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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused dramatic loss of human life and major damage to the European economy, but thanks to an exceptionally strong policy response, potentially devastating outcomes have been avoided.

International Monetary Fund
Capital flows can deliver substantial benefits for countries, but also have the potential to contribute to a buildup of systemic financial risk. Benefits, such as enhanced investment and consumption smoothing, tend to be greater for countries whose financial and institutional development enables them to intermediate capital flows safely. Post-crisis reforms, including the development of macroprudential policies (MPPs), are helping to strengthen the resilience of financial systems including to shocks from capital flows. The Basel III process has improved the quality and level of capital, reduced leverage, and increased liquid asset holdings in financial systems. Drawing on and complementing such international reforms at the national level, robust macroprudential policy frameworks focused on mitigating systemic risk can improve the capacity of a financial system to safely intermediate cross-border flows. Macroprudential frameworks can play an important role over the capital flow cycle, and help members harness the benefits of capital flows. Introducing macroprudential measures (MPMs) preemptively can increase the resilience of the financial system to aggregate shocks, including those arising from capital inflows, and can contain the build-up of systemic vulnerabilities over time, even when such measures are not designed to limit capital flows. While the risks from capital outflows should be handled primarily by macroeconomic policies, a relaxation of MPMs may assist, as long as buffers are in place, in countering financial stresses from outflows. Capital flow liberalization should be supported by broad efforts to strengthen prudential regulation and supervision, including macroprudential policy frameworks. The Fund has two frameworks to help ensure that its advice on MPPs and policies related to capital flows is consistent and tailored to country circumstances. The frameworks (the Macroprudential framework and the Institutional View on capital flows) are consistent in terms of key principles, including avoiding using MPMs and capital flow management measures (CFMs) as a substitute for necessary macroeconomic adjustment. The appropriate classification of measures is important to ensure targeted advice consistent with the two frameworks. The conceptual framework for the assessment of measures laid out in this paper will assist staff in properly identifying MPMs and measures that are designed to limit capital flows and to reduce systemic financial risk stemming from such flows (CFM/MPMs), and thereby ensure the appropriate application of the Fund’s frameworks, so that staff policy advice is consistent and well targeted. The Fund will continue to develop and share expertise in using MPMs, and integrate these findings into its surveillance and technical assistance, which should contribute to building international understanding and experience on these issues.
Mr. Jerome Vandenbussche, Ms. Ursula Vogel, and Ms. Enrica Detragiache
Several countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe used a rich set of prudential instruments in response to last decade’s credit and housing boom and bust cycles. We collect detailed information on these policy measures in a comprehensive database covering 16 countries at a quarterly frequency. We use this database to investigate whether the policy measures had an impact on housing price inflation. Our evidence suggests that some—but not all—measures did have an impact. These measures were changes in the minimum CAR and non-standard liquidity measures (marginal reserve requirements on foreign funding, marginal reserve requirements linked to credit growth).
Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, and Mr. Carlo Cottarelli
Following a period of privatization and restructuring, commercial banks in Central and Eastern Europe and, more recently, in the Balkans have rapidly expanded their lending to the private sector. This paper describes the causes of this expansion, assesses future trends, and evaluates its policy implications. It concludes that bank credit to the private sector is likely to continue rising faster than GDP in the next few years throughout the region, picking up also in countries where so far it has been stalled. Although this growth should be regarded as a structural and positive development, policymakers will have to evaluate carefully its implications for macroeconomic developments and financial stability.
Mr. David A. Grigorian and Mr. Vlad Manole
Banking sectors in transition economies have experienced major transformations throughout the 1990s. While some countries have been successful in eliminating underlying distortions and restructuring their financial sectors, in some cases financial sectors remain underdeveloped and the rates of financial intermediation continue to be low. We estimate indicators of commercial bank efficiency by applying a version of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to bank-level data from a wide range of transition countries. In addition to stressing the importance of some bank-specific variables, the censored Tobit analysis suggests that (1) foreign ownership with controlling power and enterprise restructuring enhances commercial bank efficiency; (2) the effects of prudential tightening on the efficiency of banks vary across different prudential norms; and (3) consolidation is likely to improve the efficiency of banking operations. Overall, the results confirm the usefulness of DEA for transition-related applications and shed some light on the question of the optimal architecture of a banking system.
Mrs. Poonam Gupta, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt, and Ms. Enrica Detragiache
Using aggregate and bank level data for several countries, the paper studies what happens to the banking system in the aftermath of a banking crisis. Contemporary crises are not accompanied by declines in aggregate bank deposits, and credit does not fall relative to output, although the growth of both deposits and credit slows down substantially. Output recovery begins in the second year after the crisis and is not led by a resumption in credit growth. Banks, including the stronger ones, reallocate their asset portfolio away from loans.