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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department


Near-term global financial stability risks have been contained as an unprecedented policy response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has helped avert a financial meltdown and maintain the flow of credit to the economy. For the first time, many emerging market central banks have launched asset purchase programs to support the smooth functioning of financial markets and the overall economy. But the outlook remains highly uncertain, and vulnerabilities are rising, representing potential headwinds to recovery. The report presents an assessment of the real-financial disconnect, as well as forward-looking analysis of nonfinancial firms, banks, and emerging market capital flows. After the outbreak, firms’ cash flows were adversely affected as economic activity declined sharply. More vulnerable firms—those with weaker solvency and liquidity positions and smaller size—experienced greater financial stress than their peers in the early stages of the crisis. As the crisis unfolds, corporate liquidity pressures may morph into insolvencies, especially if the recovery is delayed. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are more vulnerable than large firms with access to capital markets. Although the global banking system is well capitalized, some banking systems may experience capital shortfalls in an adverse scenario, even with the currently deployed policy measures. The report also assesses the pandemic’s impact on firms’ environmental performance to gauge the extent to which the crisis may result in a reversal of the gains posted in recent years.

Chikako Baba, Mr. Salvatore Dell'Erba, Ms. Enrica Detragiache, Olamide Harrison, Ms. Aiko Mineshima, Anvar Musayev, and Asghar Shahmoradi
Assessing when credit is excessive is important to understand macro-financial vulnerabilities and guide macroprudential policy. The Basel Credit Gap (BCG) – the deviation of the credit-to-GDP ratio from its long-term trend estimated with a one-sided Hodrick-Prescott (HP) filter—is the indicator preferred by the Basel Committee because of its good performance as an early warning of banking crises. However, for a number of European countries this indicator implausibly suggests that credit should go back to its level at the peak of the boom after the credit cycle turns, resulting in large negative gaps that might delay the activation of macroprudential policies. We explore two different approaches—a multivariate filter based on economic theory and a fundamentals-based panel regression. Each approach has pros and cons, but they both provide a useful complement to the BCG in assessing macro-financial vulnerabilities in Europe.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note on Cooperative Banks and Credit Unions for the Republic of Poland reviews the cooperative bank and credit union sectors. It focuses on: the situation of the two sectors that are both in states of transition; the regulatory and supervisory arrangements; and the safety net and resolution regime within the context of the crisis management framework. In addition, key perspectives are provided as to the sustainability of institutional models and the sectors within a modernizing and competitive banking sector. Most cooperative banks and credit unions are found to be stable; however, each sector has its own issues. The Financial Sector Assessment Program is broadly supportive of the policy direction for cooperatives, while it questions whether the credit union sector should remain standalone. The two existing Institutional Protection Schemes and their affiliating banks need to be strengthened to ensure sustainability. Policymakers are thus advised to decide whether a standalone credit union sector remains appropriate and, if not, define a strategy to transition viable credit unions to become or consolidate with banks.
Torsten Wezel
This paper discusses issues in calibrating the countercyclical capital buffer (CCB) based on a sample of EU countries. It argues that the main indicator for buffer decisions under the Basel III framework, the credit-to-GDP gap, does not always work best in terms of covering bank loan losses that go beyond what could be expected from economic downturns. Instead, in the case of countries with short financial cycles and/or low financial deepening such as transition and developing economies, the Basel gap is shown to work best when computed with a low, smoothing factor and adjusted for the degree of financial deepening. The paper also analyzes issues in calibrating an appropriate size of the CCB and, using a loss function approach, points to a tradeoff between stability of the buffer size and cost efficiency considerations.
Mr. Tigran Poghosyan
This paper assesses the effectiveness of lending restriction measures, such as loan-to-value and debt-service-to-income ratios, in affecting developments in house prices and credit. We use data on 99 lending standard restrictions implemented in 28 EU countries over 1990–2018. The results suggest that lending restriction measures are generally effective in curbing house prices and credit. However, the impact is delayed and reaches its peak only after three years. In addition, the impact is asymmetric, with tightening measures having weaker association with target variables compared to loosening measures. The association is stronger in countries outside of euro area and for legally-binding measures and measures involving sanctions. The results have practical implications for macroprudential authorities.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept.
The Fund’s total net income for FY 2018 is projected at about SDR 0.7 billion, broadly in line with the April 2017 estimate. The projections for total lending income are broadly unchanged. Most sources of lending income are lower, reflecting a lower level of credit outstanding as a result of advance repurchases and delayed disbursements. However, projected commitment fee income is higher following the early cancellation of a large FCL arrangement in November 2017. The paper recommends that GRA net income of SDR 0.7 billion for FY 2018 (excluding projected income of the gold sales profits-funded Endowment Subaccount) be placed to the special and general reserve. After the placement of GRA FY 2018 net income to reserves, precautionary balances are projected to reach SDR 17.4 billion at the end of FY 2018. The paper further proposes to transfer currencies equivalent to the increase in the Fund’s reserves from the GRA to the Investment Account. The paper also revisits options for the allocation of net income between the special and general reserve, and proposes that net income be allocated equally between the special and general reserve. In line with the recent Board discussion of a framework for guiding future payouts from the Endowment Subaccount, the paper presents a detailed proposal, which includes delaying payouts for three years to protect the real value of the Endowment. The paper also recommends that the margin for the rate of charge for the period FY 2019–2020 be kept unchanged at 100 basis points. The margin will again be set under the exceptional circumstances clause, as non-lending income continues to be constrained by the low interest rate environment and lending income will be used to finance a portion of the Fund’s non-lending activities. The projections for FY 2019 and FY 2020 point to a net income position of SDR 0.4 billion and SDR 1 billion, respectively. These projections are subject to considerable uncertainty and are sensitive to a number of assumptions.