
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.
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.
Moazzam Farooq and Sajjad Zaheer
Rapid growth of Islamic banking in developing countries is accompanied with claims about its relative resilience to financial crises as compared to conventional banking. However, little empirical evidence is available to support such claims. Using data from Pakistan, where Islamic and conventional banks co-exist, we compare these banks during a financial panic. Our results show that Islamic bank branches are less prone to deposit withdrawals during financial panics, both unconditionally and after controlling for bank characteristics. The Islamic branches of banks that have both Islamic and conventional operations tend to attract (rather than lose) deposits during panics, which suggests a role for religious branding. We also find that Islamic bank branches grant more loans during financial panics and that their lending decisions are less sensitive to changes in deposits. Our findings suggest that greater financial inclusion of faith-based groups may enhance the stability of the banking system.