Research Paper 60, January 2015

Internationalization of Finance and Changing Vulnerabilities in Emerging and Developing Economies

After a series of crises with severe economic and social consequences in the 1990s and early 2000s, emerging and developing economies (EDEs) have become even more closely integrated into what is widely recognized as an inherently unstable international financial system. Both policies in these countries and a highly accommodating global financial environment have played a role. Not only have their traditional cross-border linkages been deepened and external balance sheets expanded rapidly, but also foreign presence in their domestic credit, bond, equity and property markets has reached unprecedented levels. New channels have thus emerged for the transmission of financial shocks from global boom-bust cycles. Almost all EDEs are now vulnerable irrespective of their balance-of-payments, external debt, net foreign assets and international reserve positions although these play an important role in the way such shocks could impinge on them. Stability of domestic banking and asset markets is susceptible even in countries with strong external positions. Those heavily dependent on foreign capital are prone to liquidity and solvency crises as well as domestic financial turmoil. The new practices adopted in recent years including more flexible exchange rate regimes, accumulation of large stocks of international reserves or borrowing in local currency would not provide much of a buffer against severe external shocks such as those that may result from the normalization of monetary policy in the US. And the multilateral system is still lacking adequate mechanisms for an orderly and equitable resolution of external financial instability and crises in EDEs.

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