The 2005 Article IV Consultation for the United States reports that robust productivity growth and high corporate profits have contributed to a strong rebound in business investment and some acceleration in employment. The financial sector appears well positioned to provide continued support to the recovery. Equity prices have risen, long-term interest rates remain low, banks are well capitalized and highly profitable, and indicators of credit quality remain strong. The robust housing market has caused financial regulators to tighten oversight of home equity and other residential loans.
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.
This 2003 Article IV Consultation highlights that Canada’s strong policy framework has brought impressive economic results, and the Canadian economy has proven exceptionally resilient in the face of the recent global downturn. Economic activity slowed relatively modestly in 2001, with only one quarter of output decline recorded, and growth recovered strongly thereafter, averaging 4 percent over the subsequent four quarters. Household consumption and residential investment have remained robust. Household and business demand was supported by sustained productivity growth, rapid growth of employment and labor incomes, and gains in real estate prices.
Government spending plays a critical role in protecting and enforcing rights and civil liberties. Empirical evidence for a sample of industrial and developing countries shows that government expenditures on defense, law and order, social security, education, and health care are associated with three rights indicators—property rights, equality of citizens before the law, and economic freedom. In particular, an increase in spending on law and order seems to improve the indicators of rights and civil liberties, and lower budget deficits seem to improve property rights and equality before the law. Of great importance is the finding that corruption is associated with worse rights indicators.
The paper provides information on recent economic developments in Kazakhstan. Adoption of the new budget system law was an important step toward a more transparent and stable system of intergovernmental fiscal relations in Kazakhstan. Good progress has been made by the government to implement the key elements of the legal framework for an efficient financial sector. The paper focuses on two of the shocks, the fall in the terms of trade and the real effective appreciation of the Tenge. The statistical data are also presented.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix describes economic developments in the Republic of Kazakhstan during 1996–99. The paper provides information on the magnitude of large external shocks felt by Kazakhstan during 1998, describes the policy approach taken by the Kazakh authorities in response to these shocks, and summarizes developments in the real, monetary, fiscal, and external sectors in 1998 and the first quarter of 1999. The paper also contains a brief account of progress on structural reforms.
This Selected Issues paper on the United States analyzes problems in the measurement of output and prices. The paper examines income versus expenditure measures of national output. Sources of consumer price index and findings of the Boskin Commission are discussed, and mismeasurement of output and productivity is analyzed. Developments in productivity across industries in the United States are described. In particular, the paper focuses on the slowdown in aggregate productivity growth that began in the mid-1970s and examines whether this slowdown has continued in recent years and is common across industries.
This Selected Issues paper on the United States analyzes the measures of potential output, natural rate of unemployment, and capacity utilization. Traditionally, measures of resource utilization have been used as indicators for the potential build-up of inflation pressures, and hence as guides for the formulation of macroeconomic policy. The paper highlights that the most commonly used indicators of resource utilization in the United States are the output gap, the employment gap, and capacity utilization in industry. The paper also analyzes the wage and price determination and productivity trends in the United States.
In the May 21 issue of The Lancet, an international journal of medical science and practice, Ted Schrecker (University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) and Gorik Ooms (Medecins San Frontieres, Brussels, Belgium) argued that government spending targets, created by the World Bank and the IMF under medium-term expenditure frameworks, prevent foreign aid from reaching HIV/AIDS programs in the world’s poorest countries. They also suggested that “the international community has not taken seriously enough the acute need for new resources to assist health systems in the developing world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.” The World Bank-IMF rebuttal, to appear in the June 18 issue of The Lancet, follows.