Financial markets

Marco Di Maggio, Amir Kermani, Zhaogang Song, 26 November 2016

The Global Crisis of 2008 highlighted the role of intertwined financial markets in shaping the transmission of risk and the build-up of fragility throughout the system. This column investigates the role of dealer networks in the corporate bond market. Network relationships appear to act as a buffer in periods of distress, but also accentuate systemic fragility as connections with vulnerable dealers might affect trading outcomes even for sound dealers.

Selim Elekdag, Gaston Gelos, 24 November 2016

The relationship between corporate governance and financial stability has received little attention in the context of emerging markets. Using new firm-level indices of governance in emerging markets, this column shows that both firm-level governance and governance frameworks have generally improved at the country level over recent years. These stronger frameworks have enhanced the resilience of firms to global shocks, and bolstered balance sheets.

Maria Balgova, Alexander Plekhanov, 18 November 2016

The major increase in the volume of non-performing loans as a result of the recent financial crisis was predictable, but the persistence of this bad debt is a cause for concern. Using a sample of 100 countries, this column compares economic outcomes in three different scenarios following a rise in non-performing loans. Reducing these loans has an unambiguously positive medium-term effect, with countries that experience an influx of fresh credit growing the fastest. Allowing high levels of non-performing loans to persist, on the other hand, can cost more than two percentage points of economic growth annually.

José Albuquerque de Sousa, Thorsten Beck, Peter van Bergeijk, Mathijs van Dijk, 17 November 2016

Well-developed and efficient financial markets are important contributors to the economic growth of developing economies. Unfortunately, many low- and middle-income countries lack liquid public capital markets. This column explores the performance of stock exchanges opened since 1975 across a sample of countries. A minimum number of listings and turnover in the first five years appear to be necessary conditions for success over the first two decades. Developing countries considering opening a stock exchange should ensure that there is sufficient interest from firms and investors.

Stephen Cecchetti, Kim Schoenholtz, 15 November 2016

A growing class of mutual funds – those that hold mostly illiquid assets – appear to be a potential source of systemic risk. This column discusses why, and argues that converting open-end mutual funds into exchange-traded funds could mitigate the problem. When markets are liquid, exchange-traded funds operate like open-end mutual funds; but should markets become illiquid, exchange-traded funds then operate like closed-end funds and face no run risk.

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