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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Islamic Republic of Iran: Selected Issues

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic activity in Iran has slowed down significantly since the fourth quarter of 2014/15 owing to sharp decline in global oil prices, tight corporate and bank balance sheets, and postponed consumption and investment decisions ahead of the expected lifting of economic sanctions. Twelve-month (point-to-point) inflation has declined to about 10 percent in recent months, largely reflecting lower food and beverage inflation, and the inflation rate is expected to remain close to 14 percent by year-end. Prospects for 2016/17 are brighter, owing to the prospective lifting of economic sanctions.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This staff report for the 2014 Article IV Consultation on the Islamic Republic of Iran focuses on economic developments and policies. The IMF report had achieved considerable progress in raising per capita income and living standards. Large shocks and weak macroeconomic management have had a significant impact on macroeconomic stability and growth. The external environment remains uncertain and delaying domestic reforms raise the risk of entrenching the economy in a low-growth and high-inflation scenario, underscoring the need to address long-standing weaknesses in the policy framework and the economy.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

With Dubai hosting the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings this year, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has received particular attention. Its economic performance and strategies to reignite growth were the theme of a pre-meeting IMF Economic Forum (see page 285). There were also press briefings on the region’s economies and on the West Bank and Gaza and Afghanistan. In addition, several seminars looked in greater detail at several high-profile issues, notably jobs for the region’s burgeoning workforce, greater integration of women in the labor force, the role of oil stabilization funds, and Islamic banking.

Mr. E. H. Gardner

Abstract

The population of the Middle East and North Africa is one of the fastest growing in the world, but jobs have not grown as fast as the region’s workforce. This paper addresses questions such as"Can current GDP growth generate more employment, or will higher GDP growth be required?"and "Will the current pattern of job creation-with much of the region’s workforce employed by the public sector-need to change?"

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for the Islamic Republic of Iran deals with the analytical considerations relating to the choice of the exchange regime. This issue came to prominence with the exchange rate unification of March 2002. The paper also examines the competitiveness of the non-oil economy, fiscal sustainability, and the labor market of Iran. The paper concludes that a degree of flexibility in the exchange rate is needed at this juncture, given Iran’s exposure to oil price shocks, and the desire of the authorities to promote the development of non-oil activities.
Ms. Rina Bhattacharya, Tarik Yousef, and Mr. Pierre Dhonte
The working age population is expected to grow faster in the Middle East than in any other region in the world between now and 2015—rising annually by 2.7 percent, or 10 million people. This demographic explosion presents the region with a major challenge in terms of providing jobs, incomes, and housing for the growing population, but the expanding labor force can also be seen as an opportunity to generate higher per capita income growth on a sustainable basis. The paper concludes by emphasizing the importance of market-friendly institutions in turning the challenge into opportunity.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Changing Role of Export Credit Agencies, Malcolm Stephens ($23.50)

International Monetary Fund
This paper outlines the recent progress in developing Islamic financial instruments for the management of monetary policy and public borrowing requirements and provides details on new instruments currently being developed in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sudan. The paper also touches on the institutional arrangements for interbank market operations and the design of effective central bank credit facilities that are needed under Islamic banking to support the development and operation of these new instruments.
MOGHADAM REZA and CAROLINE VAN RIJCKEGHEM

This paper examines unemployment hysteresis in the Belgian labor market. It estimates models of wage determination using aggregate and firm-level panel data. The conclusions are: (i) the long-term unemployed do not exert a negative impact on wages; and (ii) the incumbent workers, the “insiders,” exercise market power in wage determination, taking greater account of their own interests than those of the unemployed “outsiders;” and (Hi) the wage indexation system can cause a downward rigidity in real wages. Recent initiatives, including programs aimed at the long-term unemployed and the young, are appropriate in view of the existence of insider power.