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International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., and International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
"Despite a long history of program engagement, the Fund has not developed guidance on program design in members of currency unions. The Fund has engaged with members of the four currency unions—the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, the European Monetary Union, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union—under Fund-supported programs. In some cases, union-wide institutions supported their members in undertaking adjustment under Fund-supported programs. As such, several programs incorporated—on an ad hoc basis—critical policy actions that union members had delegated. Providing general guidance on program design for members in a currency union context would fill a gap in Fund policy and help ensure consistent, transparent, and evenhanded treatment across Fund-supported programs. This paper considers two options on when and how the Fund should seek policy assurances from union-level institutions in programs of currency union members. Option 1 would involve amending the Conditionality Guidelines, which would allow the use of standard conditionality tools with respect to actions by union-level institutions. Option 2—which staff prefers—proposes formalizing current practices and providing general guidance regarding principles and modalities on policy assurances from union-level institutions in support of members’ adjustment programs. Neither option would infringe upon the independence (or legally-provided autonomy) of union-level institutions, since the institutions would decide what measures or policy actions to take—just as any independent central bank or monetary authority does, for example, in non-CU members."
Moisés J. Schwartz and Shinji Takagi

Abstract

This volume book brings together nine background papers prepared for an evaluation by the IMF Independent Evaluation Office of “the IMF and the crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.” It presents an authoritative work on the evolving relationship between the IMF and the euro area, a common currency area founded in 1999 consisting of advanced, highly integrated economies in Europe. The euro area, or any common currency area for that matter, has posed challenges to the IMF’s operational activities as its Articles of Agreement contain no provision for joint membership. The challenges became intense when a series of crises erupted in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal from 2009 to 2011, and the Fund was called upon to help intervene by offering its financing and crisis management expertise. The IMF found itself in uncharted territory where there was no precedent or established procedure. The chapters, many of which are prepared by prominent academics and former senior IMF officials who are thoroughly familiar with internal procedures, discuss various aspects of the IMF’s engagement with the euro area, including precrisis surveillance, how key decisions were made, how the IMF collaborated with European institutions, and how it designed and implemented its lending programs with the three crisis countries. The book gives prominence to governance-related issues, given the large voting share (of more than 20 percent) within the IMF of euro area members and the subsequent public perception that the IMF treated the euro area more favorably than it does developing and emerging market members. The approaches are both cross-cutting and country-based. Some chapters deal with issues related to the euro area as a whole, while others focus on how the Fund engaged with individual euro area countries. The book contains a statement on the IEO evaluation by the IMF Managing Director and a Summing Up of the Executive Board discussion held in July 2016.

Goohoon Kwon and Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
This paper assesses the extent of regional financial integration in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by analyzing equity prices in the region and rigidity of external financing constraints. The results are presented in a cross-regional perspective. The Caribbean stock markets are not as well integrated as one would expect from the extent of cross-listing and importance of regional banking groups: price differentials of cross-listed stocks reach an average of 5 percent. Auto-Regressive models suggest that these price differentials are only slowly arbitraged away, with half-lives exceeding 7 worked days, even when looking only at large arbitrage opportunities (using a Threshold Auto-Regressive model). A speculative methodology using macroeconomic data seems to confirm these findings. A strong mean reversion of the current account (respectively regional trade imbalances) is interpreted, following Obstfeld and Taylor (2004), as a lack of ways to finance current account deficits, i.e. a lack of global (respectively regional) financial integration. The region appears to be much less integrated than the EU15 or the ASEAN+3 groups, although it fares well compared to other LDCs.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Abstract

The World Economic Outlook, published twice a year in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic, presents IMF staff economists' analyses of global economic developments during the near and medium term. Chapters give an overview of the world economy; consider issues affecting industrial countries, and economics in transition to market; and address topics of pressing current interest. Annexes, boxes, charts, and an extensive statistical appendix augment the text.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.
Mr. Jörg Decressin and Mr. Piti Disyatat
The paper compares the degree of capital market integration across euro-area countries with that across regions in Italy and provinces in Canada. Analyzing saving-investment correlations, and developing as well as fitting to the data a model of capital flows, reveal no compelling differences between the integration across countries before monetary union and that across the regions or provinces. The evidence does not suggest that EMU will prompt a major reallocation of net capital flows within the euro area that would entail sizable shifts in countries’ equilibrium current accounts.
Norbert Berthold
An important question in the process of European integration concerns the best institutional level for stabilization policies. The theory of fiscal federalism gives criteria for evaluating if fiscal stabilization policies should take place on a centralized or on a decentralized level. This paper firstly discusses the usefulness of such policies. It reaches the conclusion that fiscal stabilization polices are in general not the adequate way of responding to shocks. However, since fiscal stabilization policies appear to be unavoidable for political reasons, the paper secondly discusses on which institutional level such policies should be located. Decentralized fiscal stabilization policies are preferable because they are disciplined more by market forces.

Abstract

During his distinguished career at the IMF, Jacques J. Polak served as both Director of Research and, subsequently as a member of the IMF Executive Board. His distinct contribution to the discipline of international financial policy is highlighted in this book edited by Jacob A. Frenkel and Morris Goldstein. The papers included were prepared for a conference, cosponsored by the Netherlands Bank and the IMF, held in Polak's honor in Washington, D.C., in January 1991.

International Monetary Fund
The issue of whether constraints should be placed on fiscal policies when moving to European monetary union is examined in the context of the use of fiscal policy for macroeconomic stabilization purposes. Examples of shocks hitting French and German economies are considered: an appreciation of their joint exchange rate against other currencies, an inflation shock, and an oil price increase. Except in the third case, flexible use of fiscal policies in the two countries is likely to give better outcomes than a system with constraints on their use. For the oil price shock, there seems to be a good case for policy coordination, not for ceilings on fiscal deficits.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This chapter discusses various aspects of policy coordination in the European Monetary System (EMS). The purpose of the first paper in this chapter is to provide a survey of the process of European monetary integration, with focus on the EMS, its purposes, evolution, and the experience gathered since its establishment in early 1979. In its present stage of evolution, the EMS has developed a body of general institutional procedures to promote consistency among the policies and objectives of participating countries. The search for consistency inevitably gives rise to consequent constraints, such as those implicit in the specific rules on exchange rate and international reserve management that characterize the exchange rate mechanism (ERM). By drawing on an analysis of the role of monetary policy in balance of payments adjustment under different monetary systems and exchange rate arrangements, the second paper focuses on the crucial issues involved when an attempt is made to set rules for monetary policy coordination in a system of fixed but adjustable exchange rates such as the EMS.