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Mr. Abdul d Abiad, Mr. Ashoka Mody, Ms. Susan M Schadler, and Mr. Daniel Leigh

Abstract

The central challenges facing the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia as they work to catch up to advanced European Union (EU) income levels are discussed in this new book. Focusing on the region’s growth performance, and outlining two growth scenarios that illustrate the range of investment and productivity growth rates under the income catchup objective, the authors draw upon extensive resources to identify strengths and weaknesses.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
La edición en Internet del Boletín del FMI, que se actualiza varias veces a la semana, contiene numerosos artículos sobre temas de actualidad en el ámbito de las políticas y la economía. Consulte las últimas investigaciones del FMI, lea entrevistas y escuche podcasts de los principales economistas del FMI sobre importantes temas relacionados con la economía mundial. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
L’édition web du Bulletin du FMI est mise à jour plusieurs fois par semaine et contient de nombreux articles sur des questions de politique générale et de politique économique d'actualité. Accédez aux dernières recherches du FMI, lisez des interviews et écoutez des podcasts proposés par les principaux économistes du FMI sur des questions importantes de l'économie mondiale. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
Mr. Yuan Xiao, Mr. Robert M Burgess, and Ms. Stefania Fabrizio

Abstract

Large current account deficits in Estonia and Latvia, and the continued real appreciation of the exchange rate in Lithuania, have prompted concerns about the competitiveness of the Baltic economies, and called into question the sustainability of their current fixed exchange rate arrangements. Recent external performance, however, appears to be explained more by temporary or cyclical developments than by a deterioration in the underlying competitive position of the Baltic economies. This book assesses the competitive position of the Baltic countries and focuses, in particular, on the viability of the countries’ strategy of maintaining their fixed exchange rates on joining the European Union, participating in its exchange rate mechanism, and then adopting the euro at the earliest possible date.

Niamh Sheridan, Mr. Alfred Schipke, Ms. Susan M George, and Mr. Christian H. Beddies

Abstract

In just over a decade after independence, the three Baltic countries, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, have transformed themselves into fully functioning, small open-market economies that will be joining the European Union. Capital Markets and Financial Intermediation in The Baltics analyzes the financial systems of the three countries and discusses some of their unique characteristics. The study also examines current distortions of the systems and discusses whether or not the Baltics should move from an almost exclusively bank-based system to one that relies more on capital markets. In the process, it addresses issues of corporate governance and regional integration.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Ten years after regaining independence, the Baltic Countries--Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania--are expected to be invited to join the European Union (EU) and NATO in 2004. This paper provides a macroeconomic perspective on the Baltics' remarkable economic success to date and of the fiscal challenges that the Baltics face in joining the EU and NATO. The authors offer guidance in this regard by deriving some principles on the appropriate medium-term fiscal stance for the Baltics based on theory and empirical evidence. They examine the experience of countries that acceded to the EU earlier-Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain-and develop three medium-term analytical frameworks to illustrate the fiscal tensions and trade-offs. Their primary advice supports the Baltic authorities' decision to maintain prudent fiscal policy by balancing their budgets over the economic cycle. Curtailing nonpriority spending may be politically difficult, but the Baltic countries are well placed to meet such challenges, and the benefits-more efficient public spending, enhanced growth prospects, and accelerated real convergence with the EU-make this effort worthwhile.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
To assist Argentina in its efforts to tackle an extremely difficult economic crisis and develop an effective recovery program, IMF Managing Director Horst Kohler announced the appointment of a panel of distinguished monetary policy advisors and IMF Executive Board approval of the country’s request for an extension of a repayment to the IMF due later this month.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Earlier this year, Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané took over as Director of the IMF’s African Department. Before joining the IMF staff, he was Benin’s Minister of Finance and Economy. He began his career as an economist in the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), where he rose to become Director of the Economic and Monetary Survey Department. He recently returned from a one-week trip with IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler to Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, and Tanzania. At the end of the trip, on May 3, Köhler announced that the IMF plans to establish five regional centers in Africa to strengthen locally based technical assistance and training.