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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Fifty-Second Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank concluded with a consensus that global opening and integration offer the only path to worldwide prosperity and that strong IMF surveillance over the policies of its 181 members remains essential. The meetings achieved important and concrete results for the IMF, notably an endorsement by ministers and governors of the IMF’s role in promoting the liberalization of capital flows, agreement on a 45 percent increase in IMF quotas, and agreement on an “equity” SDR allocation that doubles SDRs allocated to date.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In 1991, the Baltics, Russia, and the other countries of the former Soviet Union began an arduous journey toward free market economies, grappling with the legacy of decades of central planning. In a new IMF Occasional Paper entitled Macroeconomic Developments in the Baltics, Russia, and Other Countries of the Former Soviet Union, 1992-97, Luis M. Valdivieso of the IMF’s European II Department describes the progress toward macroeconomic stabilization these countries made in the first six years of transition and explains how they were initially affected by, and responded to, the Asian financial crisis.

Ms. Carmen Reinhart and Mr. Miguel A Savastano

This paper describes the importance of luck, timing, and political institutions in beating inflation. The paper highlights that countries experiencing high inflation typically make several disinflation attempts, some of which succeed only temporarily. If a country trying to stabilize prices and wages is unlucky enough to be exposed to severe external shocks—for example, a decline in demand for its exports—during its disinflation, the likelihood of failure is increased. A shock such as an increase in U.S. interest rates makes failure more likely for a country with an open capital account.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

This last issue for 2005 comprises seven new papers, including a contribution to the journal's occasional Special Data Section about domestic debt markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, and also an in-depth look at the internal job market for entry-level economists at the IMF. The remaining articles cover toics as diverse as: modeling of asset markets, exchange rates in developing countries, international bank claims on Latin America, the effectiveness of "early warning" systems, and the use (by emerging market countries) of the IMF's Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).