Risk premium on lending (lending rate minus treasury bill rate, %) - North America
Definition: Risk premium on lending is the interest rate charged by banks on loans to private sector customers minus the "risk free" treasury bill interest rate at which short-term government securities are issued or traded in the market. In some countries this spread may be negative, indicating that the market considers its best corporate clients to be lower risk than the government. The terms and conditions attached to lending rates differ by country, however, limiting their comparability.
Description: The map below shows how Risk premium on lending (lending rate minus treasury bill rate, %) varies by country in North America. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the region is United States, with a value of 2.97. The country with the lowest value in the region is Mexico, with a value of 0.46.
Source: International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics database.
Development Relevance: Both banking and financial systems enhance growth, the main factor in poverty reduction. At low levels of economic development commercial banks tend to dominate the financial system, while at higher levels domestic stock markets tend to become more active and efficient. The size and mobility of international capital flows make it increasingly important to monitor the strength of financial systems. Robust financial systems can increase economic activity and welfare, but instability can disrupt financial activity and impose widespread costs on the economy.
Limitations and Exceptions: Countries use a variety of reporting formats, sample designs, interest compounding formulas, averaging methods, and data presentations for indices and other data series on interest rates. The IMF's Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual does not provide guidelines beyond the general recommendation that such data should reflect market prices and effective (rather than nominal) interest rates and should be representative of the financial assets and markets to be covered. For more information, please see http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/mfs/manual/index.htm.
Statistical Concept and Methodology: The risk premium on lending is the spread between the lending rate to the private sector and the "risk-free" government rate. Spreads are expressed as an annual average. A small spread indicates that the market considers its best corporate customers to be low risk; a negative value indicates that the market considers its best corporate clients to be lower risk than the government.