Western Hemisphere > Chile

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Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen and Ms. Olga Sulla
Banking credit to the private sector in Latin America has on average increased by 7 percent of GDP from primo 2004 to ultimo 2011, with real credit in some countries growing by up to 20 percent per year. This paper documents and analyzes the patterns of credit growth in 18 countries in Latin America and uses econometric methods to determine whether it is indicative of financial deepening or poses risks of credit booms. The strongest credit growth occurred for consumption and mortgages within the household sector and for construction within the corporate sector. At the same time credit has de-dollarized in most countries and there are some signs of maturity lengthening. To assess whether the recent credit growth is excessive two different methods are applied. First, by application of HP-filters the paper finds that credit-to-GDP levels in a number of countries are above their long-term trend. Second, using a panel co-integration approach on 107 high and mid-income countries the paper estimates a model for the credit-to-GDP levels. Comparing the actual levels of credit with the ones predicted by the model we find that some countries in Latin America show significant and positive deviations. These results indicate the existence of a certain level of risk in the recent credit developments.
Mr. Luis Catão
Liquidity in the banking sector in Argentina reached new heights in early 1996 with the sharp reflow of deposits in the aftermath of the 1995 banking crisis. Yet, this did not translate into a similar recovery of credit to the private sector. Two hypotheses have been raised to explain this mismatch. One is that credit to the private sector was supply constrained because of adverse selection mechanisms exacerbated by the crisis. An alternative hypothesis is that credit was demand constrained, as unemployment remained high and the debt stock adjustment unwound only slowly through the first half of 1996. This paper examines these hypotheses.
Ms. May Y Khamis
This paper examines the behavior of private sector credit in chronic inflation countries that undergo exchange rate-based inflation stabilizations. It concludes that these programs are characterized by a strong increase in private sector credit, both in absolute terms and as a fraction of real economic activity. Empirical results using data for Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Israel support a negative statistically significant relationship between credit and inflation for Mexico, Argentina, and Chile, but not for Israel. In addition, for both Chile and Mexico, dummy variables representing periods of inflation stabilization are positive and statistically different from zero indicating a stronger expansion in private sector credit during stabilization. These results could potentially explain the consumption boom that is usually present in the early stages of these programs.