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ASSAF RAZIN and EFRAIM SADKA

This first issue of Volume 51 for 2004 includes a new paper by Peter B. Clark and Jacques J. Polak, along with a tribute from the Editor to Mr. Polak in honor of his 90th birthday. This issue also launches a new featured section, "Data Issues," which will be devoted in future issues to on-going discussions of the latest in econometric and statistical tools for economists, data puzzles, and other related topics of interest to researchers.

Mr. Marcus Miller and Mr. Alan Sutherland

The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.

Mr. Sami Geadah, Mr. Tapio Saavalainen, and Lars E.O. Svensson

The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.

Ms. G. G. Garcia

Abstract

This paper demonstrates a well-designed deposit guarantee system can strengthen incentives for owners, managers, depositors and other creditors, borrowers, regulators and supervisors, and politicians. Borrowers should be aware that they will have to repay their loans if their bank fails and will be encouraged to keep their loans current where offsetting is limited to past-due loans. The performance of insurers, regulators, and supervisors as agents will improve where they know that they can take justifiable actions without political interference and will be held accountable for their actions to their principals. Despite the improvements, and possibly partly because there are issues in deposit insurance design that remain to be resolved, financial crises have been prevalent during the 1990s. This situation has forced a number of countries to offer a blanket guarantee to restore confidence and to allow the continued functioning of the financial system while the authorities take time to design a plan for the resolution of the crisis.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues and Analytical Note on Finland discusses the potential spillovers to Finland from various shocks associated with cross-country interlinkages. The note provides an overview of the trade and financial linkages, assesses the impact of global fiscal consolidation on Finland via trade links, quantifies dynamic contributions from external sources to growth, and uses these contributions to forecast the potential loss to Finnish GDP from a growth slowdown in other European countries; and analyzes the potential impact from the banking sector or sovereign stress.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

This has driven the economy into recession for the past three years. The impact on growth and exports of the parallel structural declines of Nokia and the paper industry has been exacerbated by weak external demand, including from Russia and the euro area. Wage hikes in 2008-10 and weak productivity growth have hurt competitiveness. Rapid population aging is a further drag on growth. Pre-crisis current account surpluses have become deficits and the fiscal position has deteriorated. The nascent recovery is fragile and, absent reforms, medium-term growth will be much slower than before the crisis.

Mr. Burkhard Drees and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu

Abstract

The banking industries in several industrial countries, including the Nordic countries, underwent considerable change in the 1980s.1 It was a period marked by economic deregulation, the removal of cross-border restrictions on capital flows, financial innovation, and increased competition in financial services. At the same time, distinctions between types of financial intermediaries became increasingly blurred. These changes were accompanied in most countries by a sharp credit boom followed by a period of financial fragility, as lower asset quality and interest margins weakened banks’ balance sheets. In a number of industrial countries, banks’ financial performance deteriorated to the point where governments had to support some of the largest banks to preserve financial stability.

Mr. Paul Louis Ceriel Hilbers, Mr. Alfredo Mario Leone, Mr. Mahinder Singh Gill, and Mr. Owen Evens

Abstract

Substantial progress has been made during recent years in forging a consensus on the importance of strengthening the architecture of the international financial system. The international community, acting through various forums, has identified a number of priorities in this work, including the need to enhance its own—and the markets’—ability to assess the strengths and vulnerabilities of financial systems, and to develop the analytical and procedural tools needed to perform this task. In particular, the importance of assessing the soundness of financial systems as part of the IMF’s surveillance work was given prominence by the Group of Twenty-Two finance ministers and central bank governors in the Report of the Working Group on Strengthening Financial Systems in October 1998. The working group recommended that financial sector surveillance be anchored to the IMF surveillance process, with expert support from the World Bank and elsewhere. This process is now well under way as part of the joint World Bank-IMF Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), and the related Financial System Stability Assessments (FSSAs).1 The development and possible dissemination of so-called macroprudential indicators (MPIs)—defined broadly as indicators of the health and stability of financial systems—have been encouraged recently by both the Group of Seven (G–7) and the IMF Interim Committee.2 Such indicators will be critical in producing reliable assessments of the strengths and vulnerabilities of financial systems as part of IMF surveillance, and to enhancing disclosure of key financial information to markets.