Mr. Clinton R. Shiells, Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo, Mr. Vladimir Klyuev, and Raghuram Rajan
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
The research summaries in the September 2012 issue of the IMF Research Bulletin are "Surges in Capital Flows: Why History Repeats Itself" (by Mahvash S. Qureshi) and "The LIC-BRIC Linkage: Growth Spillovers" (by Issouf Samake, Yongzheng Yang, and Catherine Pattillo). The Q&A covers "Seven Questions on Monetary Transmission in Low-Income Countries" (by Prachi Mishra and Peter Montiel). "Conversations with a Visiting Scholar" features an interview with IMF Fellow Olivier Coibion. Also included in this issue are details on the IMF Fellowship Program, visiting scholars at the IMF, a listing of recently published IMF Working Papers and Staff Discussion Notes, and an announcement on IMF Economic Review's first Impact Factor.
This Selected Issues paper examines a number of potential factors that may have influenced the short-term behavior of the exchange rate between the Chilean peso and the U.S. dollar during the period of floating exchange rate, including the possible impact of developments in Argentina during 2001. The paper investigates whether copper prices can be successfully forecasted over medium-term horizons, emphasizing the properties of copper prices most relevant in the Chilean context, including for fiscal policymaking. The paper also provides a snapshot of the Chilean banking and corporate sectors.
This paper analyzes the potential risks and vulnerabilities of non-financial corporates in
Latin America and Canada. We quantify the impact of company-specific, countryspecific,
and global factors in driving corporate spreads. Overall, we found that all these
factors play a role in explaining corporate risk. In particular, country specific factors such
as exchange rate and sovereign CDS spreads are significantly associated with changes in
corporate spreads, underscoring the importance of solid policy frameworks. We also find
that global conditions, such as the VIX, are dominant drivers of corporate spreads. In
recent years, the adverse effects from deteriorating domestic conditions have been broadly
offset by relatively bening global financial conditions. However, a sustained reversal in
these conditions would put significant pressure on corporate risk.
This paper examines the role of credit markets in the transmission of U.S. macro-financial shocks through the prism of a financial conditions index (FCI) based on a vector autoregression (VAR) methodology. It explores the relative predictive power of market variables compared to credit standards/conditions. The main conclusion is that under plausible specifications credit conditions dominate market variables, highlighting the importance of credit supply. The fact that direct measures of credit conditions anticipate future movements in asset prices has an extremely important implication. Most models of the credit channel see it as an amplifier of underlying changes in financial wealth. The impact of credit conditions on growth compared to other market variables implies that credit supply drives other financial variables rather than responding to them.
This paper examines access to business finance by Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to housing finance by Canadian households (particularly non-prime borrowers) against the background of a fairly concentrated and protected banking industry. It finds access broadly adequate for the former group. However, given the dominance of the large banks and their fairly low risk tolerance, financing of riskier projects is a challenge. Problems with venture capital, plausibly related to the prevalence of tax-advantaged labor-sponsored funds, exacerbate the situation for the most innovative SMEs. The paper also finds the market for housing finance to be highly advanced and sophisticated. However, non-prime mortgage financing is in its infancy in Canada, and further development of that sector (while avoiding the excesses that beset the U.S. market in the last few years) would be beneficial. More broadly, despite recent innovations, options available to Canadians for financing house purchases are still somewhat limited, with scarce availability of mortgage maturities beyond five years particularly surprising. Further advances in securitization could help progress in both of these areas.
This paper studies changes in Canada's monetary policy transmission, associated with the important changes in financial structure experienced in the 1990's, using two methodologies. First, VAR models show a clear break in monetary transmission beginning in 1988, after changes in financial regulation initiated the process of financial disintermediation. Second, estimates of the interest rate elasticity of aggregate demand in IS equations increase in the 1990's, suggesting that the systematic component of monetary policy has become more relevant. The ratio of direct to indirect finance, a measure of disintermediation, contributes to explain changes in the interest rate elasticity, suggesting an increased effectiveness of monetary policy associated with a larger use of market-based sources of finance.
Using data from the US, UK, Japan and Canada, this paper provides evidence on the benefits to an economy from "multiple avenues of intermediation". The overall conclusion is that the existence of active securities markets alongside banks is indeed beneficial to the stability of corporate financing, both during cyclical downturns and during banking and securities market crises. The benefit from multiple avenues are greater, the more comparable the size of securities market and intermediated financing, as well as the larger the proportion of companies able to access both loan and securities markets. The analysis raises a number of policy issues and research topics for further investigation.
This paper studies the evolution of non-financial corporate debt among publicly listed companies in major advanced economies between 2010 and 2017. Since 2010, firms have started to rely more on corporate bond markets and have used part of their debt to increase their holdings of cash. In our sample of some 5,000 firms, we find substantial differences across countries, industries, firms, and years in leverage and debt maturity, and we also identify time factors that are common drivers of capital structures. Within countries, loosening an index of financial conditions seems to be associated with lengthening debt maturity after controlling for firms’ characteristics. Across firms and countries, leveraging and lengthening debt maturity have been greater where economic growth was stronger. Tighter financial conditions are positively associated with an increase in short-term debt financing. Quantile regressions suggest that there is substantial heterogeneity among firms on how they react to macro-financial conditions: large increases in long-term debt financing and large declines in short-term debt financing tend to be driven more by better macroeconomic performance, while large increases in short-term debt financing are more strongly impacted by tighter financial conditions. Since the paper uses data up to 2017, it does not reflect developments that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, sensitivity analysis shows that a significant amount of corporate debt, representing more than 5 percent of GDP, could be at risk in some countries, with an adverse spillover to the financial system if financial conditions tighten or economic growth slows down. This suggests that vulnerabilities should be closely monitored and policy action taken if warranted.
This technical note focuses on the concept of a shadow economy and explains its main characteristics. Although a shadow economy is acknowledged by all G-20 countries as a major and enduring revenue risk, by its nature the size of a shadow economy is difficult to measure. Sweden, however, estimates that at least half of its total tax gap is attributable to a shadow economy. This note explains what action should revenue agencies take to manage a shadow economy. The most recent initiatives to manage a shadow economy are also described.