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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses the assessment of economic activity in Togo in absence of quarterly GDP series. Togo collects about 40 macroeconomic indicators monthly that span a wide range of sectors of the economy. The selection of the variables for the economic activity index is conducted by finding the combination of variables. The indicators are aggregated into an index using a methodology used by the Conference Board. Then an economic activity index is constructed that effectively replicates the historical growth rates of real GDP in Togo. The selected index minimizes the deviations between the growth rates of the indicator and actual real GDP growth over 2002–13.
Mr. Stephen Tokarick
Trade elasticities are often needed in applied country work for various purposes and this paper describes a method for estimating import demand and export supply elasticities withoutusing econometrics. The paper reports empirical estimates of these elasticities for a large number of low, middle, and upper income countries. One task for which trade elasticities are needed is in developing exchange rate assessments and this paper shows how the estimated elasticities can be used for this purpose.
International Monetary Fund

Bangladesh’s 2008 Article IV Consultation reports that growth picked up strongly from a slow start to the year with rebounds in agriculture and garment exports playing a leading role. Strong growth of remittances and increased external assistance helped support the balance of payments in the face of rising import costs. An impressive increase in government revenues, bringing state-owned enterprise losses onto the budget, and the substantial increase in administered prices have been significant achievements.

International Monetary Fund

Bangladesh’s 2008 Article IV Consultation reports that growth picked up strongly from a slow start to the year with rebounds in agriculture and garment exports playing a leading role. Strong growth of remittances and increased external assistance helped support the balance of payments in the face of rising import costs. An impressive increase in government revenues, bringing state-owned enterprise losses onto the budget, and the substantial increase in administered prices have been significant achievements.

Mr. Bankim Chadha and Mr. Ranjit S Teja

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund
The aim of the paper is to shift the focus of famine analysis away from food supply towards the macroeconomic determinants of food entitlement—i.e., to the ability of individuals to purchase food. Towards this end, we develop a model to demonstrate how loose monetary and fiscal policies may give rise to famine even when there is no change in per capita food output. We illustrate our findings with a description of the 1974 Bangladesh famine.
Robert Cassen

The main conclusions of a study undertaken for the Development Committee’s Task Force on Concessional Flows

Shlomo Reutlinger

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.

JEFFREY M. DAVIS

While food subsidies have led to considerable political debate, they have, for the most part, been subjected to only limited economic analysis. Nor has there been much effort to systematically categorize the importance of these subsidies in different countries. The growing interest in the methods of effecting income redistribution, particularly in developing countries, and the attempts to use food subsidies to insulate consumers from the recent exceptional rise in world food prices have, however, made this a subject of particular importance. Further, as a result of this rise in food prices, the financial cost of food subsidy programs has increased sharply, with implications for fiscal and monetary stability and the balance of payments.