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Maria Sole Pagliari and Mrs. Swarnali A Hannan
Capital flow volatility is a concern for macroeconomic and financial stability. Nonetheless, literature is scarce in this topic. Our paper sheds light on this issue in two dimensions. First, using quarterly data for 65 countries over the period 1970Q1-2016Q1, we construct three measures of volatility, for total capital flows and key instruments. Second, we perform panel regressions to understand the determinants of volatility. The measures show that the volatility of all instruments is prone to bouts, rising sharply during global shocks like the taper tantrum episode. Capital flow volatility thus remains a challenge for policy makers. The regression results suggest that push factors can be more important than pull factors in explaining volatility, illustrating that the characteristics of volatility can be different from those of the flows levels.
Mr. Tidiane Kinda, Mr. Montfort Mlachila, and Rasmané Ouedraogo
This paper investigates the impact of commodity price shocks on financial sector fragility. Using a large sample of 71 commodity exporters among emerging and developing economies, it shows that negative shocks to commodity prices tend to weaken the financial sector, with larger shocks having more pronounced impacts. More specifically, negative commodity price shocks are associated with higher non-performing loans, bank costs and banking crises, while they reduce bank profits, liquidity, and provisions to nonperforming loans. These adverse effects tend to occur in countries with poor quality of governance, weak fiscal space, as well as those that do not have a sovereign wealth fund, do not implement macro-prudential policies and do not have a diversified export base. These findings are robust to a battery of robustness checks.
Mr. James M. Boughton

Abstract

The world and the IMF have undergone profound changes since the Bretton Woods Conference. James Boughton, former historian of the IMF, looks at key events that have shaped the IMF and the international scene. From the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to the Great Recession, this essay focuses on 11 events in history that have influenced the design and work of the IMF, as well as the international monetary system. This booklet, prepared for the 70th anniversary of the IMF, is an excerpt from a longer essay that is available on the IMF eLibrary. It is an excellent primer on the motivation behind the founding of the IMF and the evolution of the organization.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

Global activity has broadly strengthened and is expected to improve further in 2014–15, according to the April 2014 WEO, with much of the impetus for growth coming from advanced economies. Although downside risks have diminished overall, lower-than-expected inflation poses risks for advanced economies, there is increased financial volatility in emerging market economies, and increases in the cost of capital will likely dampen investment and weigh on growth. Advanced economy policymakers need to avoid a premature withdrawal of monetary accommodation. Emerging market economy policymakers must adopt measures to changing fundamentals, facilitate external adjustment, further monetary policy tightening, and carry out structural reforms. The report includes a chapter that analyzes the causes of worldwide decreases in real interest rates since the 1980s and concludes that global rates can be expected to rise in the medium term, but only moderately. Another chapter examines factors behind the fluctuations in emerging market economies’ growth and concludes that strong growth in China played a key role in buffering the effects of the global financial crisis in these economies.

International Monetary Fund
This supplement provides background information on various aspects of capacity development (CD) for the main Board paper, The Fund’s Capacity Development Strategy—Better Policies through Stronger Institutions. It is divided into nine notes or sections, each focused on a different topic covered in the main paper. Section A explores the importance of institutions for growth, and the role the Fund can play in building institutions. Section B presents stylized facts about how the landscape for CD has changed since the late 1990s. Section C discusses the difficulties of analyzing CD data because of measurement issues. Section D provides a longer-term perspective on how Fund CD has responded to member needs. Section E contains information on previous efforts to prioritize CD, assesses Regional Strategy Notes (RSNs) and country pages, and suggests ways to strengthen RSNs, including by using the Fund’s surveillance products. Section F compares the technical assistance (TA) funding model proposed in the 2011
Gülçin Özkan and Ms. Filiz D Unsal
This paper develops a two-country DSGE model to investigate the transmission of a global financial crisis to a small open economy. We find that economies hit by a sudden stop arising from financial distress in the global economy are likely to face a more prolonged crisis than sudden stop episodes of domestic origin. Moreover, in contrast to the existing literature, our results suggest that the greater a country's trade integration with the rest of the world, the greater the response of its macroeconomic aggregates to a sudden stop of capital flows.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
In early June, Rodrigo de Rato, a national of Spain, took over as head of the IMF, succeeding Horst Köhler, who resigned in early March. Before joining the IMF, de Rato served for nearly eight years in the Spanish government, most recently as Minister of Economy and Vice President for Economic Affairs (2000–2004). He also had a long political career, including a stint as a member of Spain’s parliament. Laura Wallace of the IMF Survey spoke with him about the forces shaping the global economic outlook and the ongoing strategic review of the IMF’s role.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.