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Mr. Heiko Hesse and Tao Sun
This paper examines financial stability issues that arise from the increased presence of sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in global financial markets by assessing whether and how stock markets react to the announcements of investments and divestments to firms by SWFs using an event study approach. Based on 166 publicly traceable events collected on investments and divestments by major SWFs during the period from 1990 to 2009, the paper evaluates the short-term financial impact of SWFs on selected public equity markets in which they invest. The impact is analyzed on different sectors (financial and nonfinancial), actions (buy and sell), market types (developed and emerging markets), and level of corporate governance (high and low score). Results, based on these 166 events, show that there was no significant destabilizing effect of SWFs on equity markets, which is consistent with anecdotal evidence.
Mr. Andre O Santos
The objective of the paper is to assess ownership and control links in the GCC corporate sector. The analysis focuses on the integrated ownership and network arising from ownership data available in Bloomberg and GCC stock exchanges. The paper finds that ownership is concentrated in GCC public sector institutions, holding companies, financial institutions, and family groups. The paper then considers the effect of different definitions of control on the distribution of consolidated debt. Debt concentration is maximized when the wedge between ownership and control is the largest. This is the case when the largest shareholder has at least 5 percent of total shares as defined in Zingales (1994).
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In the second half of the 1980s, Japan enjoyed above-trend economic growth and near-zero inflation. These conditions resulted in a significant decline in the country risk premium and a marked upward adjustment in growth expectations, which boosted asset price inflation fueled by credit expansion. At the time, Japanese banks were considered among the strongest in the world. During the same period, the pace of financial liberalization and deregulation accelerated, which spurred price competition and prompted banks and other depository institutions to take greater risks, including increased lending to the real estate industry. As land prices rose, these institutions loosened credit standards. In response, the authorities limited total bank lending to the real estate sector, curtailing the banks’ asset growth.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper on Kuwait focuses on recent development in investment companies (ICs) and the business environment in the country. ICs continue to be vulnerable to swings in financial and real estate markets. They continue to have large exposures to domestic, regional, and international equity and real estate markets. Local banks’ lending to ICs declined in 2010–11 owing to banks’ write-offs of ICs loans. The financial situation of many ICs remains precarious, and there are 15 listed investment companies in a dire situation.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

The government of the Kyrgyz Republic is determined to consolidate its finances over the coming years. This note describes the main elements of the tax regime in the Kyrgyz Republic, looks into tax incentives, and provides some reform options to raise revenues. The second note is on monetary policy in the Kyrgyz Republic, which faces challenges with respect to formulation and efficacy given the low monetization, the shallow financial system, high dollarization, and a predominantly cash-based economy.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on Pakistan reports that fiscal adjustment, supported by official and private inflows and debt relief, has led to a substantial improvement in public and external debt indicators. International reserves have recovered close to US$10 billion. Financial sector reforms have resulted in a healthy banking system. With these achievements, vulnerabilities have been greatly reduced, and Pakistan’s prospects look favorable. A continuation of prudent fiscal policies, as anchored by the financial responsibility law, is needed to ensure that debt ratios continue on their downward trajectory.