International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper provides a detailed assessment of observance of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures–International Organization of Securities Commissions principles for financial market infrastructures (FMIs). Major achievements have been made to establish safe and efficient payments and securities settlement systems in Bahrain. The real-time gross settlement system is highly concentrated and has tight interdependencies with the securities settlement system, making risks management a top priority. The formal assessment suggests that most of the principles are broadly observed, and identifies areas to improve for closer alignment with international standards. The objective of the assessment has been to identify potential risks related to FMIs that may affect financial stability.
Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad and Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
The GCC countries maintain a policy of open capital accounts and a pegged (or nearly-pegged) exchange rate, thereby reducing their freedom to run an independent monetary policy. This paper shows, however, that the pass-through of policy rates to retail rates is on the low side, reflecting the shallowness of money markets and the manner in which GCC central banks operate. In addition to policy rates, the GCC monetary authorities use reserve requirements, loan-to-deposit ratios, and other macroprudential tools to affect liquidity and credit. Nonetheless, a panel vector auto regression model suggests that U.S. monetary policy has a strong and statistically significant impact on broad money, non-oil activity, and inflation in the GCC region. Unanticipated shocks to broad money also affect prices but do not stimulate growth. Continued efforts to develop the domestic financial markets will increase interest rate pass-through and strengthen monetary policy transmission.
The paper takes a closer look at offshore banking—a pervasive practice that has played a role in recent crises. Offshore banking is an increasingly attractive alternative to the sometimes heavily regulated financial markets of emerging economies. From a microeconomic vantage point, offshore banks seem to exploit the risk-return tradeoff by being more profitable than onshore banks, and in many instances also more leveraged. Risks stemming from offshore activities may be easily transmitted onshore with systemic consequences. Current prudential and supervisory frameworks are broadly adequate for risk management if effectively and universally implemented.
Ms. Ritu Basu, Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad, and Mr. Sergio L. Rodriguez
The assessment provides evidence of market segmentation across Islamic and conventional banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), leading to excess liquidity, and an uneven playing field for Islamic banks that might affect their growth. Liquidiy management has been a long-standing concern in the global Islamic finance industry as there is a general lack of Shari’ah compliant instruments than can serve as high-quality short-term liquid assets. The degree of segmentation and bank behavior varies across countries depending on Shari’ah permissibility and the availability of Shari’ah-compliant instruments. A partial response would be to support efforts to build Islamic liquid interbank and money markets, which are crucial for monetary policy transmission through the Islamic financial system.This can be achieved, to a large extent, by deepening Islamic government securities and developing Shari’ah-compliant money market instruments.