The standards and codes (S&C) initiative was launched in the aftermath of the emerging market crises of the 1990s as part of efforts to strengthen the international financial architecture, with a focus on emerging markets. The initiative has aimed at promoting international standards and codes to improve economic and financial resilience by assisting countries in strengthening their economic institutions and informing World Bank and IMF work. The four previous reviews confirmed a fairly high appreciation of the overall initiative, while also raising questions about the initiative’s link to surveillance and capacity development efforts, weak uptake by market participants, as well as a need to improve traction with policy makers. This review reaffirms the country authorities’ appreciation for S&C work, and its focus and scope are guided by the February 2017 paper.
Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Vladimir Klyuev, and Anuk Serechetapongse
Growth has been sluggish in Pacific island countries (PICs). High cost of credit is likely one of the reasons. While the small scale, geographic dispersion, and vulnerability to shocks increase the cost and risk of credit in this country group, there is considerable variability in interest rate spreads both across countries and over time. This paper examines the determinants of lending rates and interest rate spreads in a panel of six PICs, extending the literature that was largely descriptive in nature or focused on a single country. Our results are in line with economic theory. We find that the size of the economy is negatively correlated with spreads, confirming the importance of scale. Inflation appears to have only marginal impact on spreads. High loan loss provisions and nonperforming loans increase the cost of credit. So does banking system concentration. Higher institutional quality is associated with lower spreads.
In March 2009, the Fund established a new Framework Administered Account to administer external financial resources for selected Fund activities (the "SFA Instrument"). The financing of activities under the terms of the SFA Instrument is implemented through the establishment and operation of subaccounts under the SFA. This paper requests Executive Board approval to establish the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC) subaccount (the "Subaccount") under the terms of the SFA Instrument.
Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, Mr. Damiano Sandri, and Mr. Olivier D Jeanne
This paper uses a dynamic optimization model to estimate the welfare gains of hedging against commodity price risk for commodity-exporting countries. The introduction of hedging instruments such as futures and options enhances domestic welfare through two channels. First, by reducing export income volatility and allowing for a smoother consumption path. Second, by reducing the country's need to hold foreign assets as precautionary savings (or by improving the country's ability to borrow against future export income). Under plausibly calibrated parameters, the second channel may lead to much larger welfare gains, amounting to several percentage points of annual consumption.
This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that following two years of contraction, output growth in Vanuatu recovered beginning in 2003, spurred by stronger performance in construction and a pickup in tourist arrivals. Growth reached 7 percent in 2005 and an estimated 5½ percent in 2006, well above the average for Pacific island countries. The overall external balance has benefited from rising foreign direct investment, aid, and private capital inflows, with reserves increasing to more than 7 months of imports. If good macroeconomic policies continue and political stability is maintained, near-term prospects are positive.
Papua New Guinea’s 2005 Article IV Consultation reports that the economy continues to perform well as the recovery maintains its momentum and the authorities adhere to disciplined fiscal and monetary policies. The central government budget has been estimated to be once more in surplus in 2005, as mining and petroleum revenue remain strong and overall expenditure is kept in check, resulting in a further reduction in public sector debt. Monetary policy has achieved a favorable combination of relatively low interest rates and inflation.
Mr. Armando Méndez Morales and Maria del Mar Cacha
Bank borrowers' currency mismatches often result from unhedged foreign currency borrowing in economies where there is significant dollarization, exposing the financial sector to disguised credit risk. In the absence of standard tools or guidelines to counteract this risk, countries have resorted to outright regulatory limits in cases of moderate dollarization and to undesirable exchange controls in other cases. This paper proposes a "specific-to-group" provision rule based on the effective borrowing cost differential between domestic and foreign currency. Such a rule would help internalize the corresponding risks for banks and their borrowers in line with internationally accepted prudential and accounting standards.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper describes the need to broaden the agenda for poverty reduction. The broadening of the agenda follows from a growing understanding that poverty is more than low income, a lack of education, and poor health. The poor are frequently powerless to influence the social and economic factors that determine their well being. The paper highlights that a broader definition of poverty requires a broader set of actions to fight it and increases the challenge of measuring poverty and comparing achievement across countries and over time.
Capital adequacy regulations or quantity restrictions on bank portfolios put forward by the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision have virtually become an international standard of prudential regulation. Recent proposals aim at extending this approach to market risks, in particular to foreign exchange risk. The present paper provides a critical analysis of proposals to introduce foreign exchange position limits on a uniform cross-country basis, focusing on their effectiveness and their possible impact on the functioning of both mature and developing foreign exchange markets. Theoretical considerations are underpinned in the paper with descriptions of existing or proposed regulations, in a broad range of both industrial and developing countries. Experiences with the use of foreign exchange position limits in developing countries provide insight into their widespread use for other than prudential purposes, in particular to support exchange rate and exchange control policies.