Selected Decisions and Selected Documents of the IMF, Fortieth Issue -- The Acting Chair’s Summing Up—Adequacy of the Global Financial Safety Net—Review of the Flexible Credit Line and Precautionary and Liquidity Line, and Proposals for Toolkit Reform—Revised Proposals, Executive Board Meeting 17/98, December 6, 2017

Prepared by the Legal Department of the IMF
As updated as of April 30, 2019

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ARTICLE V, SECTION 3(a), (b), AND (c)
Use of Fund Resources
Credit Tranche Policies and Facilities

The Acting Chair’s Summing Up—Adequacy of the Global Financial Safety Net—Review of the Flexible Credit Line and Precautionary and Liquidity Line, and Proposals for Toolkit Reform—Revised Proposals, Executive Board Meeting 17/98, December 6, 2017

Directors welcomed the opportunity to further discuss the review of the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) and Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL), and proposals for Fund toolkit reform, as part of the Fund’s work to strengthen the global financial safety net (GFSN). They also highlighted other recent achievements in this work stream, particularly the establishment of the non-financing Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) and the operational principles and framework for future Fund engagement with regional financing arrangements (RFAs).

Many Directors regretted that there was insufficient support to establish the Short-Term Liquidity Swap (SLS) at this juncture, particularly given heightened global uncertainty and ongoing geo-political risks. They noted that this type of liquidity facility could be an important addition to the Fund’s lending toolkit and that several proposed features of the SLS could serve as a blueprint for further consideration of such a facility in the future. Some Directors recalled their reservations regarding the SLS proposal. Many Directors encouraged further consideration of the coherence of the lending toolkit and coverage of the GFSN going forward.

Directors agreed to complete the scheduled review of the FCL and PLL. A few Directors expressed preference to eliminate the PLL on the basis of its low usage, perceived tiering vis-à-vis the FCL, and overlap with precautionary Stand-By Arrangements (SBAs). Other Directors reiterated concerns that eliminating the PLL could open up a new gap in the toolkit. On balance, most Directors supported the retention of the PLL.

With the PLL remaining part of the toolkit, Directors supported the proposal to extend to the PLL the use of the same core indicators and thresholds already adopted as part of the FCL qualification framework, as set out in Box 1 of the Board paper. They noted that these indicators and thresholds will help guide assessments on PLL qualification by staff and the Board without changing the PLL qualification standards. Directors stressed that judgment should continue to be applied in FCL and PLL qualification assessments. Directors welcomed the plan to revise the FCL and PLL guidance notes to reflect the new indicators, as well as to improve the implementation of the external economic stress index and the assessment of the impact of reserve drawdown on access levels.

Directors discussed the merits of strengthening incentives for a timely exit from arrangements in the credit tranches that provide members with very high access to Fund resources over a prolonged period. They broadly concurred that the FCL has provided effective precautionary support against external tail risks, and that successor arrangements and access levels have been consistent with the assessment of external risks and potential balance of payments needs. Some Directors also noted the staff’s finding that there was no evidence of unjustified prolonged use of the FCL. Directors agreed that exit from precautionary Fund support should be state-contingent. Nonetheless, most Directors considered that the proposal of introducing a time-based commitment fee (TBCF) could strengthen price-based incentives to exit from prolonged use of high-access arrangements on a precautionary basis. A number of Directors, however, were not in favor of introducing a TBCF on the basis that it would run counter to the principle that exit from precautionary Fund support should be state-dependent. A few also expressed concerns that a TBCF could make requesting Fund arrangements for precautionary purposes less attractive to potential users. On balance, the proposal to establish a TBCF was not adopted.

Directors agreed that staff reports for successor FCL and PLL arrangements should continue to provide details on an exit strategy, including a statement on the expectation that access will normally decline when the right conditions (as set forth in BUFF/10/125) are in place, underpinned by a sound and transparent analysis of the risks facing the member country and the authorities’ efforts to increase the country’s resilience, in order to guide market expectations while ensuring that exit continues to be state-contingent.

In accordance with the Board decision on streamlining policy reviews, the experience with the use of the FCL and the PLL will be reviewed in five years or more, or on an as-needed basis, while many Directors expressed a preference for the timing of the next review to be less open-ended and take place within five years.

BUFF/17/93

December 15, 2017

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