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Mr. Rabah Arezki and Mr. Akito Matsumoto

Abstract

A survey of the complex and intertwined set of forces behind the various commodity markets and the interplay between these markets and the global economy. Summarizes a rich set of facts combined with in-depth analyses distillated in a nontechnical manner. Includes discussion of structural trends behind commodities markets, their future implications, and policy implications.

Mark Agerton, Peter Hartley, Kenneth Medlock III, and Ted Temzelides
Technological progress in the exploration and production of oil and gas during the 2000s has led to a boom in upstream investment and has increased the domestic supply of fossil fuels. It is unknown, however, how many jobs this boom has created. We use time-series methods at the national level and dynamic panel methods at the state-level to understand how the increase in exploration and production activity has impacted employment. We find robust statistical support for the hypothesis that changes in drilling for oil and gas as captured by rig-counts do in fact, have an economically meaningful and positive impact on employment. The strongest impact is contemporaneous, though months later in the year also experience statistically and economically meaningful growth. Once dynamic effects are accounted for, we estimate that an additional rig-count results in the creation of 37 jobs immediately and 224 jobs in the long run, though our robustness checks suggest that these multipliers could be bigger.
International Monetary Fund
The staff report highlights that the economy of Kiribati showed resilience from the global crisis owing to infrastructure projects financed by foreign assistance. Executive Directors stressed the importance of preserving real per capita value of the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund to ensure fiscal sustainability and intergenerational fairness. They appreciated the multiyear budget framework, which helped in designing realistic fiscal plans. Directors noted the joint IMF-World Bank debt sustainability analysis and encouraged authorities to secure grant financing to support the country’s development needs.
International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses key findings of the Fourth Review Under the Stand–By Arrangement for Belarus. All end-December quantitative and continuous performance criteria and structural benchmarks were met. Discussions focused on confirming the authorities’ commitment to program objectives, including with regard to lending under government programs, and on measures to reduce or offset the effects of higher prices on oil imports. The authorities also proposed to increase domestic prices of oil products and restructure the oil refining industry to reduce the need for subsidies.
Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, Miss Taline Koranchelian, and Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados
Subsidy reform has been a key component of the pre-accession reform agenda of the 10 new member states that joined the EU in 2004 (EU-10). During the pre-accession period, these countries had to undertake a number of important structural reforms in their economies. One of the most critical reforms was to reduce, and in some cases, eliminate their subsidy programs. This paper analyzes how key subsidy reforms (in state aid to enterprises, agriculture, energy, and transportation) were carried out in the EU-10 during 1995–2005, and explains observed variations across types of subsidies and across countries. Based on an extensive qualitative analysis, the paper draws lessons for future successful reforms of government subsidies. 32B
Mr. Francisco José Veiga and Mr. Ari Aisen
The purpose of this paper is to empirically determine the causes of worldwide diversity of inflation volatility. We show that higher degrees of political instability, ideological polarization, and political fragmentation are associated with higher inflation volatility.
International Monetary Fund
Gabon continues to enjoy record high oil prices, buoying both exports and government revenues. The critical medium-term challenge facing Gabon is managing the transition from an economy highly dependent on oil to a diversified economy that harnesses private sector initiative, and makes decisive progress in poverty reduction. The fiscal policy stance requires significant tightening. Raising economic growth and reducing poverty necessitate the acceleration of the structural reform agenda. Fostering transparency is a key ingredient to strengthening governance and accountability in Gabon.
Mr. Ari Aisen and Mr. Francisco José Veiga
Economists generally accept the proposition that high inflation rates generate inefficiencies that reduce society's welfare and economic growth. However, determining the causes of the worldwide diversity of inflationary experiences is an important challenge not yet satisfactorily confronted by the profession. Based on a dataset covering around 100 countries for the period 1960-99 and using modern panel data econometric techniques to control for endogeneity, this paper shows that a higher degree of political instability is associated with higher inflation. The paper also draws relevant policy implications for the optimal design of inflation-stabilization programs and of the institutions favorable to price stability.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that the fight against worldwide inflation was the main theme of the Finance Ministers and central bank Governors from 138 member countries that participated in the 1979 Annual Meeting of the IMF’s Board of Governors in Belgrade in October 1979. Unlike the agenda for the 1978 Meeting, which contained a number of single issues, such as quota increases and special drawing rights allocations, requiring specific decisions and action, the 1979 Meeting was devoted principally to a wide-ranging discussion of the world’s economic problems.