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International Monetary Fund
Reserves have a central place in the policy tool kit of most economies, providing insurance against shocks. In conjunction with sound policies, they can help reduce the likelihood of balance of payment crises and preserve economic and financial stability. Reserves, however, can result from both precautionary and non-precautionary policy objectives and institutional settings. While they can bring several important benefits, reserve holdings can sometimes be costly. This paper brings together recent Fund work on reserve adequacy issues aiming to strengthen their discussion in bilateral surveillance. Despite the ongoing debate on reserve issues, there is little consensus about how to assess reserve holdings in different economies, even though this is an important aspect of a member’s external stability assessment. The work stream of which this paper is part aims to fill this gap by outlining a framework for discussing reserve adequacy issues in different economies. In this regard, the paper also forms part of the Fund’s response to the 2012 IEO evaluation of the Fund’s advice related to international reserves, which recommended, inter alia, that assessments of international reserves in bilateral surveillance reports should be more detailed and reflect country circumstances. To this end, the paper proposes that, where warranted, individual country Article IV reports include a fuller discussion of the authorities’ stated objectives (precautionary and non-precautionary) for holding reserves, an assessment of the reserve needs for precautionary purposes, and a discussion of the cost of reserves. The aim would be to ensure evenhandedness so that countries with similar circumstances are assessed in similar ways, while allowing the depth and emphasis of this discussion to vary depending on country conditions and needs
Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Jun I Kim, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, and Mr. George C. Tsibouris

Abstract

Low-income countries routinely experience exogenous disturbances—sharp swings in the terms of trade, export demand, natural disasters, and volatile financial flows—that contribute to higher volatility in aggregate output and consumption compared with other countries. Assessing Reserve Adequacy in Low-Income Countries presents the findings of an analysis of a range of external shocks faced by these countries, beginning with a discussion of the impact of external shocks on macroeconomic growth, volatility, and welfare. Although sound macroeconomic and prudential policy frameworks are the first line of defense for limiting vulnerability, international reserves constitute the main form of self-insurance against such shocks. The evidence suggests that low-income countries with reserve coverage above three months of imports were better able to smooth consumption and absorption in the face of external shocks compared with those with lower reserve holdings. The analysis also points to the importance of country characteristics and vulnerabilities in assessing reserve adequacy.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The financial structure and operations of the IMF are described in this pamphlet, as well as the sources of IMF financing, the policies associated with the use of IMF resources, and the role of the IMF as trustee to various accounts that are administered by it.

Julio A. Santaella
This paper analyzes the initial conditions before Fund financial arrangements are adopted. Evidence from 324 Fund arrangements in 78 developing countries during 1973-91 indicates that there are important differences in the characteristics between program episodes and a control group. Program episodes exhibit weaker balance of payments, output growth, investment, external conditions and fiscal policy than the control group; they are also characterized by a higher degree of external indebtedness and inflation, and their exchange rates are more depreciated in both nominal and real terms. Only in the case of the growth rates of money and credit do the two groups appear to be statistically similar.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper presents Selected Decisions and Selected Documents’ Eigth Issue of the IMF. This volume is the Eighth Issue of Selected Decisions of the IMF and Selected Documents. It contains the decisions, interpretations, and resolutions of the Executive Directors and the Board of Governors of the IMF to which frequent reference is made in the current activities of the IMF. In addition, the volume contains certain documents relating to the IMF and the United Nations. This issue contains most of the decisions that were published in earlier issues, however not decisions that have ceased to be effective or that are referred to less frequently than in the past. With few exceptions, the decisions in this volume are general in application and relate to obligations, policies, or procedures under the Articles of Agreement. Subject to these few exceptions, decisions that affect individual members are not included. Decisions of the IMF that are included in the By-Laws and the Rules and Regulations are general in application but are not reproduced in this volume.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This volume is the Seventh Issue of Selected Decisions of the IMF and Selected Documents. It contains the decisions, interpretations, and resolutions of the Executive Directors and the Board of Governors of the IMF to which frequent reference is made in the current activities of the Fund. In addition, the volume contains certain documents relating to the IMF and the United Nations. This issue contains most of the decisions that were published in earlier issues but not decisions that have ceased to be effective or that are referred to less frequently than in the past. A substantial part of this volume is devoted to decisions taken by the IMF since the last issue. With few exceptions, the decisions in this volume are general in application and relate to obligations, policies, or procedures under the Articles of Agreement. Subject to the few exceptions referred to, decisions that affect individual members are not included. Decisions of the Fund that are included in the By-Laws and the Rules and Regulations are general in application but are not reproduced in this volume.