Oil Prices and Bank Profitability: Evidence from Major Oil-Exporting Countries in the Middle East and North Africa

Bank balance sheets in oil-exporting economies have been hard hit recently. This column provides the first empirical evidence linking oil prices to bank performance in such economies. It suggests that easily observed oil prices could inform macro-prudential regulation in these countries and mitigate pro-cyclical bank lending. The recent economic and financial crisis and the sharp […]

Update: War Watch – Iran

Summary:  The wardrums continue to beat, building support for a US attack on Iran.  This is a status report, with at the end some excellent links to further information. The battle continues hot and heavy, as factions in Washington strive to shape the US citizenry’s view of Iran.  Leaks and lies, authoritative statements and rumors.  […]

Small Countries, Small Problems?

Bahrain and Qatar’s less than 1 million populations make them the smallest countries in GCC (see Chart 1). Both countries are blessed with natural resources, albeit with varying degrees. Do small countries suffer from their smallness? Do small countries enact better economic policies and grow faster? Are Bahrain and Qatar at a disadvantage because their […]

The End of the Beginning

The Bank of Israel has become the first central bank worldwide to raise interest rates in this downturn.   A few weeks ago, I wrote an elongated blog post titled Does unconventional monetary policy and unusual fiscal policy presage an upsurge in inflation?. This was partly motivated by the concerns of the time (this was […]

Five Simple Principles for Scaling up in Aid

There is a lot of discussion in aid on scaling up small-scale successes in aid to reach many more potential beneficiaries. But what things can be scaled up? Here are some principles so simple that they would be embarrassing except that they are routinely violated in aid. (1) Scale up success not failure The only […]

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