PREM Notes

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This note series is intended to summarize good practices and key policy findings on poverty reduction and economic management (PREM) topics.

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    Financing Development Through Future-Flow Securitization
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-06) Ratha, Dilip
    Securitization of future hard currency receivables, that is, converting them into tradable securities, can allow developing country borrowers with good credit to overcome sovereign credit ceilings, and raise financing in international capital markets. The note examines the case of PEMEX, Mexico's state-owned oil and gas company, which in 1998 issued oil export-backed securities that received higher ratings from international credit rating agencies than Mexico's sovereign debt. Relative to unsecured debt, securitization lowered interest rates on PEMEX borrowing by 50-338 basis points (0.50-3.38 percentage points). Another example offered is the case of Banco de Credito in Peru, whose overseas Master Trust in the Bahamas (an offshore account) makes principal, and interest payments, forwarding excess collections to its headquarters in Peru. To increase investor confidence, the amount of future-flow receivables transferred to the trust was set at 2.5 times debt service requirements. In 1998 this transaction setup received an AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's - higher than Peru's sovereign credit rating.
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    Reforming the Courts : The Role of Empirical Research
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-03) Hammergren, Linn
    Working with local researchers, World Bank staff recently analyzed a random sample of cases filed in the first instance courts of Argentina and Mexico. (First instance or trial courts make the initial rulings on cases based on both facts and law. Higher instance or appeals courts are often restricted to questions of law and so may not reconsider the facts of a case.) The Mexico study was conducted in the Federal District, the largest of Mexico's 32 local and state jurisdictions, and reviewed 464 debt collection cases brought under a special procedure that provides for rapid dispute resolution. In Argentina a stratified sample of criminal, civil, and labor cases was drawn from trial courts in the national capital, Buenos Aires (600 cases), and in the province of Santa Fe (450 cases). In both countries the identities of the parties, the nature of the cases, the amounts at issue, the times to disposition, and other data from the case files were coded and analyzed. Aggregate statistics kept by the judiciary and information from interviews and focus groups were used to help interpret the case file findings. Both studies revealed that when it comes to the operation of Latin American justice systems, much of what experts "know" is incorrect. Because this conventional wisdom often informs judicial reform projects, it can encourage changes aimed at solving nonexistent problems-while ignoring real ones.
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    Reducing Vulnerability to Speculative Attacks
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-02) Calvo, Sara
    The note focuses on the speculative attack on domestic assets, which can occur irrespective of country's fiscal situation, suggesting political economy considerations may be the reason. However, recent events have reopened the debate on how to reduce vulnerability to capital outflows in developing countries, though other risk factors have been identified, which if minimized, can still reduce vulnerability to speculative attacks. It addresses the perils of inconsistent macroeconomic policies, as evidenced in Argentina, where the Central Bank was financing the government's budget deficit by creating money, while trying to keep the exchange rate fixed. Moreover, a speculative attack on bonds, instead of currency, can also lead to a devaluation, such as a sudden shift in perceptions about macroeconomic stability, may lead to a loss in reserves, as in Mexico's 1994 crisis, when high interest rates associated with a currency defense was perceived as intolerable. This is substantiated through case studies, which further include the expectation of realized contingent liabilities, a drop in tax revenues associated with business cycles driven by capital inflows, and investor refusal to roll over debt in countries other than the crisis country, know as contagion. Recommendations include the adoption of consistent macroeconomic policies; reduction of debt rollover risks; strengthening financial regulation; and, capital flows regulation.