5,859 research outputs found

    Coping with too much of a good thing : policy responses for large capital inflows in developing countries

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    In discussing the causes and consequences of large capital inflows to developing countries, the author emphasizes two things. First, although there are legitimate grounds for an optimistic long-term outlook on private capital flows to developing countries, there is little to suggest that the volatility of capital flows will end. In designing policy strategies to accommodate this volatility, a premium should be put on credibility, resilience, and flexibility. Second, country differences notwithstanding, host countries need to respect the basics of adjustment and finance in designing their policy response to large inflows. Host countries that want to keep using the nominal exchange rate as their key nominal anchor and that do not want to accept much appreciation in their real exchange rate must be prepared to tighten fiscal policy. This is the most reliable way to reduce aggregate demand, keep inflation in check, and limit deterioration of the current account. Regarding sterilization policy, domestic interest rates will be higher and the size of the inflow will be larger with sterilization than without it. Not that sterilization necessarily need be avoided; in the early stages of inflow, it can help moderate or even offset the induced expansion of domestic credit. But with high capital mobility, sterilization becomes more expensive and less effective the longer it is used. Effective regulation and supervision are important in ensuring the best use of large inflows of foreign resources. It makes a big difference, for example, if banks use their higher reserves to lend for productive investment and human capital formation than if they use them to fund speculative activities that eventually translate into nonperforming loans (and perhaps a large public sector liability as well). Careful assessment of credit risk and of maturity mismatches are essential if banks are to help the private sector earn a rate of return greater than the cost of capital. Similarly, good disclosure and accounting standards are essential for accurate pricing of risk in both banking and securities markets. These and similar measures are worth implementing even without large capital inflows. Beyond dealing with surges in capital inflows, host countries must decide the optimal speed at which they wish to move toward full capital account liberalization.Banks&Banking Reform,Economic Theory&Research,International Terrorism&Counterterrorism,Payment Systems&Infrastructure,Fiscal&Monetary Policy,Economic Theory&Research,Banks&Banking Reform,Macroeconomic Management,Environmental Economics&Policies,International Terrorism&Counterterrorism

    Debt Sustainability, Brazil, and the IMF

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    Those who have watched financial crises in emerging economies over the past two years would have noticed two things. First, there has been a high concentration of financial crises in Latin America. Second, debt problems have been at the heart of several recent crises, including the prominent ones in Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, and Uruguay. This paper discusses issues of debt sustainability in emerging economies. After providing in section II a brief account of the hard times that have recently fallen on Latin America, Goldstein presents in section III a few summary debt statistics for several recent crisis economies. Section IV draws attention to a group of pitfalls in the standard framework for assessing government debt sustainability in emerging economies. Section V examines the factors influencing near-term debt dynamics in Brazil. After outlining several positive features of the Brazilian economy that did not exist in Argentina on the eve of the latter's recent crisis, he lays out the arguments for expecting that economic growth in Brazil this year will be slow (only slightly above 1 percent), that the real interest rate on the public debt will be relatively high (about 10-1/2 percent), and that the government is unlikely to deliver a primary surplus in the budget much beyond 4 percent of GDP. Despite the good start made by the new Lula government, the author maintains that the debt situation remains precarious; he argues that the Brazilian authorities should aim for a primary surplus, particularly when the global economy is heading into a period with increased downside risk. He also explains why Brazil's central bank should be granted (de jure) operational independence as soon as possible and why maximum efforts should be made to negotiate trade arrangements that increase Brazil's low level of trade openness. If the recent market rally fizzles and interest rates, capital flows, and the exchange rate again take a significant adverse turn, serious consideration ought to be given to doing a major debt restructuring with the cooperation and support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Finally, in section VI, Goldstein draws some implications of these debt issues for the policies of the IMF and of its major shareholders (the G-7 countries). He concludes that IMF surveillance needs to pay much greater attention than it has in the past to the build-up of vulnerable domestic and external debt positions in emerging economies, that the Fund has to adopt a tougher position in making debt sustainability a key condition for IMF lending, and that there would be an important role for IMF financing in easing the adjustment costs of a necessary debt restructuring.Brazil, Latin America, Argentina, Turkey, Debt, Financial Crises, Restructuring

    Confronting Asset Bubbles, Too Big to Fail, and Beggar-thy-Neighbor Exchange Rate Policies

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    The global financial crisis presents an opportunity--for the first time in many years--for wholesale reform of the international financial and monetary system. The root causes of the crisis, says Goldstein, can be found in both the financial and monetary spheres and so reforms must be prescribed for both. On the financial side, he emphasizes two problems: pricking asset price bubbles before they get too large and confronting "too big to fail" financial institutions. On the monetary side, he concentrates on what can be done to induce large, surplus economies to abandon now--and avoid in the future--beggar-thy-neighbor exchange rate policies. Central banks and regulatory authorities need to try much harder to identify bubbles before they get too large and consider a better bubble-busting tool kit, which would include some combination of instruments such as regulatory capital and regulatory liquidity requirements, margin requirements, loan-to-value ratios on residential and commercial mortgages, and lending standards. To confront "too-big-to fail," if higher capital requirements for larger financial institutions are not enough, Goldstein prescribes taking together four policy measures: requiring all systemically important institutions to have wind-down plans that would prevent unacceptable spillovers; ensuring that special resolution authority exists for all systemically important financial institutions; designing resolution authority in a way that supports market discipline; and imposing explicit size limits on systemically important financial institutions relative to GDP. Goldstein then draws attention to China's highly significant case of beggar-thy-neighbor exchange rate policy and the International Monetary Fund's abysmal surveillance of the problem. He recommends that the Fund become far tougher on errant countries than it is now. The Fund's engagement with members who have emerging exchange rate problems should be made less subject to politicization and long delays. There needs to be a workable framework for the Fund's exchange rate surveillance that is capable of sending the message that the Fund views the country's exchange rate policy not only as ill-advised but also as being inconsistent with the country's obligations as a member of the Fund and, hence, that the policy has to be changed. Finally, there needs to be a workable, graduated set of penalties for countries that refuse persistently to honor their international obligations on exchange rate policy.

    A (Lack of) Progress Report on China's Exchange Rate Policies

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    This working paper assesses the progress made in improving China’s exchange rate policies over the past five years (that is, since 2002). I first discuss four indicators of progress on China’s external imbalance and its exchange rate policies—namely, the change in (and level of) China’s global current account position, movements in the real effective exchange rate of the renminbi (RMB), the role of market forces in the determination of the RMB, and China’s compliance with its obligations on exchange rate policy as a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I then discuss why the lack of progress in improving China’s exchange rate policies matters for the economies of the China and the United States and for the international monetary and trading system. I also argue that several popular arguments and excuses for why more cannot be accomplished on removing the large undervaluation of the RMB are unpersuasive. Finally, I consider what can and should be done by China, the United States, and the IMF to accelerate progress over the next year or two.exchange rate, current account adjustment, China, IMF

    Integrating Reform of Financial Regulation with Reform of the International Monetary System

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    This paper links reform of the international financial regulatory system with reform of the international monetary system because as this recent global crisis demonstrates so vividly, the root causes can come from both the financial and monetary spheres and they can interact in a variety of dangerous ways. On the financial regulatory side, I highlight three problems: developing a better tool kit for pricking asset-price bubbles before they get too large; shooting for national minima for regulatory bank capital that are at least twice as high as those recently agreed to as part of Basel III; and implementing a comprehensive approach to "too-big-to-fail" financial institutions that will rein-in their past excessive risktaking. On the international monetary side, I emphasize what needs to be done to discourage "beggar-thy-neighbor" exchange rate policies, including agreeing on a graduated set of penalties for countries that refuse persistently to honor their international obligations on exchange rate policy.financial regulation, IMF surveillance, too-big-to-fail, asset-price bubbles

    Managed Floating Plus

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    In this analysis Morris Goldstein examines currency regime choices for emerging economies that are heavily involved with private capital markets. The author argues that the best regime choice for such economies would be managed floating plus, where "plus" is shorthand for a framework that includes inflation targeting and aggressive measures to discourage currency mismatching. Goldstein argues that if managed floating were enhanced in this way, it would retain the desirable features of a flexible rate regime while addressing the nominal anchor and balance-sheet problems that have historically underpinned a "fear of floating" and handicapped the performance of managed floating in emerging economies. The author also shows why managed floating plus is superior to four alternative currency-regime options--an adjustable peg system, a "BBC (basket, band, crawl) regime," a currency board, and dollarization.

    Strengthening the International Financial Architecture: Where Do We Stand?

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    It's not easy to get senior economic officials worked up about the functioning of the international monetary system. Usually, they are preoccupied with the more immediate issues surrounding the national and global economic outlook. But the Mexican peso crisis of 1994-95 and, even more so, the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 made crisis management important for the economic outlook and pushed many of the otherwise arcane issues in the so-called "international financial architecture" (hereafter, IFA) to the front burner of economic policy.international financial architecture

    Adjusting China's Exchange Rate Policies

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    In this paper the author argues that China's exchange rate policy is seriously flawed given its current macroeconomic circumstances and its longer-term policy objectives. The main conclusions are the following: (i) the RMB is significantly under-valued; (ii) China has been "manipulating" its currency, contrary to the IMF rules of the game; (iii) it is in China's own interest, as well as in the interest of the international community, for China to initiate an appreciation of the RMB soon; and (iv) China should neither stand pat with its existing currency regime nor opt for a freely floating RMB and completely open capital markets. Instead, China should undertake a "two step" currency reform. Step one would involve a switch from a unitary peg to the US dollar to a basket peg, a 15-25 percent appreciation of the RMB, and wider margins around the new peg. Existing controls on China's capital outflows would be either maintained or liberalized only marginally, at least in the short run. Step two, to be implemented later when China's banking system is considerably stronger than it is today, would involve a transition to a "managed float," along with a significant liberalization of China's capital outflows.RMB, China, Exchange rate policies

    The Case for an Orderly Resolution Regime for Systemically-Important Financial Institutions

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    Outlines the need to give the government authority to resolve a financial institution if its failure poses serious systemic risks, examines concerns and counterproposals, and offers recommendations and considerations for designing such a system

    Too Big to Fail: The Transatlantic Debate

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    Although the United States and the European Union were both seriously impacted by the financial crisis of 2007, resulting policy debates and regulatory responses have differed considerably on the two sides of the Atlantic. In this paper the authors examine the debates on the problem posed by “too big to fail” financial institutions. They identify variations in historical experiences, financial system structures, and political institutions that help one understand the differences of approaches between the United States, EU member states, and the EU institutions in addressing this problem. The authors then turn to possible remedies and how they may be differentially implemented in America and Europe. They conclude on which policy developments are likely in the near future.banks, comparative political economy, financial regulation, microprudential policy, too-big-to-fail
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