Mr. Sakai Ando, Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Bertrand Gruss, Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert, La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul, Koralai Kirabaeva, Nir Klein, Ana Lariau, Lucy Qian Liu, Mr. Davide Malacrino, Mr. Haonan Qu, and Alexandra Solovyeva
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused by far the largest shock to European economies since World War II. Yet, astonishingly, the EU unemployment rate had already declined to its pre-crisis level by 2021Q3, and in some countries the labor force participation rate is at a record high. This paper documents that the widespread use of job retention schemes has played an essential role in mitigating the pandemic’s impact on labor markets and thereby facilitating the restart of European economies after the initial lockdowns.
El Bachir Boukherouaa, Mr. Ghiath Shabsigh, Khaled AlAjmi, Jose Deodoro, Aquiles Farias, Ebru S Iskender, Mr. Alin T Mirestean, and Rangachary Ravikumar
This paper discusses the impact of the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in the financial sector. It highlights the benefits these technologies bring in terms of financial deepening and efficiency, while raising concerns about its potential in widening the digital divide between advanced and developing economies. The paper advances the discussion on the impact of this technology by distilling and categorizing the unique risks that it could pose to the integrity and stability of the financial system, policy challenges, and potential regulatory approaches. The evolving nature of this technology and its application in finance means that the full extent of its strengths and weaknesses is yet to be fully understood. Given the risk of unexpected pitfalls, countries will need to strengthen prudential oversight.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Ruud de Mooij, Andrew Hodge, Jan Loeprick, Dinar Prihardini, Ms. Alpa Shah, Sebastian Beer, Sonja Davidovic, Arbind M Modi, and Fan Qi
Digitalization in Asia is pervasive, unique, and growing. It stands out by its sheer scale, with internet users far exceeding numbers in other regions. This facilitates e-commerce in markets that are large by international standards, supported by innovative payment systems and featuring major corporate players, including a number of large, home-grown, highly digitalized businesses (tech giants) that rival US multinational enterprises (MNEs) in size. Opportunity for future growth exists, as a significant population share remains unconnected.
Alina Iancu, Gareth Anderson, Mr. Sakai Ando, Ethan Boswell, Mr. Andrea Gamba, Shushanik Hakobyan, Ms. Lusine Lusinyan, Mr. Neil Meads, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
Despite major structural shifts in the international monetary system over the past six decades, the US dollar remains the dominant international reserve currency. Using a newly compiled database of individual economies’ reserve holdings by currency, this departmental paper finds that financial links have been an increasingly important driver of reserve currency configurations since the global financial crisis, particularly for emerging market and developing economies. The paper also finds a rise in inertial effects, implying that the US dollar dominance is likely to endure. But historical precedents of sudden changes suggest that new developments, such as the emergence of digital currencies and new payments ecosystems, could accelerate the transition to a new landscape of reserve currencies.
Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Ulric Eriksson von Allmen, Ms. Amina Lahreche, Purva Khera, Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Majid Bazarbash, and Ms. Kimberly Beaton
Technology is changing the landscape of the financial sector, increasing access to financial services in profound ways. These changes have been in motion for several years, affecting nearly all countries in the world. During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has created new opportunities for digital financial services to accelerate and enhance financial inclusion, amid social distancing and containment measures. At the same time, the risks emerging prior to COVID-19, as digital financial services developed, are becoming even more relevant.
Marco A Espinosa-Vega, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, Mr. Hector Carcel Villanova, Miss Esha Chhabra, Ms. Bidisha Das, and Ms. Yingjie Fan
This departmental paper marks the 10th anniversary of the IMF Financial Access Survey (FAS). It offers a retrospective of the FAS database, along with some reflections as to its future directions.
Since its 2009 launch, the FAS has provided granular data on access to and use of financial services. It is a supply-side database with annual global coverage based on data sourced directly from financial service providers—aimed at supporting policymakers to target and evaluate financial inclusion policies. Its data collection has kept pace with financial innovation, such as the rise of mobile money and growing demand for gender-disaggregated data—and the FAS must continue to evolve.
Tamas Gaidosch, Frank Adelmann, Anastasiia Morozova, and Christopher Wilson
This paper highlights the emerging supervisory practices that contribute to
effective cybersecurity risk supervision, with an emphasis on how these practices
can be adopted by those agencies that are at an early stage of developing a
supervisory approach to strengthen cyber resilience. Financial sector supervisory
authorities the world over are working to establish and implement a framework
for cyber risk supervision. Cyber risk often stems from malicious intent, and a
successful cyber attack—unlike most other sources of risk—can shut down a
supervised firm immediately and lead to systemwide disruptions and failures.
The probability of attack has increased as financial systems have become more
reliant on information and communication technologies and as threats have
continued to evolve.
Sonja Davidovic, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Cormac Sullivan, and Hervé Tourpe
The Bali Fintech Agenda highlights 12 principles for policymakers to consider when formulating their approaches to new financial technology (fintech). The agenda aims to harness the potential of fintech while managing associated risks. This paper looks at how some elements of the Bali Fintech Agenda could be used in Pacific island countries, which face significant financial-structural challenges.
Mr. Amadou N Sy, Mr. Rodolfo Maino, Mr. Alexander Massara, Hector Perez-Saiz, and Preya Sharma
FinTech is a major force shaping the structure of the financial industry in sub-Saharan Africa. New technologies are being developed and implemented in sub-Saharan Africa with the potential to change the competitive landscape in the financial industry. While it raises concerns on the emergence of vulnerabilities, FinTech challenges traditional structures and creates efficiency gains by opening up the financial services value chain. Today, FinTech is emerging as a technological enabler in the region, improving financial inclusion and serving as a catalyst for the emergence of innovations in other sectors, such as agriculture and infrastructure.