Mr. Geoffrey J Bannister, Mr. Jarkko Turunen, and Malin Gardberg
Despite significant strides in financial development over the past decades, financial dollarization, as reflected in elevated shares of foreign currency deposits and credit in the banking system, remains common in developing economies. We study the impact of financial dollarization, differentiating across foreign currency deposits and credit on financial depth, access and efficiency for a large sample of emerging market and developing countries over the past two decades. Panel regressions estimated using system GMM show that deposit dollarization has a negative impact on financial deepening on average. This negative impact is dampened in cases with past periods of high inflation. There is also some evidence that dollarization hampers financial efficiency. The results suggest that policy efforts to reduce dollarization can spur faster and safer financial development.
Mr. Roberto Garcia-Saltos, Fan Zhang, and Iulia Ruxandra Teodoru
This paper presents estimates of potential output for all Central American economies. Our findings are that potential output growth has declined in recent years in most economies of Central America. Lower capital accumulation and TFP growth are accounting for most of this decline. Apart from Costa Rica, there are no indications of significant economic slack in 2015 in Central America. Looking forward, potential growth in most Central American economies is expected to continue at an average of 4 percent in the medium-term due to structural constraints to capital and employment growth, and low TFP growth. Increasing potential growth, thus, should be a policy priority and structural reforms must be directed at improving business conditions, product and labor markets, and enhancing the capacity for innovation.
Mr. Alejandro Carrion-Menendez and Ms. Florencia Frantischek
Several Central American (CADR) countries with independent monetary policies are strengthening their monetary frameworks and some have implemented or are moving towards inflation targeting (IT) regimes. Strengthening the monetary policy frameworks of CADR is key to improving the effectiveness of monetary policy. The paper reviews the literature on the reforms needed for strengthening the monetary policy frameworks, and examines the experiences of IT countries, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay to help distill lessons for CADR. It also constructs an index to measure the relative strength of the monetary policy framework of CADR countries.
The paper focuses on the operational implications of high and volatile aid for the design of Fund-supported programs. It provides a conceptual framework that should guide country teams in giving advice to low-income countries on a case-by-case basis, without specific quantitative performance thresholds for the spending and absorption of additional aid. In doing so, it responds to some of the concerns raised by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) in its recent evaluation of the Fund and aid to sub-Saharan Africa
This paper addresses the question of why inflation has not yet converged to price stability in Central America and the Dominican Republic and is currently relatively high by Latin American standards. It suggests that despite the institutional strengthening of monetary policy, important flaws remain in most central banks, in particular a lack of a clear policy mandate and little political autonomy, which are adversely affecting the consistency of policy implementation. Empirical analysis reveals that all central banks raise interest rates to curtail inflation but only some of them increase it sufficiently to effectively tackle inflation pressures. It also shows that some central banks care simultaneously about exchange rate stability. The potential policy conflict arising from a dual central bank mandate and the unpredictable policy response is probably undermining markets' confidence in central banks' commitment to price stability, thereby perpetuating an inflation bias.
This paper discusses Nicaragua’s 2005 Article IV Consultation and Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Reviews Under the Three Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). The economy continued to perform well, notwithstanding pressure from higher oil prices. Strong performance under the program in 2003–04 allowed Nicaragua to reach the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries completion point in January 2004. Since then, growth has moderated toward 4.1 percent y/y in 2005. Key medium-term challenges include addressing vulnerabilities arising from weak balance sheets, reflected in high levels of debt and dollarization.
Nicaragua’s report on the Observance of Standards and Codes examines Data Module, response by the authorities, and detailed assessments using the data quality assessment framework. The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit provides an institutional environment for compiling budgetary transactions data but not for compiling statistics for general government and/or nonfinancial public enterprises. The environment fosters good arrangements for data sharing among agencies involved in government finance statistics compilation and dissemination.
We examine the deep determinants of long-run macroeconomic stability in a cross-country framework. We find that conflict, openness, and democratic political institutions have a strong and statistically significant causal impact on macroeconomic stability. Surprisingly the most robust relationship of the three is for democratic institutions. A one standard deviation increase in democracy can reduce nominal instability nearly fourfold. This impact is robust to alternative measures of democracy, samples, covariates, and definitions of conflict. It is particularly noteworthy that a variety of nominal pathologies discussed in the recent macroeconomic literature, such as procyclical policy, original sin, and debt intolerance, have common origins in weak democratic institutions. We also find evidence that democratic institutions both strongly influence monetary policy and have a strong, independent positive effect on stability after controlling for various policy variables.
Mr. David John Goldsbrough, Mrs. Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Mr. Martin D Kaufman, Mr. Daouda Sembene, Mr. Tsidi M Tsikata, Mr. Steve K Mugerwa, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Mr. Jeff Chelsky
In 1999, the IMF and the World Bank adopted a new frame work for supporting economic reform in low-income member countries to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction and economic growth. The frame work consists of two key elements: country-authored Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, drawing on broad-based consultations with key stake holder groups; and a vehicle for the provision of IMF concessional lending, the Poverty Reduction andGrowth Facility. This evaluation takes stock of progress to date and attempts to identify short comings that may require course corrections in the design and implementation of the initiative.
The draft 2004 budget passed by the assembly is consistent with the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). Achieving the programmed strengthening of the tax effort remains a challenge. On the expenditure side, the aim is to improve the anti-poverty and pro-growth orientation of public spending. The operating surplus of state enterprises is improved in 2004. The stance of monetary policy is appropriate, as evidenced by the continued achievement of the program objectives for Net International Reserves (NIR) and inflation (in the context of the crawling peg regime).