Mr. Philip Liu, Rafael Romeu, and Mr. Troy D Matheson
Macroeconomic policy decisions in real-time are based the assessment of current and future economic conditions. These assessments are made difficult by the presence of incomplete and noisy data. The problem is more acute for emerging market economies, where most economic data are released infrequently with a (sometimes substantial) lag. This paper evaluates "nowcasts" and forecasts of real GDP growth using five alternative models for ten Latin American countries. The results indicate that the flow of monthly data helps to improve forecast accuracy, and the dynamic factor model consistently produces more accurate nowcasts and forecasts relative to other model specifications, across most of the countries we consider.
Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, Mr. Juan Zalduendo, Ms. Manuela Goretti, Mr. Bikas Joshi, and Mr. Alun H. Thomas
This paper presents two approaches to modeling the use of IMF resources in order to gauge whether the recent decline in credit outstanding is a temporary or a permanent phenomenon. The two approaches-the time series behavior of credit outstanding and a two-stage program selection and access model-yield the same conclusion: the use of IMF resources is likely to decline sharply. Specifically, credit outstanding is projected to decline from an average of SDR 50 billion over 2000?05 to SDR 8 billion over 2006?10. Stochastic simulations suggest that it is unlikely to be much higher. These results are based on WEO projections with a correction for historically-observed over-optimistic biases. Alternative scenarios assuming a weaker economic performance or a less benign global environment do not alter these results.
Mr. Armando Méndez Morales and Jose Giancarlo Gasha
Using data from Argentina, Australia, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, and the United States, we identify three types of threshold effects when assessing the impact of economic activity on nonperforming loans (NPLs). For advanced financial systems showing low NPLs, there is an embedded self-correcting adjustment when NPLs exceed a minimum threshold. For financial systems in emerging markets in Latin America showing higher NPLs, there is instead a magnifying effect once NPLs cross a (higher) threshold. GDP growth apparently affects NPLs only below a certain threshold, which is consistent with observed lower elasticity of credit risk to changes in economic activity in boom periods.
This paper reexamines the empirical relationship between financial development and economic growth. It presents evidence based on cross-section and panel data using an updated dataset, a variety of econometric methods, and two standard measures of financial development: the level of liquid liabilities of the banking system and the amount of credit issued to the private sector by banks and other financial institutions. The paper identifies two sets of findings. First, in contrast with the recent evidence of Levine, Loayza, and Beck (2001), cross-section and panel-data-instrumental-variables regressions reveal that the relationship between financial development and economic growth is, at best, weak. Second, there is evidence of nonlinearities in the data, suggesting that finance matters for growth only at intermediate levels of financial development. Moreover, using a procedure appropriately designed to estimate long-run relationships in a panel with heterogeneous slope coefficients, there is no clear indication that finance spurs economic growth. Instead, for some specifications, the relationship is, puzzlingly, negative.
Ex-post deviations from uncovered interest parity (UIP) – realized differences between dollar returns on identical assets of different currencies – equal the real interest differential plus real exchange rate growth. Among industrialized countries, UIP deviations are largely explained by unanticipated real exchange rate growth, but among developing countries, real interest differentials are “where the action is.” This observation is due to the greater variability of inflation in developing countries, but may also stem from higher and more variable risks and capital controls in these countries. Also, among developing countries with moderate inflation, offsetting comovements of real interest differentials and real exchange growth support the sticky-price hypothesis.