This Selected Issues paper analyzes Norway’s economy that has a maturing oil and gas industry. Norway’s half century of good fortune from its oil and gas wealth may have peaked. Oil and gas production will continue for many decades on current projections, but output and investment have flattened out, and the spillovers from the offshore oil and gas production to the mainland economy may have turned from positive to negative. Thus far, economic policy has needed to focus on managing the windfall, and Norway’s institutions have been a model for other countries. Going forward, the challenges are expected to become more complex.
Over the last few decades, the economy of Saudi Arabia has strengthened, as oil prices increased with the rebound in global economic activity. Despite this, vulnerabilities to a sustained decline in the oil price have increased. Executive Directors have commended the authorities for their continued stabilizing role in the oil markets. They have encouraged in creating more job opportunities for nationals and improving access to housing finance. They have encouraged the central bank to continue in strengthening the regulatory and supervisory framework.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Saudi Arabia has achieved strong growth since the recent oil boom started in 2003. The economy grew by an average of 4.3 percent during 2003-07, driven by a continued rapid expansion in the non-oil private sector (in particular, financial and construction services). Non-oil private growth has averaged 5.4 percent during 2003-07, leading to substantial job creation, including for foreign workers mainly from low-income countries in the region and Asia, who sent home $16 billion in remittances in 2007. However, unemployment among the young remains high, reflecting skill mismatches and high reservation wages.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
The Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix analyzes output developments in the Russian Federation since the 1998 crisis. It outlines near-term growth prospects for the economy. The paper highlights that output growth accelerated in 1999 and the first half of 2000, but has slowed since then. The initial output recovery was led by import substitution as a result of the large exchange rate depreciation in 1998. One finding in the context of an overall policy package is that the real exchange rate and oil prices were the main determinants of growth after the 1998 crisis.
The Stand-By Arrangement with Bosnia and Herzegovina was approved on May 29, 1998. Bank regulation and supervision have been strengthened over the past year, although procedures continue to fall short of best practice in some areas. The authorities have reformed the sales tax regime to equalize tax rates in the two entities, broaden and unify the base, and simplify the tax system in a broadly revenue neutral manner. IMF staff urged the authorities to accelerate the implementation of modern treasuries.
Yung Whee Rhee, Mr. Robert C. Effros, Eduardo Wiesner, Bahram Nowzad, Mr. David John Goldsbrough, Mr. James M. Boughton, A. Ferroukhi, Pierre Landell-Mills, and Bertrand Renaud
This paper elaborates the introduction of surveillance that gave the IMF broader responsibilities with respect to oversight of its members’ policies than existed under the par value system. The IMF’s purview has been broadened under the new system but, by the same token, its members are no longer obliged to seek its concurrence in changes in exchange rates. The continuing volatility of exchange rates, and their prolonged divergence from levels that appear to be sustainable over time, have been matters of growing concern.