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International Monetary Fund
Two years ago, citizens in the Arab world—fired by their ideals and visions of a better life—ignited a social movement that inspired people around the globe. In Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen—the so-called Arab countries in transition—people embraced change, ushering in a new era. This issue of F&D looks at the difficulties of this transition, focusing on long-standing forces that shape the region’s economy and offering options for moving ahead to achieve strong, inclusive growth. • Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, maps out an agenda for modernizing and diversifying the region’s economies in “Toward Prosperity for All.” • In “Freedom and Bread Go Together,” Marwan Muasher addresses the intersection of economic progress and political change. • Vali Nasr, in a Point of View column, underscores the vital role small and medium-sized enterprises play in a successful democratic transition. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how surging oil and gas production in the United States could shake up global energy markets; the effect of uncertainty on economic growth; and Mexico’s competitiveness rebound. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Christina Romer, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and an architect of the U.S. stimulus package; and the latest installment in our Back to Basics series explains how structural policies help to both stabilize and strengthen economies.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

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

Tajikistan’s growth potential is constrained by government interference in markets, and poor energy and transport infrastructure. The report focuses on Tajikistan’s combined 2009 Article IV Consultation, final review under the Staff-Monitored Program, and request for a Three-Year Arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility. Macroeconomic policies may need to be tightened further if external developments turn out worse than currently projected. Alternatively, additional donor support could ease the domestic adjustment burden.

International Monetary Fund

Kuwait’s economy continued to perform strongly in 2008, although signs of weakness emerged in the second half of the year. The authorities’ key challenge in the near term is to preserve financial stability and cushion the impact of the global slowdown. Executive Directors have commended the Kuwaiti authorities’ prudent macroeconomic policies, which have contributed to robust economic growth, strong fiscal and external positions. Directors have also called for strengthening oversight of risk management practices by ensuring adequate policies and procedures for identifying, monitoring, and controlling systemic risk in the financial system.

Mr. Hamid R Tabarraei, Hamed Ghiaie, and Asghar Shahmoradi
The structural model in this paper proposes a micro-founded framework that incorporates an active banking sector with an oil-producing sector. The primary goal of adding a banking sector is to examine the role of an interbank market on shocks, introduce a national development fund and study its link to the banking sector and the government. The government and the national development fund directly play key roles in the propagation of the oil shock. In contrast, the banking sector and the labor market, through perfect substitution between the oil and non-oil sectors, have major indirect impacts in spreading shocks.