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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note evaluates the macroprudential policy framework in Singapore with a focus on the price effect of macroprudential instruments. It assesses the domestic institutional arrangement, systemic risk monitoring framework, and macroprudential policy toolkit. The note assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the institutional arrangements for macroprudential policymaking and provides recommendations on how to enhance them further. It also describes the existing systemic risk monitoring framework and provides options to strengthen it. The use of macroprudential instruments in recent years and their effects on residential prices have also been discussed. The institutional framework for macroprudential policymaking has been revised and contains a clear mandate and well-defined objectives. The macroprudential mandate is assigned to dedicated committees within Monetary Authority of Singapore, limiting risk of dual mandates for the central bank. The authorities have taken important steps in recent years to develop the macroprudential policy framework and address relevant recommendations.
Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad, Mr. Selim A Elekdag, Mr. Phakawa Jeasakul, Romain Lafarguette, Mr. Adrian Alter, Alan Xiaochen Feng, and Changchun Wang
The growth-at-risk (GaR) framework links current macrofinancial conditions to the distribution of future growth. Its main strength is its ability to assess the entire distribution of future GDP growth (in contrast to point forecasts), quantify macrofinancial risks in terms of growth, and monitor the evolution of risks to economic activity over time. By using GaR analysis, policymakers can quantify the likelihood of risk scenarios, which would serve as a basis for preemptive action. This paper offers practical guidance on how to conduct GaR analysis and draws lessons from country case studies. It also discusses an Excel-based GaR tool developed to support the IMF’s bilateral surveillance efforts.
Mr. Adrian Alter and Jane Dokko
We examine the relationship between house price synchronicity and global financial conditions across 40 countries and about 70 cities over the past three decades. The role played by cross-border banking flows in residential property markets is examined as well. Looser global financial conditions are associated with greater house price synchronicity, even after controlling for bilateral financial integration. Moreover, we find that synchronicity across major cities may differ from that of their respective countries’, perhaps due to the influence of global investors on local house price dynamics. Policy choices such as macroprudential tools and exchange rate flexibility appear to be relevant for mitigating the sensitivity of domestic housing markets to the rest of the world.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper focuses on gaps and multiplier effects of infrastructure investment in New Zealand. There has been high quality work done to quantify the infrastructure gap for New Zealand by Oxford Economics on behalf of the Global Infrastructure Hub, drawing on international experiences and local data sources, but recognizing the risk that the infrastructure gap may be even larger than that stated in this work. This paper provides further analysis about the effects on New Zealand’s economy of closing the infrastructure gap. Closing the gap has quantifiable benefits, not just because it is a short-term stimulus to aggregate demand, but because of longer-lived effects on productivity, benefiting all sectors of the economy. There are prospective gains from closing New Zealand’s infrastructure gap. New Zealand has improved its infrastructure spending in the past several years. Nonetheless, there is scope to expand it further, to reduce its (admittedly small, but probably understated) infrastructure gap to match other advanced economies, and possibly help with regional development concerns.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper outlines that the banking sector remains healthy, backed by high capital, liquidity, provisioning and profitability ratios. Sector-wide nonperforming loans (NPLs) have increased slightly (to 2 percent in 2017:Q1), due largely to stresses in the Oil and Gas (O&G) services sector. Banks have responded by increasing provisions (using forward-looking measures of impairment) and restructuring their loans. Overall, the banking sector is well-positioned to withstand shocks. Capital and liquidity positions are sufficiently strong and well above regulatory requirements. Capital and liquidity positions of the local banking groups remain strong. Liquidity coverage ratios (LCR) of all three major banks remained high and rose in 2016:Q4, remaining well above the regulatory limits. The turnaround in bank’s profitability (especially the strong performance in 2017:Q1) is attributed to two factors: an acceleration in credit growth and increases in fee income from wealth management services. Local banks have been a key factor behind the wealth management sector’s growth and its main beneficiary.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper describes the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) that will be allocated Can$35 billion over an 11-year period. It will add to, and not replace, existing methods of financing public infrastructure at all levels of government, including the Federal Government’s Can$187 billion Investing in Canada plan covering 12 years. The CIB will be a wholly government-owned Crown corporation, subject to provisions of the Financial Administration Act (FAA), including the requirement to prepare a corporate plan, operating budget, and capital budget, for approval by the Government. The CIB and its investments will be on the federal government’s balance sheet. However, the infrastructure-related special purpose vehicles (SPVs) in which the CIB invests will not be on the government’s balance sheet. Attracting private capital requires offering a rate of return acceptable to the investor. Worldwide, there are trillions of dollars looking for safe returns over the long-term. The risk-adjusted rate of return sufficient to attract an investor is not known with precision ex-ante. Investors will seek the highest rate of return possible above its minimum threshold.
Mr. Maurice Obstfeld, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, and Miss Mahvash S Qureshi
This paper examines the claim that exchange rate regimes are of little salience in the transmission of global financial conditions to domestic financial and macroeconomic conditions by focusing on a sample of about 40 emerging market countries over 1986–2013. Our findings show that exchange rate regimes do matter. Countries with fixed exchange rate regimes are more likely to experience financial vulnerabilities—faster domestic credit and house price growth, and increases in bank leverage—than those with relatively flexible regimes. The transmission of global financial shocks is likewise magnified under fixed exchange rate regimes relative to more flexible (though not necessarily fully flexible) regimes. We attribute this to both reduced monetary policy autonomy and a greater sensitivity of capital flows to changes in global conditions under fixed rate regimes.
International Monetary Fund
Risks to macroeconomic stability posed by excessive private leverage are significantly amplified by tax distortions. ‘Debt bias’ (tax provisions favoring finance by debt rather than equity) has increased leverage in both the household and corporate sectors, and is now widely recognized as a significant macroeconomic concern. This paper presents new evidence of the extent of debt bias, including estimates for banks and non-bank financial institutions both before and after the global financial crisis. It presents policy options to alleviate debt bias, and assesses their effectiveness. The paper finds that thin capitalization rules restricting interest deductibility have only partially been able to address debt bias, but that an allowance for corporate equity has generally proved effective. The paper concludes that debt bias should feature prominently in countries’ tax reform plans in the coming years.
Mr. Salim M. Darbar and Mr. Xiaoyong Wu
This paper presents case studies of macroprudential policy in five jurisdictions (Hong Kong SAR, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, and Sweden). The case studies describe the institutional framework, its evolution, the use of macroprudential tools, and the circumstances under which the tools have been used. The paper shows how macroprudential policy is conducted under a heterogeneous set of institutional frameworks. In all cases macroprudential tools have been used to address risks in the housing market. In addition, some of them have moved to enhance the resilience of their banks to more general cyclical and structural risks.