Abstract

Korea’s three-year stand-by arrangement with the IMF expired on December 3, 2000. Looking back, a tremendous amount was accomplished during the IMF-supported program. First, macroeconomic fundamentals have improved and vulnerability to a balance of payments crisis has been sharply reduced. The economy recovered very rapidly from the deep recession in the immediate aftermath of the 1997 crisis; unemployment has been reduced; inflation has been contained; exports have been strong (although they have softened recently with the global slowdown); foreign direct investment and portfolio inflows have increased markedly; and foreign reserves have been built to record levels. Second, a wide range of structural reforms have made Korea’s economy more open, competitive, and market driven. Significant progress has been made in stabilizing the financial system; addressing corporate distress; strengthening the institutional framework for corporate governance and financial sector supervision; liberalizing capital markets and foreign investment; enhancing transparency; and creating an environment where market discipline plays an increasingly important role.