Wednesday, May 15, 2013

15/5/2013: What IMF assessment of Malta has to do with Ireland?

Here's an interesting excerpt from the IMF Article IV conclusions for Malta, released today (italics are mine):

"In the longer term, regulatory and tax reform at the European or global level could erode Malta’s competitiveness. The Maltese economy, including the financial sector and other niche services, has greatly benefitted from a business-friendly tax regime. Greater fiscal integration of EU member states and potential harmonization of tax rates could erode some of these benefits, with consequences on employment, output, and fiscal revenues."

Now, Ireland is a much more aggressively reliant on tax arbitrage than Malta to sustain its economic model and has been doing so for longer than Malta. One wonders, how come IMF is not warning about the same risks in the case of Ireland?

Another thing one learns from the IMF note on Malta: "The largest banks will be placed under the direct oversight of the ECB from 2014. The MFSA should work closely with the ECB to ensure no reduction in the supervisory capacity of these banks."

Wait, we've all been operating under the impression that direct oversight from ECB is designed to increase quality and quantity of oversight. Quite interestingly, the IMF is concerned that it might reduce the currently attained levels of supervision.

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