Western Hemisphere > Honduras

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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.
Luiza Antoun de Almeida and Ms. Diva Singh
In recent years, we have observed an increase in low-income countries’ (LICs) access to international capital markets, especially after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This paper investigates what factors—country-specific macroeconomic fundamentals and/or external variables—have contributed to the surge in external bond issuance by these LICs, which we refer to in our paper as ‘frontier economies’. Using data on public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) external bond issuance, outstanding PPG bond stock, as well as sovereign spreads, we employ panel data analysis to examine factors related to the increase in issuance by these economies as well as the reduction in their spreads over time. Our empirical study shows that both country-specific fundamentals (such as public debt, current account balance, level of reserves, quality of institutions) and external variables (such as US growth and the VIX index) play a role in explaining the increased amount of issuance and the decline in spreads of frontier economies’ sovereign bonds. The impact of some of these variables on issuance appears to reflect a country’s need to issue bonds for external financing (‘the supply side’ of bond issuance), while others appear to correlate more through their impact on investors’ appetite for a country’s debt (‘the demand side’). In addition, the impact of country-specific variables can also be affected by external factors such as global risk appetite. Our analysis of key factors that have contributed to increased market access for frontier economies over the past decade provides important information to gauge the prospects for their continued market access, and for other LICs to join this group by tapping international markets for the first time.
Valentina Flamini, Pierluigi Bologna, Fabio Di Vittorio, and Rasool Zandvakil
Credit is key to support healthy and sustainable economic growth but excess aggregate credit growth can signal the build-up of imbalances and lead to systemic financial crisis. Hence, monitoring the credit cycle is key to identifying vulnerabilities, particularly in emerging markets, which tend to be more exposed to sudden external shocks and reversal in capital flows. We estimate the credit cycle in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic and find that the creadit gap is a powerful predictor of systemic vulnerability in the region. We simulate the activation of the Basel III countercyclical capital buffers and discuss the macroprudential policy implications of the results, arguing that countercyclical macroprudential policies based on the credit gap could prove useful to enhance the resilience of the region’s financial sector but the activation of macroprudential instruments should also be informed by the development of other macrofinancial variables and by expert judgment.
International Monetary Fund
This report examines macroeconomic developments and related vulnerabilities in low-income developing countries (LIDCs)—a group of 60 countries that have markedly different economic features to higher income countries and are eligible for concessional financing from both the IMF and the World Bank. Collectively, they account for about one-fifth of the world’s Population.
Mrs. Kristin Magnusson Bernard
Countries’ absolute and relative international reserves adequacy has recently attracted considerable attention. The analysis has however concentrated on the largest and most advanced economies. We apply various methodologies for assessing reserve adequacy in Central America, taking into account the region’s high degree of deposit dollarization. We find that reserve cover is low both in an absolute and relative sense, suggesting further reserve accumulation is an important policy option for reducing vulnerabilities.
Mr. Arvind Subramanian and Raghuram Rajan
We examine one of the most important and intriguing puzzles in economics: why it is so hard to find a robust effect of aid on the long-term growth of poor countries, even those with good policies. We look for a possible offset to the beneficial effects of aid, using a methodology that exploits both cross-country and within-country variation. We find that aid inflows have systematic adverse effects on a country's competitiveness, as reflected in a decline in the share of labor intensive and tradable industries in the manufacturing sector. We find evidence suggesting that these effects stem from the real exchange rate overvaluation caused by aid inflows. By contrast, private-to-private flows like remittances do not seem to create these adverse effects. We offer an explanation why and conclude with a discussion of the policy implications of these findings.
Mr. Paolo Mauro and Yishay Yafeh
This paper analyzes the Corporation of Foreign Bondholders (CFB), an association of British investors holding bonds issued by foreign governments. The CFB played a key role during the heyday of international bond finance, 1870-1913, and in the aftermath of the defaults of the 1930s. It fostered coordination among creditors, especially in cases of default, arranging successfully for many important debt restructurings, though failing persistently in a few cases. While a revamped creditor association might once again help facilitate creditor coordination, the relative appeal of defection over coordination is greater today than it was in the past. The CFB may have had an easier time than any comparable body would have today.