Over the last decade, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) macroeconomic performance has deteriorated relative to the rest of the Caribbean. Tourism accounts for three-fifths of exports, and the import content of consumption and investment is high. The ECCB-operated quasi-currency board arrangement (CBA) has continued to deliver price and exchange rate stability. The region has strong social indicators, but poverty, health, and crime remain concerns. Despite the implementation of ambitious revenue reforms, limited progress has been made toward fiscal consolidation. Credit has continued to expand rapidly.
The econometric results show that it is feasible to estimate robust price and inflation equations for Georgia. The long-term price equation expresses prices as a function of money, the exchange rate, and real income and may be interpreted as portraying equilibrium in the goods market. The paper also represents statistical data of transportation indicators, population and employment, personal income tax, monetary survey, average monthly wages, developments in commercial banking, interest rates, prudential indicators of commercial banks, balance of payments, and so on.
The natural disasters that hit the country recently caused human losses and had a negative impact on the economy; however, they did not deviate the economic recovery path. Currently, growth in exports and imports is accelerating, remittances are recovering, and international reserves are well above end-2009 levels. The authorities have recently adopted regulations on liquidity and foreign currency credit risk management and have made further progress toward full provisioning of nonperforming loans. Finally, the IMF-supported program has also contributed to the achievement of their economic program goals.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This IMF Staff Report for the 2016 Discussion on Common Policies of Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) Member Countries highlights that the regional recovery in ECCU is gaining ground, supported by continued low oil prices, strong tourism arrivals, and robust citizenship-by-investment receipts. Risks to the near-term outlook are balanced, but growth in the ECCU continues to be hindered by weak competitiveness, banking sector fragilities, susceptibility to natural disasters, and large public debt. The Executive Directors have encouraged the authorities to press ahead with sound macroeconomic policies and structural reforms to decisively address these issues and strengthen the conditions for robust long term growth.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
There have been significant improvements in both the quality of regulation and the supervisory approach since the 2007 FSAP. Many amendments to existing laws, new laws, and regulations have been introduced, aimed at addressing shortfalls identified in the 2007 FSAP. These improvements will be evident throughout this assessment. At the same time, a number of weaknesses have been identified. Among these is an operational risk within the NBG’s own Banking Supervisory Department. There has been a very high level of staff turnover in recent years due to a lack of salary competitiveness vis-à-vis the commercial banks, and there appears to be over-reliance on key personnel. Also, the level and type of staff training need to be expanded. While the NBG puts significant effort into understanding the risk profile of each individual bank and the banking system as a whole, more attention is needed to improve the quality of risk management of the banks. In a number of areas, notably bank licensing, the NBG relies on its broad supervisory powers to carry out its functions in the absence of detailed explicit powers. While this regime generally seems to work well in practice, it could leave the NBG open to challenge where these broad powers are not supported by more granular powers. Recently, several amendments to the legislation have been introduced in order to address these shortcomings.
The Georgian financial system is small by international standards and by comparison with countries in the region. The vulnerabilities and policy challenges in the Georgian financial system are closely linked to the transitional stage of the economy. The legal framework governing the financial sector needs improvement. The assessment of compliance with the Basel Core Principles (BCP) for Effective Banking Supervision (EBS) found that while substantial advances in bank supervision have occurred during the past two to three years, there are several areas in need of improvement.
This paper presents the Financial Sector Stability Assessment Update on the Russian Federation. Indicators of bank soundness and performance are broadly favorable but credit risk poses a challenge over the medium term, and capitalization should rise to support continued banking sector development. The system has weathered the global credit crunch that began in mid-2007, yet the funding model is coming under strain as the turmoil in global markets continues. Capital markets have grown dramatically in recent years but remain highly concentrated.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The National Bank of Georgia (NBG) has a broad mandate to safeguard financial stability in Georgia and has applied several measures that can be considered macroprudential. For instance, the NBG adjusted risk weights for foreign-currency (FX) loans to unhedged borrowers in a countercyclical manner in recent years. Going forward, it plans to introduce the Basel III countercyclical capital buffer regime for the banking system in 2015, which will require that it sets or releases the buffer on a regular basis, based on assessments of cyclical risks. Policymakers should consider establishing a full-fledged macroprudential policy framework in line with international best practices. The current framework is too broad to support the effective and transparent use of macroprudential policy going forward. An improved system would involve a revised legal framework to cement the use of a broad range of macroprudential instruments, the establishment of a Financial Stability Committee at the NBG level, and strong accountability and communication practices, including by the publication of regular reports on financial stability. The list of available macroprudential instruments should go beyond risk buffers and allow the NBG to set measures that directly influence the banks’ activities, e.g., through the application of loan-to-value (LTV) or payment-to-income (PTI) caps. The introduction of macroprudential measures for FX-induced credit and liquidity risks have led to a strengthening of banks’ risk buffers. On the asset side, additional risk weights are applied to FX loans to unhedged borrowers, while on the liability side, reserve requirements are higher for FX deposits and other borrowings. Furthermore, banks have to hold more liquidity for nonresident deposits (of which 92 percent are in foreign currency as of end-2013), if those deposits exceed 10 percent of total deposits. Combined with the general liquidity regulation, these measures have increased banks’ capital and liquidity buffers, as shown in the results of the FSAP solvency and liquidity stress tests. The planned introduction of buffer requirements to mitigate cyclical and structural risks is a welcome step. The countercyclical capital buffer and the capital surcharge for systemically important banks are planned to be implemented over the next few years. The capital surcharge for systemically important banks, which would currently apply at least to the three largest banks by total assets, is particularly important in the Georgian context due to the high market concentration in the banking sector.