Middle East and Central Asia > Morocco

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Lahcen Bounader and Mohamed Doukali
We test the existence of the balance sheet channel of monetary policy in a middle-income country. Firm-level data scarcity and quality, in such a context, make the identification of this channel a steep challenge. To circumvent this challenge, we use panel instrumental variables estimation with measurement error to analyze the financial statements of 58 500 Moroccan firms over the period 2010-2016. Our analysis confirms the existence of this channel. It shows that monetary policy has a significant impact on small and medium enterprises’ access to banks’ financing, and that firm-specific variables are key determinants of firms’ financing decisions.
Mr. Paul Henri Mathieu, Mr. Marco Pani, Shiyuan Chen, and Mr. Rodolfo Maino
Using data collected from pan-African banks’ (PABs), balance sheets and other sources (Orbis, Fitch), this study identifies some key patterns of cross-border investment in bank subsidiaries by key banking groups in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and discusses some of the determinants of this investment. Using a gravity model relating the annual value of a banking group’s investment in the net equity of its subsidiaries to a set of explanatory variables, the analysis finds that cross-border banking is in part driven by a search for yield, diversification, and expansion for strategic reasons.
Mr. Calixte Ahokpossi, Pilar Garcia Martinez, and Laurent Kemoe
We estimate the latent factors that underlie the dynamics of the sovereign bond yield curve in Morocco during 2004–14 based on the Dynamic Nelson-Siegel model. On this basis, we explore the interaction between macroeconomic variables and the yield curve, which is of direct relevance to macroeconomic policy-making. In Morocco’s context, we find that tighter monetary policy increases short-end maturities, and that the impact is small and short-lived. Economic activity is also briefly but significantly impacted, suggesting that even under a pegged exchange rate, monetary policy autonomy and effectiveness can be increased through greater central bank independence. Fiscal improvements significantly lower yield levels. Policy conclusions are that improvement in the fiscal and monetary policy frameworks, as well as greater financial sector development and inclusion, could benefit Morocco and strengthen the transmission mechanisms and effectiveness of macroeconomic policies.
Mr. Kenji Moriyama
The estimated spillover of the global crisis to emerging market (EM) economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) indicates that nearly two-thirds of the increased financial stress in MENA EM countries after the Lehman shock is attributable to direct or indirect spillovers of financial stress in advanced economies. Moreover, the estimated models suggest that the increased financial stress and slowdown in economic activity in advanced economies can explain about half of the drop in real GDP growth in MENA EM countries after the Lehman shock.
Tarik Yousef and Mr. Hassan Al-Atrash
This paper estimates a gravity model to address the issue of whether intra-Arab trade is too little. Although gravity models have been extensively used to measure bilateral trade among countries, they have—to the best of our knowledge—never been used to measure intra-Arab trade. Our results suggest that intra-Arab trade and Arab trade with the rest of the world are lower than what would be predicted by the gravity equation, suggesting considerable scope for regional—as well as multilateral—integration. The results also suggest that intra-GCC and intra-Maghreb trade are relatively low while the Mashreq countries exhibit a higher level of intragroup trade.