Description : “In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, a coordinated international response is needed to deal with weaknesses in the world economy and the new risks in the outlook,” IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler said in a statement issued on October 5. He added that “the IMF, its 183 member countries, and the international community more generally will need to respond with sound policies to reduce the likelihood of a sustained slowdown and make sure we are ready to deal with a deeper and longer downturn if it does emerge—thereby limiting the disruption and attendant human costs.” Excerpts from Köhler’s statement follow.
Description : This paper assesses whether the scaling up of aid and the resulting increase in government spending that is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would be hampered by wage bill ceilings that are often part of government programs supported by the IMF's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Based on country case studies for 2003-05, the paper suggests that, in the past, wage bill ceilings have not restricted the use of available donor funds. Yet the paper offers a number of suggestions for further enhancing the flexibility of wage bill conditionality in PRGF-supported programs to respond to higher aid flows that may result in the future.
Description : In this paper, we examine returns in the Chinese A and B stock markets for evidence of calendar anomalies. We find that both cultural and structural (segmentation) factors play an important role in influencing the pricing of both A- and B-shares in China. There is some evidence of a February turn-of-the-year effect, partly owing to the timing of the Chinese Lunar New Year (CNY); and the holiday effect around the CNY period is stronger and more persistent compared with the other public holidays. The segmentation between the two markets is apparent in the day-of-the-week effect, where B stock markets tend to post significant negative returns on Tuesdays, corresponding with overnight developments in the United States, while significant negative returns are observed on Mondays in the A stock markets. Investment strategies based on some of these calendar anomalies, and allowing for transaction costs, suggest that the A stock markets tend to offer more economically significant returns.
Description : Eminent persons report, IMF income, IMF gold, Andrew Crockett, financial soundness indicators, European economy, Michael Deppler interview, Germany, France, European labor, European competitiveness, flat tax, Michael Keen.
Description : This paper investigates the linkages between oil and growth in Congo, where there appears to be no evidence of direct spillover effects. The empirical results suggest however that political instability has a negative effect on non-oil growth, and that the presence of oil could have fueled political instability by being associated with weakening institutions. The results also show that fiscal discipline is beneficial for growth. In addition, there are strong linkages between world oil prices and the real effective exchange rate, with movements in the latter having important indirect repercussions for growth.
Description : This paper reviews the experiences of a number of European countries in coping with capital inflows. It describes the nature of the inflows, their implications for macroeconomic and financial stability, and the policy responses used to cope with them. The experiences suggest that as countries become more integrated with international financial markets, there is little room to regulate capital flows effectively. The most effective ways to deal with capital inflows would be to deepen the financial markets, strengthen financial system supervision and regulation, where needed, and improve the capacity to design and implement sound macroeconomic and financial sector policies. These actions will help increase the absorption capacity and resilience of the economies and financial systems to the risks associated with the inflows.
Description : The paper assesses the degree of banking competition and efficiency in Italy?over time as well as compared to that in other countries, such as France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The paper finds competition in the Italian banking sector has intensified in loan and deposit markets in recent years, but banks still operate in a highcost, high-income system, particularly with respect to retail/services, and efficiency gains have yet to fully materialize. The degree of competition falls within the range of estimates for a set of comparator countries. Greater contestability should act as a powerful force to drive banks to become more competitive and efficient. Competition policy will also continue to be an important consideration, both in enforcing Italy's antitrust laws and in ensuring that the procedures for dealing with weak banks and other merger and acquisition reviews focus on stability and competition objectives.
Description : The Houthakker-Magee effect implies that a country facing unfavorable income elasticities in trade must either grow at a slower rate than its trading partners or experience a trend worsening of its current account and/or depreciation of its real exchange rate. Krugman (1989) first documented the existence of a “45-degree rule” under which relative income elasticities are systematically related to relative growth rates. In this paper, we develop and test an intertemporal current account model in which Krugman’s original 45-degree rule is a special case. The result suggests that secular trends in current accounts and/or real exchange rates are much smaller than one would have projected based on conventional income elasticities.
Description : Analysis of 1960-2002 data shows that average real GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa was low and decelerated continuously before starting to recover in the second part of the 1990s. Growth was driven primarily by factor accumulation with little role for total factor productivity (TFP) growth. The recent pickup in economic growth was accompanied by an increase in TFP growth, namely in the group of countries whose IMF-supported programs were judged to be on track. Average annual growth in the region, at 3½ percent during 1997-2002, is less than half of the estimated growth needed to halve the fraction of population living below $1 per day between 1990 and 2015, one of the Millennium Development Goals.