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Payments and finance problems in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Volume 1
 
Author:Michalopoulos, Constantine; Collection Title:Policy, Research working paper ; no. WPS 1587
Country:Commonwealth of Independent States; Date Stored:1996/04/01
Document Date:1996/04/30Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:Finance
Region:Europe and Central AsiaReport Number:WPS1587
Sub Sectors:Other FinanceSubTopics:Environmental Economics & Policies; Payment Systems & Infrastructure; Economic Theory & Research; Trade Policy; Free Trade; Financial Intermediation
Volume No:1  

Summary: Payments problems constrained interstate trade among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries in 1992-95, especially during the prolonged demise of the ruble zone. Two kinds of solutions should be sought: 1) more effective stabilization measures to improve the prospects of currency convertibility among CIS countries; and 2) strengthening of institutional arrangements to permit payments and settlements through correspondent bank accounts. Strengthening institutions will require not only strengthening commercial banks but liberalizing foreign exchange markets and promoting the use of letters of credit and other mechanisms to increase the security of trade transactions. A multilateral clearing arrangement operated among central banks would have been a useful alternative to the chaotic payments prevailing earlier, but such arrangements are no longer needed as considerable progress has been made toward convertibility. Nor is a payments union desirable. Trade deficits are likely to persist in such countries as Belarus and Ukraine. Surplus countries such as Russia and Turkmenistan must develop transparent means of trade financing that take into account the recipient countries' ability to pay. External financing will remain important for practically all CIS countries. The best way to mobilize private financing will be to establish macroeconomic stability and stable, transparent rules on private capital inflows. Improving the flow of public resources requires improving countries' capacity to quickly absorb the large amounts already committed. Donors need to expedite procurement and other procedures and recipient countries must address governance problems and institutional weaknesses that delay disbursements. Certain smaller CIS countries face significant debt servicing problems and often the creditors are other CIS countries that themselves need additional financing. The smaller countries need debt relief on concessional terms, which is possible only if external assistance allows local creditors to offer such relief.

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