Magdi Iskander, Gerald Meyerman, Dale F. Gray, and Mr. Sean Hagan
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
Korea has made a spectacular recovery from the Asian crisis. Executive Directors commended this developments, and stressed the need to implement monetary and fiscal polices. They commended the structural reforms, and emphasized the need to strengthen the asset management sector. They welcomed the approval of a free trade agreement with Chile, and looked forward to further trade-opening steps in the agricultural sector. They welcome the three-year roadmap for corporate reform, which eases regulations on 'chaebol' that improve governance.
This paper analyzes the linkages between governance quality and country stress events. It focuses on two types of events: fiscal and political stress events, for which two innovative stress indicators are introduced. The results suggest that weaker governance quality is associated with a higher incidence of both fiscal and political stress events. In particular, internal accountability, which measures the responsiveness of governments to improving the quality of the bureaucracy, public service provision, and respect for the institutional framework in place, is positively associated with fiscal stress events. However, external accountability, which captures government accountability before the public in general, through elections and the democratic process, seems to be more important for political stress events. These results hold when using balanced country samples where region, oil-exporter status, income level, and time are taken into account.
Recent crises in emerging markets have highlighted the role of the corporate sector in transmitting financial shocks to the macroeconomy. This paper takes stock of the performance of the Thai corporate sector in emerging from the Asian crisis, and discusses remaining challenges and vulnerabilities. Econometric evidence is presented on the impact of excess leverage on performance. Debt levels, though high, have fallen from post-crisis peaks, while returns and corporate cash flows have stabilized. However, the aggregate picture masks significant firm-level variation, which is analyzed by examining estimated distributions for various indicators across firms.
To stabilize and bring down nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the Italian banking system, the Italian authorities have been implementing a number of reforms, aimed among others at speeding up insolvency and enforcement proceedings, strengthening bank corporate governance, cleaning up balance sheets, and facilitating bank consolidation. This paper examines the Italian banking system’s NPL problem, which ties up capital, weighing on bank profitability and authorities’ economic reforms. It argues for a comprehensive approach, encompassing economic, supervisory, and legal measures. The authorities’ reforms are important steps toward this end. The paper describes measures that could further support their actions.
Addressing the buildup of nonperforming loans (NPLs) in Italy since the global financial crisis will remain a challenge for some time and be important for supporting a sustained, robust economic recovery. The buildup reflects both the prolonged recession as well as structural factors that have held back NPL write-offs by banks. The paper discusses the impediments to NPL resolution in Italy and a strategy for fostering a market for restructuring distressed assets that could support corporate and financial restructuring.
This paper uses a stochastic continuous time model of the firm to study how different corporate governance structures affect the agency cost of debt. In the absence of asymmetric information, it shows that control of the firm by debtholders with a minority stake delays the exit decision and reduces the underinvestment problem. Such a governance structure may play an important role in diminishing conflicts between shareholders and debtholders.
While not widespread, the Philippine corporate sector is showing some signs of stress. The paper reviews the exposure of banks to distressed corporate borrowers, the ownership structure of the corporate sector, including the interlocking relationship of corporations and banks, and the legal framework in place for the resolution of debts of distressed companies and the protection of creditor rights. It recommends that immediate measures be taken to improve transparency and regulatory oversight, and to quickly resolve the debts of distressed companies by strengthening the policy framework and institutional capacity for suspension of debt payments by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the use of capital controls and evolution of the capital control regime in Malaysia. The paper highlights that following a period of strong downward pressures on the ringgit, the Malaysian authorities introduced on September 1, 1998 a wide range of capital controls along with pegging the exchange rate at RM 3.8 vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar. The paper provides a brief review of Malaysia’s approach to capital account liberalization prior to September 1998. It also reviews the circumstances surrounding the imposition of the controls in September 1998, and their impact.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.