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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.


This paper discusses that total world trade rose significantly, particularly because of sustained European demand. With some exceptions, prices of basic products fell during the period. In this economic environment, developments in exchange markets became of focal interest to the IMF. The cumulative effect during recent years of relaxing surrender requirements and restrictions on payments has been very largely to restore to exchange markets their traditional function of reflecting the trend of international financial pressures. The difficulties that several countries faced in coordinating their internal and external monetary policies accentuated the international movements of short-term funds which had become increasingly important in preceding years. In particular, the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland received large amounts of foreign funds. Some countries continued to reduce their restrictions, particularly in the direction of simplifying exchange systems and liberalizing imports. These moves made a contribution toward sustaining the volume of world trade.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.


This paper focuses on progress in reducing or eliminating exchange restrictions that has been substantial and has been made on a wide front; retrogressions have been comparatively few. The beneficial effects of the widening scope of currency convertibility have been felt in many areas, and the evolution toward freer, more orderly, and less discriminatory trade and payments has been strongly supported by a high level of economic activity, expanding international trade, and the general maintenance of monetary stability. Recent developments in trade and payments have not merely reduced the scope of restrictions; they have also changed the nature of these restrictions. Of key importance was the introduction of external convertibility by several countries at the end of 1958. Quotations for externally convertible currencies in exchange markets throughout the world have shown only minor fluctuations in the past twelve months. Most Western European currencies have generally been strong in terms of the US dollar.