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Ms. Diva Singh

Abstract

After a period of endemic economic and financial crises during the 1980s to 1990s, many Latin American countries opened up their previously closed economies to international financial institutions at the turn of the millennium, aiming to attract capital, gain technical expertise, and cushion themselves against regional instability. In some extreme cases, such as Mexico and Uruguay, the financial system came to be completely dominated by global banks, with few or no domestic banks remaining. In addition, their experience with financial crises prompted most Latin American countries to implement stricter financial regulations. The strategy of importing global institutions and know-how, together with tighter regulations, appeared to have served the region well: with the exception of the Argentine and Uruguayan crises of 2001–02, none of the largest Latin American banking systems have suffered a financial crisis in the new century. Even the global financial crisis of 2008–09 caused relatively little harm, with high commodity prices fortuitously buffering exports and growth in this resource-rich region.

Luiza Antoun de Almeida and Ms. Diva Singh
In recent years, we have observed an increase in low-income countries’ (LICs) access to international capital markets, especially after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This paper investigates what factors—country-specific macroeconomic fundamentals and/or external variables—have contributed to the surge in external bond issuance by these LICs, which we refer to in our paper as ‘frontier economies’. Using data on public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) external bond issuance, outstanding PPG bond stock, as well as sovereign spreads, we employ panel data analysis to examine factors related to the increase in issuance by these economies as well as the reduction in their spreads over time. Our empirical study shows that both country-specific fundamentals (such as public debt, current account balance, level of reserves, quality of institutions) and external variables (such as US growth and the VIX index) play a role in explaining the increased amount of issuance and the decline in spreads of frontier economies’ sovereign bonds. The impact of some of these variables on issuance appears to reflect a country’s need to issue bonds for external financing (‘the supply side’ of bond issuance), while others appear to correlate more through their impact on investors’ appetite for a country’s debt (‘the demand side’). In addition, the impact of country-specific variables can also be affected by external factors such as global risk appetite. Our analysis of key factors that have contributed to increased market access for frontier economies over the past decade provides important information to gauge the prospects for their continued market access, and for other LICs to join this group by tapping international markets for the first time.
Luiza Antoun de Almeida and Ms. Diva Singh
Luiza Antoun de Almeida and Ms. Diva Singh

In recent years, we have observed an increase in low-income countries’ (LICs) access to international capital markets, especially after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This paper investigates what factors—country-specific macroeconomic fundamentals and/or external variables—have contributed to the surge in external bond issuance by these LICs, which we refer to in our paper as ‘frontier economies’. Using data on public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) external bond issuance, outstanding PPG bond stock, as well as sovereign spreads, we employ panel data analysis to examine factors related to the increase in issuance by these economies as well as the reduction in their spreads over time. Our empirical study shows that both country-specific fundamentals (such as public debt, current account balance, level of reserves, quality of institutions) and external variables (such as US growth and the VIX index) play a role in explaining the increased amount of issuance and the decline in spreads of frontier economies’ sovereign bonds. The impact of some of these variables on issuance appears to reflect a country’s need to issue bonds for external financing (‘the supply side’ of bond issuance), while others appear to correlate more through their impact on investors’ appetite for a country’s debt (‘the demand side’). In addition, the impact of country-specific variables can also be affected by external factors such as global risk appetite. Our analysis of key factors that have contributed to increased market access for frontier economies over the past decade provides important information to gauge the prospects for their continued market access, and for other LICs to join this group by tapping international markets for the first time.

Mr. Charles Enoch, Wouter Bossu, Carlos Caceres, and Ms. Diva Singh

Abstract

With growth slowing across much of the Latin America as a result of the end of the commodity supercycle and economic rebalancing in China, as well as fragmentation of the international banking system, policies to stimulate growth are needed. This book examines the financial landscapes of seven Latin American economies—Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay—and makes a case for them to pursue regional financial integration. Chapters set out the benefits to the region of financial integration, the barriers to cross-border activity in banks, insurance companies, pension funds, and capital markets, as well as recommendations to address these barriers. Finally, the volume makes the case that regional integration now could be a step toward global integration in the short term.

Luc Eyraud, Ms. Diva Singh, and Mr. Bennett W Sutton
The timing is ripe to pursue greater regional financial integration in Latin America given the withdrawal of some global banks from the region and the weakening of growth prospects. Important initiatives are ongoing to foster financial integration. Failure to capitalize on this would represent a significant missed opportunity. This paper examines the scope for further global and regional financial integration in Latin America, based on economic fundamentals and comparisons to other emerging regions, and quantifies the potential macroeconomic gains that such integration could bring. The analysis suggests that closing the financial integration gap could boost GDP growth be ¼ - ¾ percentage point in these countries, on average.
Luc Eyraud, Ms. Diva Singh, and Mr. Bennett W Sutton

The timing is ripe to pursue greater regional financial integration in Latin America given the withdrawal of some global banks from the region and the weakening of growth prospects. Important initiatives are ongoing to foster financial integration. Failure to capitalize on this would represent a significant missed opportunity. This paper examines the scope for further global and regional financial integration in Latin America, based on economic fundamentals and comparisons to other emerging regions, and quantifies the potential macroeconomic gains that such integration could bring. The analysis suggests that closing the financial integration gap could boost GDP growth be ¼ - ¾ percentage point in these countries, on average.

Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Mr. Joonkyu Park, Ms. Diva Singh, and Ms. Nita Thacker
Financial sector linkages have increased continuously in the Caribbean with cross border capital flows and financial conglomerates dominating the financial system. While the greater interconnectedness can heighten systemic risks and likelihood of contagion, it can have positive impacts provided the regional authorities take steps to prevent the systemic risk. In this context, financial sector reform measures aimed at bolstering and harmonizing prudential regulations in line with international best practices, the strengthening and enhancement of financial sector supervision to include cross border linkages through consolidated supervision, increased cooperation across supervisors in the region, and the establishment of deposit insurance and crisis resolution frameworks will be critical to maintain financial sector stability and minimize the repercussions of any negative shocks.
Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Mr. Joonkyu Park, Ms. Diva Singh, and Ms. Nita Thacker

Financial sector linkages have increased continuously in the Caribbean with cross border capital flows and financial conglomerates dominating the financial system. While the greater interconnectedness can heighten systemic risks and likelihood of contagion, it can have positive impacts provided the regional authorities take steps to prevent the systemic risk. In this context, financial sector reform measures aimed at bolstering and harmonizing prudential regulations in line with international best practices, the strengthening and enhancement of financial sector supervision to include cross border linkages through consolidated supervision, increased cooperation across supervisors in the region, and the establishment of deposit insurance and crisis resolution frameworks will be critical to maintain financial sector stability and minimize the repercussions of any negative shocks.