Jean François Clevy, Mr. Guilherme Pedras, and Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz
The pandemic has urged countries around the globe to mobilize financing to support the recovery. This is even more relevant in Central America, where the policy response to cushion the pandemic’s economic and social impact has accentuated pre-existing debt vulnerabilities. This paper documents the potential for local currency bond markets to diversify and expand financing for the recovery, lowering bond yields, funding volatility, and exposure to global shocks. The paper further identifies priority actions, both national and regional, to support market development.
Mr. Dmitry Gershenson, Frederic Lambert, Luis Herrera, Grey Ramos, Mrs. Marina V Rousset, and Mr. Jose L. Torres
Despite some improvement since 2011, Latin America and the Caribbean continue to lag behind other regions in terms of financial inclusion. There is no clear evidence that fintech developments have supported greater financial inclusion in LAC, contrary to what has been observed elsewhere in the world. Case studies by national policy experts suggest that barriers to entry in the financial sector, along with a constraining regulatory environment, may have hindered a faster adoption of fintech. However, fintech development seems to have accelerated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the support of recent policy initiatives.
Contrary to the traditional assumption of interest rates on government debt exceeding economic growth, negative interest-growth differentials have become prevalent since the global financial crisis. As these differentials are a key determinant of public debt dynamics, can we sleep more soundly, despite high government debts? Our paper undertakes an empirical analysis of interestgrowth differentials, using the largest historical database on average effective government borrowing costs for 55 countries over up to 200 years. We document that negative differentials have occurred more often than not, in both advanced and emerging economies, and have often persisted for long historical stretches. Moreover, differentials are no higher prior to sovereign defaults than in normal times. Marginal (rather than average) government borrowing costs often rise abruptly and sharply, but just prior to default. Based on these results, our answer is: not really.
This paper discusses operational issues for countries that want to reform their monetary policy frameworks. It argues that stabilizing short-term interest rates on a day-to-day basis has significant advantages, and thus that short-term interest rates, not reserve money, in most cases should be the daily operating target, including for countries relying on a money targeting policy strategy. The paper discusses how a policy formulation framework based on monetary aggregates can be combined with an operational framework that ensures more stable and predictable short-term rates to enhance policy transmission. It also discusses how to best configure an interest-rate-based operational framework when markets are underdeveloped and liqudity management capacity is weak.
A well-functioning monetary transmission mechanism is critical for monetary policy. As the Dominican Republic recently adopted an inflation targeting regime, it is even more relevant to guarantee that changes in the monetary policy rates are quickly and fully reflected in retail rates, to eventually influence aggregate demand and inflation. This paper estimates the interest rate pass-through of the monetary policy rate to retail rates and explores asymmetries in the adjustment. We find evidence of complete pass-through to retail rates, confirming the effectiveness of the monetary policy transmission mechanism. However, our results also suggest a faster pass-through to lending rates than to deposit rates and asymmetric adjustments of short-term rates, as deposit rates respond faster to policy rate cuts and lending rates respond faster to policy rate hikes. Measures to enhance competition in the financial system could help to achieve a symmetric adjustment of retail rates.
This paper estimates neutral real interest rate (NRIR) ranges for 10 Latin American countries that either have full-fledged inflation targeting regimes in place or have recently adopted them, using an array of methodologies commonly used in the literature. We find that NRIRs have declined in the last decade, with more economically and financially developed economies exhibiting lower NRIR levels. Based on the estimated NRIRs, we assess that the current monetary stance (measured by the interest rate gap) is appropriately neutral in most of the considered economies, in line with closing output gaps. We also observe that the interest rate gap can be a good predictor of future inflation dynamics and economic growth. In addition, looking at the recent experiences in Brazil and Peru, we suggest that macro-prudential policies could affect the monetary stance even in the absence of direct interest rate changes, through affecting the NRIR.
Mr. Marco A. Piñón-Farah, Mr. Alejandro Lopez Mejia, M. (Mario) Garza, and Mr. Fernando L Delgado
Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic coped well with the global financial crisis of 2008-09. The impact was generally less severe and shorter lived than in previous episodes, the balance of payments adjustment was orderly, and the stability of the financial system was not compromised. This resilience can be attributed to a large extent to the strengthening of the fiscal frameworks, monetary management, and financial reforms conducted in the years preceding the global crisis. Nevertheless, the region faces considerable challenges for the period ahead, including the need to raise medium term growth above historical levels and protect macroeconomic and financial stability. This book argues that meeting these challenges will have to come from within, in light of the anticipated modest demand growth from trade partners. Raising growth in the region will depend on the adoption of structural reforms that generate substantial productivity gains. Rebuilding fiscal space and securing debt sustainability will hinge on efforts to increase tax revenue and reorienting spending to social and investment priorities. In the non-officially dollarized economies, it will also be essential to strengthen the monetary policy frameworks to keep inflation low and increase exchange rate flexibility, and improve financial regulation and supervision.
Mr. Alejandro Carrion-Menendez and Ms. Florencia Frantischek
Several Central American (CADR) central banks with independent monetary policies have adopted policy interest rates as their main instrument to signal their monetary policy stances, often in the context of adopting or transitioning to inflation targeting regimes. This paper finds that the interest-rate transmission mechanism, or the pass-through of the policy rate to market rates, is generally weaker and slower in CADR than in the LA6, the countries selected as benchmarks. A variety of potential factors behind this finding are examined, including the degrees of financial dollarization, exchange rate flexibility, bank concentration, financial sector development, and fiscal dominance. Through panel data analysis, the study suggests that the transmission mechanism can be strengthened by increasing exchange rate flexibility, and, over time, by adopting measures towards reducing financial dollarization, developing the financial sector, and reducing bank concentration.
In March 2009, the Fund established a new Framework Administered Account to administer external financial resources for Selected Fund Activities (the "SFA Instrument"). The financing of activities under the terms of the SFA Instrument is implemented through the establishment and operation of a subaccount within the SFA. This paper requests Executive Board approval to establish the African Development Bank (the “AfDB”) Subaccount for Selected Fund Activities (the “Subaccount”) under the terms of the SFA instrument.
The Fund, represented by the Managing Director, has reached understandings with the EIB to finance capacity building (technical assistance and training) and related activities. On the basis of these understandings, the Managing Director has established the essential terms and conditions of the Subaccount, with which EIB concurs, with respect to the nature, design, and implementation of the activities to be financed and the method by which the costs of the activities will be financed from the Subaccount.