The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The analysis in this paper suggests that import and export volume elasticities are markedly lower in oil-exporting Middle East and Central Asian countries than in non-oil countries in the region. A key implication of this finding is that a real appreciation of the exchange rate in oil-exporting countries would achieve little in terms of expenditure switching: an appreciation does not boost imports and non-oil exports constitute only a small share of GDP and total trade in these countries. Therefore, while a real appreciation lowers the current account surplus of oil-exporting countries through valuation effects, the contribution to lowering global imbalances may be more limited.