Reform of IMF Lending Facilities Increases Stability in Emerging Market Economies
Following the current international financial and economic crisis the IMF reformed its lending facilities. Two new instruments are of particular importance: the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) and the High Access Precautionary Arrangements (HAPA). The major innovation of the new facilities is that the traditional ex-post conditionality is replaced by an ex-ante qualification process. An ex-ante qualification process leads to a short-term availability of funds during the emergence of crises and avoids long negotiation processes during a crisis. Additionally, the FCL is high powered, amounting to 900 to 1000% of the quota. It can therefore be expected that the programs have preventive effects. In difference to previous attempts to implement precautionary credit lines, the FCL and HAPA successfully created demand. First empirical observations show, that a stigmatization, which could have been expected from experience, did not take place. Countries who qualified for the FCL did rather well during the current crisis and did not face shrinking confidence due to expected crises. To be more efficient, the new lending facilities should be complemented be an international regulatory framework, which limits moral-hazard-induced higher risk taking. Additionally more members should be encouraged to demand the new instruments to increase its systemic importance.