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China: Uneasy Way to the “New Normal” May 1, 2015 - 11:47am

A rapidly slowing economy has prompted the government to reinforce policy easing using monetary, fiscal and administrative measures. Further broad-based easing is expected to head off a hard landing. Meanwhile, the pace of financial reforms is expected to accelerate in 2015. The priority is being given to further capital account opening, combined with significant steps towards full interest rate liberalization and introduction of deposit insurance. A gradual depreciation of the RMB is still our central scenario, but a more pronounced adjustment cannot be ruled out.

Executive Program on Insurance Capital and Risk Management May 4, 2015 - 2:06pm

A strategic analysis of the assessment and management of insurance capital and risks.

Preparing for Key Life Insurance Sector Developments - Toronto May 4, 2015 - 2:01pm

The life insurance sector is facing a range of potentially challenging dynamics; developing strategies to mitigate risks and maximize growth potential will be essential.

Emerging Market Bank Lending Conditions Tighten Sharply in 2015Q1 May 1, 2015 - 12:17pm

Bank lending conditions in emerging economies tightened abruptly to their weakest level in three years in 2015Q1, according to the latest Emerging Markets Bank Lending Conditions Survey from the Institute of International Finance.

“The sharp tightening of EM bank lending conditions is further evidence that emerging market economies are struggling,” said Charles Collyns, chief economist at the IIF. “In addition to a demand slowdown, supply conditions continued to deteriorate. Banks reported a continued tightening in funding conditions, likely reflecting the cautious tone in EM financial markets, at least until the March FOMC meeting”.

CHINA: Database Summary May 1, 2015 - 11:35am
CHINA: Full Economic Database May 1, 2015 - 11:34am
Weekly Insight: Central Bank Rumba April 30, 2015 - 8:34pm

* Dollar weakens further as markets reassess positions
* Monetary policy—certainly not boring!
* IIF Emerging Market Bank Lending Survey
* Thailand: another step down
* U.S.—weak growth but tighter labor markets
* UK elections—get ready for a hung parliament

Croatia: Eastern Europe’s Most Elusive Recovery April 30, 2015 - 4:50pm

Hampered by a large state-owned sector and slow pace of reforms, Croatia has struggled to regain real GDP growth since 2009. Last year marked the sixth consecutive year of recession, the deepest and most protracted in the region and second only to Greece among EU members. The recession has contributed to large and persistent fiscal deficits, with rapidly rising debt increasing the economy’s vulnerability to external shocks. Determined and fast implementation of sweeping structural reforms is necessary to stave off a potential debt crisis and reboot the ailing economy.

BCBS Guidelines: Guidance on Accounting for Expected Credit Losses April 30, 2015 - 4:52pm

On April 30, the IIF Senior Accounting Group (SAG) submitted its response letter on the Guidance on Accounting for Expected Credit Losses (“ECL”) (the “Guidance”) consultative document issued by the Basel Committee. While the SAG shares the Committee’s expectation that banks will achieve high quality implementation of the new accounting requirements, the Guidance as currently drafted raises a number of concerns on which detailed comments and drafting suggestions are provided.

IIF: “Goldilocks” – Overstaying Her Welcome? April 30, 2015 - 6:16pm

Driven by zero rates, plentiful liquidity and the expectation that this stimulus will ultimately fuel stronger global growth, financial markets have been buoyant, but this suggests that distortions may be building up, according to the latest Capital Markets Monitor from the Institute of International Finance.

“Depending on how long the “Goldilocks” economy can be sustained, market participants may be faced with a binary set of challenges – a potential disorderly adjustment if U.S. tightening is more aggressive than currently expected, or a potential “decade of zero rates” – which could have a range of negative consequences,” said Hung Tran, executive managing director at the IIF.

Credit Guarantee Schemes for SMEs April 30, 2015 - 4:57pm

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are vital to creating jobs and spurring economic growth, yet many lack access to finance. The IFC estimated a financing gap of $1.6 trillion in 2011 for the formal SME sector, which has likely increased since then. Credit guarantee schemes (CGSs) are an important policy tool to address the SME financing gap. By providing partial coverage of funding, CGSs can enable banks to finance SMEs that lack sufficient collateral or lower the cost of borrowing to higher-risk SMEs. The IIF has surveyed banks regarding the existence and usage of such schemes.

Emerging Markets Bank Lending Conditions Survey - 2015Q1 April 30, 2015 - 5:40pm

EM bank lending conditions tightened abruptly to their weakest level in three years in 2015Q1. The main driver was a plunge in loan demand, led by EM Europe and EM Asia. In addition, funding conditions continued to tighten, in part driven by a sharp deterioration in access to external funding in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, nonperforming loans maintained their upward trend, especially in EM Asia and Latin America, causing banks to continue tightening credit standards for new loans.

EM Lending Survey Data April 30, 2015 - 3:30pm
Lebanon: Stabilization and Reforms Becoming More Urgent April 30, 2015 - 11:13am

Lebanon’s economic performance has been lackluster, reflecting policy inaction amid a protracted political crisis as well as the impact of rising regional insecurity. The economy may benefit from the recent sharp fall in oil prices, but the extent of economic recovery will be contingent on further improvement in the security situation. Prices in the country declined in the past few months partly due to one-off factors. A significant decline in the public debt ratio will take strong fiscal and structural reforms to reduce the deficit and create conditions for higher and sustainable growth.

Lebanon: Stabilization and Reforms Becoming More Urgent (Arabic Translation) April 29, 2015 - 4:06pm
Capital Markets Monitor: "Goldilocks"—Overstaying Her Welcome? May 1, 2015 - 10:24am

The interaction between economic activity, monetary accommodation and financial markets has provided an underpinning for the financial system over the past six and a half years. Since the recovery began in 2009, economic growth has been soft enough to elicit extraordinary monetary policy measures—including zero and negative policy rates and waves of quantitative easing—but not strong enough to trigger a Fed tightening move anytime soon.

EM Portfolio Flows Rebound to Ten Month High April 29, 2015 - 9:19am

Portfolio flows to emerging markets picked up to $35 billion in April, making the strongest inflows since June 2014, according the latest EM Portfolio Flows Tracker by the Institute of International Finance.

“EM portfolio flows have gained momentum in recent months," said Robin Koepke, an economist at the IIF and lead author of the report. “Strong inflows in April seem to reflect dovish signals from the Fed that have reduced market expectations of rate hikes. We are concerned that flows may well continue to be volatile in the months ahead in the face of further shifts in market expectations about the timing and pace of Fed liftoff, especially if there is evidence of tightening U.S. labor markets.”

Country/Regional Portfolio Flows Data April 29, 2015 - 10:18am
Portfolio Flows Tracker Data April 28, 2015 - 4:51pm
LEBANON: Full Economic Database April 30, 2015 - 11:12am