Effective liquidity management is important to promote macro-financial stability in the GCC countries. Fixed exchange rate regimes provide credible nominal anchors in the GCC countries, but combined with open capital accounts, they also entail limited monetary policy independence. At the same time, high dependence on hydrocarbon revenue has made the region vulnerable to oil price-driven liquidity swings. And the latter can affect monetary policy implementation, including by exacerbating credit and asset price cycles. This highlights the importance of frameworks aimed at forecasting liquidity and ensuring appropriate liquidity levels through the timely absorption or injection of liquidity by central banks. Over the past decade, liquidity management in the GCC countries has been based mainly on passive instruments. Abundant liquidity during times of high oil prices have placed liquidity absorption at the center of the central bank operations. Reserve requirements have helped absorb liquidity but have not been used very actively. Standing facilities, another key instrument, are more passive in nature, with the amount of liquidity absorbed or injected driven by banks rather than monetary authorities. Central banks bills or other instruments have also been used, but issuance has not systematically been based on market principles. In addition, these operations have been constrained by limited liquidity forecasting capability and the shallow nature of interbank and domestic debt markets.
Ms. May Y Khamis, Mr. Abdelhak S Senhadji, Mr. Gabriel Sensenbrenner, Mr. Francis Y Kumah, Maher Hasan, and Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad
This paper focuses on impact of the global financial crisis on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries and challenges ahead. The oil price boom led to large fiscal and external balance surpluses in the GCC countries. However, it also generated domestic imbalances that began to unravel with the onset of the global credit squeeze. As the global deleveraging process took hold, and oil prices and production fell, the GCC’s external and fiscal surpluses declined markedly, stock and real estate markets plunged, credit default swap spreads on sovereign debt widened, and external funding for the financial and corporate sectors tightened. In order to offset the shocks brought on by the crisis, governments—buttressed by strong international reserve positions—maintained high levels of spending and introduced exceptional financial measures, including capital and liquidity injections. The immediate priority is to complete the clean-up of bank balance sheets and the restructuring of the nonbanking sector in some countries. Clear communication by the authorities would help implementation, ease investor uncertainty, and reduce speculation and market volatility.