International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This paper discusses Samoa’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. Samoa has shown resilience to multiple past economic shocks, underpinned by the authorities’ strong commitment to support the economy, and financial assistance provided by the international community. The global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has exacerbated the impact of the measles outbreak of late-2019 on Samoa’s economy. The border closure, combined with a sudden stop of tourist arrivals and decline in remittances, has led to a precipitous fall in two vital sources of foreign earnings and resulted in an urgent balance of payments need. Beyond the immediate response, the authorities will continue to implement structural reforms, with policies appropriately balanced between safeguarding debt sustainability and promoting economic growth. They also need to continue their efforts to enhance spending efficiency, strengthen social protection programs and safety nets, further improve tax administration, strengthen public financial management, and safeguard financial stability. Addressing vulnerability to climate change remains a key medium-term challenge to create a fiscal buffer.
Sonja Davidovic, Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Cormac Sullivan, and Hervé Tourpe
The Bali Fintech Agenda highlights 12 principles for policymakers to consider when formulating their approaches to new financial technology (fintech). The agenda aims to harness the potential of fintech while managing associated risks. This paper looks at how some elements of the Bali Fintech Agenda could be used in Pacific island countries, which face significant financial-structural challenges.
Ms. Elena Loukoianova, Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Si Guo, Ms. Leni Hunter, Mrs. Sarwat Jahan, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Umang Rawat, Johanna Schauer, Piyaporn Sodsriwiboon, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
Asia has made significant progress in financial inclusion, but both its across-country and intra-country disparities are among the highest in the world. The gaps between the rich and the poor, rural and urban populations, and men and women remain deep. Income is the main determinant of the level of financial inclusion; but other factors, such as geography, financial sector structure, and policies, also play important roles. While some countries in the Asia-Pacific region are leaders in fintech, on average the region lags behind others in several important areas such as online (internet) purchases, electronic payments, mobile money, and mobile government transfers.
This Departmental Paper aims to take stock of the development and current state of financial inclusion and shed light on policies to advance financial inclusion in the region. The research focuses on the impact of financial inclusion on economic growth, poverty reduction, and inequality, linkages between financial inclusion and macroeconomic policies, as well as structural policies that are important for improving financial inclusion. Given the increasing importance of financial technologies (fintech), the paper also provides a snapshot of the fintech landscape in the Asia-Pacific.
Ms. Michaela Erbenova, Ms. Yan Liu, Mr. Nadim Kyriakos-Saad, Aledjandro Lopez Mejia, Jose Giancarlo Gasha, Mr. Emmanuel Mathias, Mr. Mohamed Norat, and Ms. Yasmin Almeida
This paper focuses on the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships (CBRs) in some jurisdictions post-global financial crisis. It describes existing evidence and consequences of the withdrawal of CBRs and explores drivers of this phenomenon drawing on recent surveys and select country information. While the withdrawal of CBRs has reached a critical level in some affected countries, which can have a systemic impact if unaddressed, macroeconomic consequences have not been identified so far at a global level. The paper presents responses from the international community to address this phenomenon, and explains the role that the IMF has been playing in this global effort, especially with regards to supporting member countries in the context of surveillance and technical assistance, facilitating dialogue among stakeholders, and encouraging data gathering efforts. The paper concludes by suggesting policy responses by public and private sector stakeholders needed to further mitigate potential negative impacts that could undermine financial stability, inclusion, growth and development goals.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND KEY RECOMMENDATIONS The Samoan financial sector is dominated by commercial banks and Public Financial Institutions (PFIs). The four commercial banks provide almost 60 percent of credit to the economy, and the most important PFIs, the Samoa National Provident Fund, and the Development Bank of Samoa, account for around 30 percent. There is also a small and shrinking offshore banking sector without linkages to the domestic financial sector. Banks are liquid and report high capitalization, but close supervisory attention is required in light of high and rising non-performing loans (NPLs) and the results of the FSAP stress tests.1 Banks are still dealing with the effects from past natural disasters, and assessments of their health are impeded by the significant uncertainty surrounding the quality of balance sheet data, in particular on asset quality and provisioning. High loan concentration and exposure to natural disasters represent significant risks to the financial system. The stress tests illustrate that the local banks are relatively less resilient and could not withstand a severely adverse scenario. Thus, close monitoring, through on-site supervision and asset quality reviews, paired with prompt corrective action and a plan to address NPLs (including in PFIs) as needed, are top priorities. PFIs are particularly vulnerable to shocks due to low asset quality and strong linkages with state owned enterprises. This is largely the result of increased policy lending in response to the extraordinary economic stress from recent natural disasters. Significant stress in PFIs could have significant impact on other financial institutions (FIs) through the effect on the economy, and explicit and implicit government guarantees raise potential fiscal risks. The authorities, therefore, are encouraged to step up oversight of the PFIs, including through enhanced data collection and on-site reviews. Where substantial adjustments are needed, new lending should be restricted. The Central Bank of Samoa (CBS), as the main supervisor and regulator of domestic financial institutions, has made important efforts to strengthen its oversight in recent years. These efforts include conducting on-site inspections, introducing elements of risk-based supervision, expanding staff resources, initiating PFI supervision, submission of a new CBS Act (CBA) to reform governance and safeguards, promoting financial inclusion, and progress on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT). Still, much remains to be done, including improving the quality and coverage of the financial sector data, upgrading legal, regulatory and supervisory frameworks, and building capacity and staff.
This assessment of Financial Sector Supervision and Regulation for Samoa provides an overview of legal and institutional frameworks. Compliance with the Basel Core Principles (BCPs) for the supervision of international and domestic banks has improved considerably. Supervision of domestic banks should be strengthened further through issuance of additional guidance on banks’ risk-taking activities and corporate governance. Consideration should be given to enhancing the operational independence of the Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA) to supervise international banks.
Globalization requires enhanced information flows among financial regulators. Standard-setting bodies for financial sector regulation provide extensive guidance, but financial sector assessments have often found that problems in cooperation and information exchange continue to constrain cross-border supervision and financial integrity oversight. In July 2004, the IMF organized a conference on cross-border cooperation for standard setters, financial intelligence units (FIUs), and financial regulatory agencies. This book brings together conference papers in which participants discuss: information exchange for an effective anti–money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, in terms of both standards and practices; the standards for cooperation in the insurance sector; and the experiences of regulators from banking, securities, and unified regulatory agencies with international cooperation. The book also includes papers providing a general overview of international standards and their implementation and, on the basis of survey results, of practices among financial sector regulators and FIUs.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the reasons for the historically weak performance of Vanuatu. Among the key factors, growth has been hindered by substantial barriers to private sector development. Impediments include political uncertainty, high costs of doing business, poor and costly infrastructure, incomplete secured transactions framework, and weak land and property rights. Although these problems are not uncommon in the Pacific island region, Vanuatu’s progress in these structural reforms has been particularly slow, deterring foreign investment and reducing external competitiveness.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
L’édition web du Bulletin du FMI est mise à jour plusieurs fois par semaine et contient de nombreux articles sur des questions de politique générale et de politique économique d'actualité. Accédez aux dernières recherches du FMI, lisez des interviews et écoutez des podcasts proposés par les principaux économistes du FMI sur des questions importantes de l'économie mondiale. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx