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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) have recorded significant macroeconomic achievements since independence. These countries have grown more rapidly-—on average by 7 percent over 1996–2011—-than those in many other regions of the world and poverty has declined. Inflation has come down sharply from high rates in the 1990s and interest rates have fallen. Financial sectors have deepened somewhat, as evidenced by higher deposits and lending. Fiscal policies were broadly successful in building buffers prior to the global crisis and those buffers were used effectively by many CCA countries to support growth and protect the most vulnerable as the crisis washed across the region. CCA oil and gas exporters have achieved significant improvements in living standards with the use of their energy wealth.
Raja Almarzoqi and Mr. Sami Ben Naceur
In this paper, we use a bank-level panel dataset to investigate the determinants of bank interest margins in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) over the period 1998–2013. We apply the dealership model of Ho and Saunders (1981) and its extensions to assess the extent to which high spreads of banks in the CCA can be related to bank-specific variables, to competition, and to macroeconomic factors. We find that interest spreads are affected by operating cost, credit risk, liquidity risk, bank size, bank diversification, banking sector competition, and macroeconomic policies; but the impact depends on the country.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This Selected Issues paper uses a bank-level panel dataset to investigate the determinants of bank interest spreads in Azerbaijan over 2002–2013. The dealership model of Ho and Saunders is applied, supplemented by market structure and macroeconomic environment variables, to assess the extent to which high spreads of banks in Azerbaijan can be related to bank-specific variables or to a low degree of competition, controlling for macroeconomic factors. It is found that interest spreads are affected by operation cost efficiency, credit risk, liquidity risk, bank size, bank diversification, banking sector competition, policy rate, and reserve requirement.