International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper addresses key areas that would contribute to maintaining macroeconomic stability and inclusive growth. Strong economic growth in Colombia has significantly reduced poverty, but has had limited impact on reducing inequality. Strong growth and social programs have helped reduce poverty. Going forward, efforts to further strengthen education, pension, and tax systems stand to yield important social gains, as recognized by the national development plan. Labor market distortions have declined in recent years, but challenges remain. The elimination of infrastructure gaps will also play a key role in sustaining strong and broad-based growth, and supporting further economic diversification.
The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region has weathered the global financial crisis reasonably well so far, although tighter global financial conditions began to take their toll on trade, capital flows and economic growth in late 2008. This resilience reflects the reforms put in place by many countries over the past decade to strengthen financial supervision and adopt sound macroeconomic policies. Building on this progress, the region’s financial sector reform agenda now aims at further improvements, including steps aiming to improve compliance with the Basel Core Principles of Banking Supervision and to broaden and deepen domestic financial markets.
Mr. Thomas F. Cosimano, Mr. Ralph Chami, and Mr. Adolfo Barajas
Drawing from a unique data set comprising 2,893 banks and 152 countries over the period 1987 to 2000, we test whether the adoption of the Basel Accord by Latin American and Caribbean countries was responsible for the serious slowdowns in credit growth experienced by these countries. We find that, on average, both bank capitalization and lending activities in Latin America increased after Basel. Consequently, Basel did not seem to lead to an overall credit decline. However, we do find evidence that loan growth became more sensitive to some risk factors. Our study suggests that the upcoming adoption of Basel II might cause greater procyclicality of credit.
The financial turmoil of the late 1990s prompted a broad search for tools and techniques for detecting and preventing financial crises, and more recent episodes of instability have high lighted the importance of continuous monitoring of financial systems as a tool for preventing crises. This paper looks at the development of measures of financial sector soundness and of methods to analyze them. The authors propose two sets of financial soundness indicators that are considered useful for periodic monitoring, and for compilation and dissemination efforts by national authorities. They highlight the substantial advance made in recent years in measuring and analyzing financial soundness indicators, and specify areas where more work is needed.