International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
China is at an historic juncture. After decades of high-speed growth, the authorities are now focusing on high-quality growth. Whether and how this shift is carried through will determine China’s development path for decades to come. Recent strong growth momentum and significant financial de-risking progress reduce the probability of a near-term abrupt adjustment. Rebalancing accelerated in some dimensions, especially as the current account surplus continued to fall and growth became less dependent on credit, but progress slowed in many other dimensions as exports drove the growth pick up, rather than consumption. And while credit growth has slowed, it remains excessive.
China’s rapid credit expansion in 2009–10 brought local government financing platforms (LGFPs) into the spotlight. This paper discusses their function, reasons behind their recent expansion, and risks they are posing to the financial sector, local governments, and sovereign balance sheet. This paper argues that LGFPs were a fortune for China in the past, but would turn out to be a misfortune if the causes of the rapid expansion of LGFPs are not addressed promptly. In this context, the paper proposes ways to avoid misfortune by: acknowledging and addressing the revenue and expenditure mismatches at the local government level; establishing a comprehensive framework to regulate and supervise local government budgets; ensuring the sustainability of the financial resources obtained from the sale of land use rights; and developing local government bond markets and promoting financial reforms.
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. External Relations Dept.
"Latin America: An End to Boom and Bust?" covers prospects in that region, which has managed to sustain a decade of prosperity after a history of boom and bust cycles. In our cover story, Nicolás Eyzaguirre, Director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department, says Latin America has the potential to become an increasingly important global player. But boosting productivity and competitiveness remain key policy challenges and the fruits of success must be more broadly shared. Other articles on our cover theme look at the prospects for Brazil, inequality in Latin America, and how to raise productivity. Turning from Latin America, we interview former IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, former IMF MD and now head of a group of luminaries tasked with generating ideas on how to make the global monetary system more stable in the wake of the world financial crisis. This issue of F&D also features articles on financial market cycles, public investment in infrastructure, whether to worry about inflation or deflation, democracy and liberalization, how to manage health care spending, and rising food prices. People in Economics profiles growth guru Robert Solow, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in economics. Our regular Back to Basics feature explains financial services. Data Spotlight looks at how access to financial services is growing in developing countries; and Picture This highlights the IMF's new database of public debt since 1880.
The Manual on Fiscal Transparency provides an authoritative account and explanation of the revised IMF Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency (‘the Code’). It expands and updates the 2001 edition of the Manual, which has been used by countries undertaking assessments of the transparency of their fiscal management practices (including so-called ‘fiscal ROSCs’), legislatures, civil society organizations, economists, and financial analysts. Numerous new examples of implementation of the Code by countries in all regions of the world and at different levels of development are included. The Manual, which reflects a public comment process, is also supplemented by the revised Guide on Resource Revenue Transparency. It identifies numerous benefits from fiscal transparency, including providing citizens with information to hold governments accountable for their policy choices, informing and improving the quality of economic policy decisions, highlighting potential risks to the fiscal outlook, and easing a country’s access to international capital markets.
The consumer price index (CPI) measures the rate at which the prices of consumer goods and services are changing over time. It is a key statistic for economic and social policymaking and has substantial and wide-ranging implications for governments, businesses, and 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 principles needed for making choices in efficient and cost-effective ways, and for appreciating the full implications of those choices.
This series contains practical "how-to" information for economists and includes topics such as tax policy, balance of payments statistics, external debt statistics, foreign exchange reserve management, and financial sector assessment.
The Annual Report 2008 to the Board of Governors reviews the IMF's activities and policies during the financial year (May 1, 2007, through April 30, 2008). There are five chapters: (1) Overview: Refocusing the IMF; (2) Developments in the Global Economy and Financial Markets; (3) Fostering Macroeconomic and Financial Stability and Growth Through Surveillance; (4) Program Support and Capacity Building; and (5) Governance, Organization, and Finances. The full financial statements for the year, other appendixes, and materials supplementing the text are provided on a CD-ROM.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Gerd Schwartz, and Mr. Richard Hemming
Over the past three decades, public spending on infrastructure, as a share of GDP, has been on the decline worldwide. Although the link between infrastructure investment and economic growth is not yet fully understood, the quality of infrastructure clearly affects a country's productivity, competitiveness in export markets, and ability to attract foreign investment. This EI explores the following questions: Should countries increase public investment in infrastructure? If the answer is yes, how can they do so in a fiscally responsible manner? Are public-private partnerships a viable alternative?