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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The consumer price index (CPI) measures the rates at which the prices of consumer goods and services are changing over time. It is a key statistic for purposes of economic and social policymaking, especially monetary policy and social policy, and has substantial and wide-ranging implications for governments, businesses, and workers, as well as households. This important and comprehensive manual provides guidelines for statistical offices and other agencies responsible for constructing CPIs and explains in depth the methods that are used to calculate a CPI. It also examines the underlying economic and statistical concepts and priniciples needed for making choices in efficient and cost-effective ways and for appreciating the full implications of those choices. The following international organizations, concerned both with the measurement of inflation and with policies designed to control it, have collaborated on the preparation of this manual: the International Labour Office; the International Monetary Fund; the Organization for Econmomic Co-operation and Development; the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat); the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; and the World Bank.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The producer price index (PPI) measures the rate at which the prices of producer goods and services are changing overtime. It is a key statistic for economic and business decision making and inflation monitoring. The Producer Price Index Manual: Theory and Practice provides clear, up-to-date guidance on the concepts, uses, methods, and economic theory of the PPI, including information on classifications, sources, compilation techniques, and analytical uses of the PPI. The Manual supersedes the previous international guidance on PPIs (available in the Manual on Producers’ Price Indices for Industrial Goods, published by the United Nations Statistics Division in 1979). The Manual's conceptual framework derives from the System of National Accounts1993 and recent developments in index number theory. Preparation of the Manual was undertaken by the Intersecretariat Working Group on Price Statistics through a technical expert group chaired by the IMF and involving representatives from the ILO, the OECD, the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the World Bank, national statistical offices, and academic institutions.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

The April 2012 edition of the World Economic Outlook assesses the prospects for the global economy, which has gradually strengthened after a major setback during 2011. The threat of a sharp global slowdown eased with improved activity in the United States and better policies in the euro area. Weak recovery will likely resume in the major advanced economies, and activity will remain relatively solid in most emerging and developing economies. However, recent improvements are very fragile. Policymakers must calibrate policies to support growth in the near term and must implement fundamental changes to achieve healthy growth in the medium term. Chapter 3 examines how policies directed at real estate markets can accelerate the improvement of household balance sheets and thus support otherwise anemic consumption. Chapter 4 examines how swings in commodity prices affect commodity exporting economies, many of which have experienced a decade of good growth. With commodity prices unlikely to continue growing at the recent elevated pace, however, these economies may have to adapt their fiscal and other policies to lower potential output growth in the future.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

This edition of the World Economic Outlook explores the prospects for growth in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The fragile nature of the recovery will present many challenges. These include the need for continued strong monetary, fiscal, and financial policies, ongoing efforts to restore the financial sector to health, improvements in private demand, and preparation of exit strategies on the fiscal, monetary, and financial fronts. The first of two analytical chapters included in this edition, "Monetary Policy and Asset Prices: What Do We Learn from Booms and Busts?" explores whether there is a role for monetary policy in preventing asset price busts. The second, "Medium-Run Output Evolutions after Crises: A Historical Perspective," explores the effect of large economic shocks on output and its composition, including variations related to initial conditions, the type of shock, and economic policies.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

This issue discusses a number of factors affecting global growth, as well as growth prospects across the world’s main countries and regions. It assesses the ongoing recovery from the global financial crisis in advanced and emerging market economies and evaluates risks, both upside and downside, including those associated with commodity prices, currency fluctuations, and financial market volatility. A special feature examines in detail causes and implications of the recent commodity price downturn; analytical chapters look at the effects of commodity windfalls on potential output and of exchange rate movements on trade.