Taming the “Wild West” of Microfinance

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | December 24, 2012

The recent suicides by over 60 poor borrowers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have brought the operations of microfinance institutions (MFIs) under public scrutiny. It is well documented by both print and electronic media that these debt-driven suicides were due to coercive methods of loan recovery used by commercial MFIs. The commercial MFIs operate as profit-making non-banking financial corporations (NBFCs) in India.

The majority of suicides took place in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh and as many as 17 borrowers of SKS Microfinance were among those who reportedly committed suicide. For the past few months, the SKS Microfinance (the largest commercial MFI in India) has been in the news. In August 2010,…

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Will G20 Take Collective Stand on Capital Controls?

By Kavaljit Singh | Op-Ed, The Korea Times | November 10, 2010

Leaders of the G20 will meet in Seoul on Nov. 11 and 12 to discuss a myriad of issues concerning global financial stability and economic recovery. In many ways, the G20 Seoul Summit is significant because for the first time it is hosted by a non-G8 nation and one in Asia too. The two-day Seoul summit covers an expansive agenda, ranging from global safety nets to new rules on bank capital and liquidity requirements to reforming the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It remains to be seen how much of this agenda could be accomplished given the sharp differences among G20 member countries on key issues. The summit is likely to be overshadowed by the…

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A Question of Sovereignty: Capital Controls Gain Credence

By Kavaljit Singh | Journal of Regulation and Risk North Asia | Summer/Autumn 2010

In June 2010, South Korea and Indonesia announced several policy measures to regulate potentially de-stabilising capital flows which could pose a threat to their economies and financial systems. South Korea kicked off the process on 13 June when it announced a series of currency controls to protect its economy from external shocks. The new currency controls are much wider in scope than foreign exchange liquidity controls announced earlier in 2009. Indonesia quickly followed suite on 16 June when its central bank deployed measures to control short-term capital inflows.

The policy measures introduced by South Korea’s central bank have three major components, these being: restrictions on currency…

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Emerging Markets Consider Capital Controls to Regulate Speculative Capital Flows

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | July 3, 2010

Just days before the G20 summit in Toronto, South Korea and Indonesia announced several policy measures to regulate potentially destabilising capital flows which could pose a threat to their economies and financial systems. The policy measures announced by South Korea and Indonesia assume greater significance because both countries are members of the G20. In 2010, South Korea chairs the G20.

On 13 June 2010, South Korea announced it would be imposing currency controls which are much wider in scope than foreign exchange liquidity controls announced earlier in 2009. The policy measures have three major components:

First, there are new restrictions on currency derivatives trades, including non-deliverable currency forwards, cross-currency swaps and forwards. New ceilings have been imposed on domestic banks and branches…

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Indonesia Moves to Tame Speculative Capital Flows

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | June 18, 2010

Within three days of South Korea imposing currency controls, Indonesia (a member of G-20) unveiled several policy measures to regulate potentially destabilizing capital flows. The policy announcement by Indonesia is the latest initiative by emerging markets to tame speculative money which could pose a threat to their economies and financial systems.

On June 16, 2010, Bank Indonesia, country’s central bank, announced the following policy measures:

1. To make short-term investments less attractive, there will be a one-month minimum holding period on Sertifikat Bank Indonesia (SBIs) with effect from July 7, 2010. During the one-month period, ownership of SBIs cannot be transferred. Issued by central bank, the one-month SBIs are the favorite debt instruments among foreign…

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