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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.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper outlines the extent of the IMF with its present policies and practices or with some modification of those policies and practices that is capable of dealing satisfactorily with certain problems of international liquidity. Liquidity that is conditional in any of these senses may be somewhat less prized by the country possessing it than would be an equivalent amount of unconditional liquidity; but the imposition of such conditions may be for the general advantage of the international community, and may make countries having surpluses in their balances of payments readier to provide, or to facilitate the provision of, additional liquidity. An increased supply of the type of liquidity of which the use is subject to policy conditions will have somewhat different results. Although it will probably increase the amount and the financing of external deficits, even this is not certain. The various types of liquidity are to some extent substitutes for each other.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.

Abstract

This paper presents the Supplement on international reserves, the sixth in the series of supplements to International Financial Statistics (IFS) that comprises textual material commencing with an historical perspective of international reserves. This is followed by a discussion on the methodology covering the concepts underlying the reserves data in IFS: the data collection and presentation procedures; the related data in the money and banking, and balance-of-payments sections in IFS; and a summary of the national concepts of reserves. Statistics on international reserves are important indicators of the external economic performance of countries. A country's holdings of international reserves represent its ability to meet balance of payments needs through official financial settlements. The establishment of the IMF led to the creation of a reserve asset in the form of a gold tranche position reflecting a member's subscription to the IMF in gold. To the extent that the IMF made use of a member's currency in drawings of other countries, a creation of new reserves was involved.

Raghuram Rajan

'Africa: Making Its Move' explores some of the obstacles facing sub-Saharan Africa as it attempts to capitalize on changes that offer fresh opportunities for growth and poverty reduction. The lead article describes the changes and suggests how Africa can build on them to progress further. Other articles focus on the aid situation, financial sector development, trade, the business environment, and political and policy reform on the continent. 'Country Focus' examines the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, and two guest contributors look at how the international community can help the most fragile states and how oil-producing countries can manage windfall revenues. 'People in Economics' profiles the European Central Bank's first chief economist, Otmar Issing; 'Picture This' examines the global housing slowdown; and 'Back to Basics,' explains current account deficits. Another article discusses the realities of health financing.

John S. Smith

From the Foreword to the first issue: “Among the responsibilities of the International Monetary Fund, as set forth in the Articles of Agreement, is the obligation to ‘act as a center for the collection and exchange of information on monetary and financial problems,’ and thereby to facilitate ‘the preparation of studies designed to assist members in developing policies which further the purposes of the Fund.’ The publications of the Fund are one way in which this responsibility is discharged. “Through the publication of Staff Papers, the Fund is making available some of the work of members of its staff. The Fund believes that these papers will be found helpful by government officials, by professional economists, and by others concerned with monetary and financial problems. Much of what is now presented is quite provisional. On some international monetary problems, final and definitive views are scarcely to be expected in the near future, and several alternative, or even conflicting, approaches may profitably be explored. The views presented in these papers are not, therefore, to be interpreted as necessarily indicating the position of the Executive Board or of the officials of the Fund.” The authors of the papers in this issue have received considerable assistance from their colleagues on the staff of the Fund. This general statement of indebtedness may be accepted in place of a detailed list of acknowledgments. Subscription: US$6.00 a volume or the approximate equivalent in the currencies of most countries. Three numbers constitute a volume. Single copies may be purchased at $2.50. Special rate to university libraries, faculty members, and students: $3.00 a volume; $1.00 a single copy. Subscriptions and orders should be sent to: THE SECRETARY International Monetary Fund 19th and H Streets, N.W. Washington, D. C. 20431