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Ms. Christina Kolerus, Mr. Papa M N'Diaye, and Christian Saborowski
This note assesses empirically the role Chinese activity plays in global commodities markets, showing that the strength of China’s economic activity has a significant bearing on commodity prices, but that the impact differs across commodity markets, with industrial production shocks having a substantial impact on metals and crude oil prices and less so on food prices. The size of the impact on the prices of specific commodities varies with China’s footprint in the market for those commodities; the empirical estimates indicate that, over a one-year horizon, a 1 percent increase in industrial production leads to a 5–7 percent rise in metals and fuel prices. The surprise component in Chinese industrial production announcements has a bearing on commodity prices that is comparable in magnitude to that of industrial production surprises in the United States, and this impact is much larger when global risk aversion is high.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Swiss economy returned to growth in 2004, supported by external demand and domestic policies. However, the recovery has been fragile, the IMF said in its annual economic review. Growth is projected to continue in 2005, although at a slower pace. The IMF Executive Board commended Switzerland’s sound economic management and flexible labor markets, which have secured low inflation and unemployment, and a high standard of living.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In a news brief issued on June 22, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus expressed his support for the debt relief initiative proposed at the Cologne summit. The text of News Brief 99/33, which follows, is also available on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).

Mr. Robert A Feldman and Mr. Vincent Reinhart

A good deal of the trade in goods, services, and assets over time, both within and across countries, involves auctions, particularly when a government or international organization is on one side of the transaction. While the particulars vary, an auction allows public access, monitoring, and equal treatment for participants at a level not normally secured when parties negotiate among themselves. Despite their importance to the public purse and the large body of work on bidding theory, practical advice on auction choice is limited. The complexity of the relevant theory is not the hurdle, since there are many accessible summaries available, including Feldman and Mehra (1993), Milgrom (1989). McAfee and McMillan (1987), and Reinhart (1992). Rather, the problem appears to be that there are few simple, applied examples of the importance of auction format beyond the classroom experiments represented by Kagel and others (1989). In practice, the auction format chosen by the seller is implicitly based on a prior (and unobservable) assessment of bidder behavior, as explained in Hansen (1985). Also, real-world experiments with award technique—as in the U.S. Treasury’s sale of bonds in the early 1970s—are usually accompanied by several changes in selling technique and not simply a change in auction format alone.

Mr. Robert A Feldman and Mr. Vincent Reinhart
This paper evaluates the importance of auction format on bidding behavior and seller revenue, focusing on differences in performance under uniform-price and discriminatory-price formats. The analysis is based on a standard benchmark model from which empirically-testable hypotheses are derived on the optimal amount of bid shading that generates revenue equivalence between the two formats. Applying this model to data from the IMF gold auctions run in 1976-80, we find evidence of statistically significant shading in excess of the theoretically-derived optimum under the discriminatory format. This evidence suggests greater seller revenue under the uniform-price format.
Mr. M. G O'Callaghan

Abstract

This paper describes the structure of the world gold market, its sources of supply and demand, and how it functions. The paper examines the composition and origin of physical stocks of gold, their flows, and their market destination and also reviews the operation of bullion and paper gold markets.

Mr. M. G O'Callaghan
This paper describes the structure of the world gold market, its sources of supply and demand, and how it functions. The market has three principal functions in three major locations: the New York futures market speculates on spot prices, which are largely determined in London, whereas physical gold is in large part shipped through Zurich. The market is dominated by large suppliers and gold holders, including monetary authorities. Some unique characteristics of the gold market ensure confidentiality, and as a result, there are gaps in existing knowledge and data. The paper identifies and attempts to fill these gaps.
Mr. Joseph Gold

Abstract

Written by Joseph Gold, former General Counsel and now Senior Consultant at the IMF, these volumes contain discussions of the ever-increasing body of cases in which the Articles have had bearing on issues before the courts.

Mr. Joseph Gold

Abstract

Written by Joseph Gold, former General Counsel and now Senior Consultant at the IMF, these volumes contain discussions of the ever-increasing body of cases in which the Articles have had a bearing on issues before the courts.

Mr. Joseph Gold

This installment in the series of articles dealing with litigation involving the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund takes up two main topics. The first topic is the application by courts in the United States, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Austria of units of account defined in treaties as equivalent to a quantity of gold. In all but the French case, a solution based on the SDR was considered and sometimes adopted. The second topic is the relationship between provisions of the Articles and of the Treaty of Rome with respect to capital movements. The discussion is based on a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Communities.