Asia and Pacific

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Lien Laureys, Mr. Roland Meeks, and Boromeus Wanengkirtyo
We reconsider the design of welfare-optimal monetary policy when financing frictions impair the supply of bank credit, and when the objectives set for monetary policy must be simple enough to be implementable and allow for effective accountability. We show that a flexible inflation targeting approach that places weight on stabilizing inflation, a measure of resource utilization, and a financial variable produces welfare benefits that are almost indistinguishable from fully-optimal Ramsey policy. The macro-financial trade-off in our estimated model of the euro area turns out to be modest, implying that the effects of financial frictions can be ameliorated at little cost in terms of inflation. A range of different financial objectives and policy preferences lead to similar conclusions.
Mr. Julian T Chow
Guyana’s residential real estate prices have been rising, particularly in the capital city Georgetown, following the discovery of oil in 2015. In line with the growing demand for housing, commercial banks’ housing loans have increased, prompting higher household debt. This paper presents two analyses which suggest that housing prices in Georgetown and banks’ lending to the housing sector appear to be in their early stages of growth. However, given the data limitations and caveats that underpin the analyses, the findings could also indicate early signals of possible risks. Further data collection would support surveillance and deeper studies. At the same time, enhancing prudential measures would help safeguard financial and macroeconomic stability. These include strengthening the monitoring of the housing market, bank lending practices and household debt, as well as fortifying the macroprudential framework, including with more effective toolkits for early intervention.
Mai Dao and Lucy Qian Liu
We study the effect of external financing constraint on job creation in emerging markets and developing countries (EMDC) at the firm level by looking at a specific transmission channel - the working capital channel. We develop a simple model to illustrate how the need for working capital financing of a firm affects the link between financial constraint and the firm's job creation. We show that the effect of relaxing financial constraint on job creation is greater the smaller the firm scale and the more labor-intensive its production structure. We use the World Bank Enterprise Surveys data to test the main predictions of the model, and find strong evidence for the working capital channel of external finance on firm employment.
Mai Dao, Ms. Camelia Minoiu, and Mr. Jonathan David Ostry
We examine the relationship between real exchange rate depreciations and indicators of firm performance using data for a sample of more than 30,000 firms from 66 (advanced and emerging market) countries over the 2000-2011 period. We show that depreciations boost profits, investment, and sales of firms that are more financially-constrained and have higher labor shares. These findings are consistent with the view that depreciations boost internal financing opportunities by reducing real wages, thereby spurring investment. We show that these effects on firm performance are enduring, including in the market valuation of firms.
Miss Sonali Das and Mr. Volodymyr Tulin
This paper studies private investment in India against the backdrop of a significant investment decline over the past decade. We analyze the potential causes of weaker investment at the firm level, using both firm-level financial statements and a novel dataset on firms’ investment project decisions, and find that financial frictions have played a role in the slowdown. Firms with higher financial leverage invest less, as do firms with lower earnings relative to their interest expenses. Consistent with the notion of credit constraints leading to pro-cyclical investment, we also find that firms with higher leverage are (i) less likely to undertake new investment projects, (ii) less likely to complete investment projects once begun, and (iii) undertake shorter-term investment projects.
International Monetary Fund
The December 2015 IMF Research Bulletin features a sampling of key research from the IMF. The Research Summaries in this issue look at “The Impact of Deflation and Lowflation on Fiscal Aggregates (Nicolas End, Sampawende J.-A. Tapsoba, Gilbert Terrier, and Renaud Duplay); and “Oil Exporters at the Crossroads: It Is High Time to Diversify” (Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov). Mahvash Saeed Qureshi provides an overview of the fifth Lindau Meeting in Economics in “Meeting the Nobel Giants.” In the Q&A column on “Seven Questions on Financial Frictions and the Sources of the Business Cycle, Marzie Taheri Sanjani looks at the driving forces of the business cycle and macroeconomic models. The top-viewed articles in 2014 from the IMF Economic Review are highlighted, along with recent IMF Working Papers, Staff Discussion Notes, and IMF publications.
Mr. Jan Vlcek and Mr. Scott Roger
This paper surveys dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models with financial frictions in use by central banks and discusses priorities for future development of such models for the purpose of monetary and financial stability analysis. It highlights the need to develop macrofinancial models which allow analysis of the macroeconomic effects of macroprudential policy tools and to evaluate elements of the Basel III reforms as a priority. The paper also reviews the main approaches to introducing financial frictions into general equilibrium models.
International Monetary Fund
This paper examines how durable goods and financial frictions shape the business cycle of a small open economy subject to shocks to trend and transitory shocks. In the data, nondurable consumption is not as volatile as income for both developed and emerging market economies. The simulation of the model implies that shocks to trend play a less important role than previously documented. Financial frictions improve the ability of the model to match some key business cycle properties of emerging economies. A countercyclical borrowing premium interacts with the nature of durable goods delivering highly volatile consumption and very countercyclical net exports.
Yishay Yafeh, Mr. Kenichi Ueda, and Mr. Stijn Claessens
Financial frictions have been identified as key factors affecting economic fluctuations and growth. But, can institutional reforms reduce financial frictions? Based on a canonical investment model, we consider two potential channels: (i) financial transaction costs at the firm level; and (ii) required return at the country level. We empirically investigate the effects of institutions on these financial frictions using a panel of 75,000 firm-years across 48 countries for the period 1990 - 2007. We find that improved corporate governance (e.g., less informational problems) and enhanced contractual enforcement reduce financial frictions, while stronger creditor rights (e.g., lower collateral constraints) are less important.
Jihad Dagher
This paper proposes a tractable Sudden Stop model to explain the main patterns in firm level data in a sample of Southeast Asian firms during the Asian crisis. The model, which features trend shocks and financial frictions, is able to generate the main patterns observed in the sample during and following the Asian crisis, including the ensuing credit-less recovery, which are also patterns broadly shared by most Sudden Stop episodes as documented in Calvo et al. (2006). The model also proposes a novel explanation as to why small firms experience steeper declines than their larger peers as documented in this paper. This size effect is generated under the assumption that small firms are growth firms, to which there is support in the data. Trend shocks when combined with financial frictions in this model also generate strong leverage effects in line with what is observed in the sample, and with other observations from the literature.