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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Strong economic performance across the Middle East and Central Asia is examined against the background of high prices for energy and other commodities. Common economic trends are presented, while prospects and policies are reviewed for the coming year in light of the global economic environment. This latest REO includes boxes treating specific regional topics, such as financial sector reforms and integration in Maghreb countries; economic developments in oil-exporting countries in response to changes in petroleum prices; and the growth boom in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

International Monetary Fund
Russia’s large oil and gas reserves play a key role in its economic development. As with many other large oil exporters, Russia’s energy wealth is also posing numerous challenges to macroeconomic management. Although fiscal policy has saved a large part of the oil windfall in the Oil Stabilization Fund (OSF), this has not been guided by a consistent long-term framework. The framework is illustrated with numerical simulations of different fiscal spending rules that are consistent with sustainable paths of consumption out of oil and gas wealth over time.
International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the sources of recent growth in Tajikistan. It concludes that economic growth has been mainly driven by the services sector and a surge in remittances that have been mainly used for private consumption and small-scale private investment. The paper summarizes the recently introduced revisions to the Tax Code, which are an evolutionary step in simplifying the tax system and setting the base for better revenue administration. It also examines the likely impact on households of increasing electricity prices to cost-recovery levels.
International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix for Azerbaijan aims to provide a guide to the management of Azerbaijan’s expected natural resource-generated windfall. The paper provides information on Azerbaijan’s endowment of oil and gas deposits and the projected revenue stream, and highlights the common characteristics of policies leading to the mismanagement of natural resource wealth in natural resource-abundant countries. It also outlines a medium- and long-term policy strategy for oil wealth management in Azerbaijan.
Mr. Robert P Flood
This paper re-examines the issue of the existence of threshold effects in the relationship between inflation and growth, using new econometric techniques that provide appropriate procedures for estimation and inference. The threshold level of inflation above which inflation significantly slows growth is estimated at 1-3 percent for industrial countries and 11-12 percent for developing countries. The negative and significant relationship between inflation and growth, for inflation rates above the threshold level, is quite robust with respect to the estimation method, perturbations in the location of the threshold level, the exclusion of high-inflation observations, data frequency, and alternative specifications.
Mr. Michael P. Leidy and Mr. Ali Ibrahim
This paper reviews the extent to which the Fund’s trade policy advice to the Baltic countries, Russia and other countries of the Former Soviet Union has been implemented. It broadly traces the evolution of trade policies, emphasizing the period from mid-1993 through end-1995, attempting to identify some of the factors affecting uneven progress in trade reform. Based on insights from the public choice literature on endogenous policy theory, the paper makes recommendations for refining Fund advice with a view to facilitating future progress on the trade-policy front.
Mr. Julio Escolano and Mr. Parthasarathi Shome
Two possible tax policy strategies for the NIS are: (1) an optimal nondistortionary tax structure as a one-shot action; and (2) a structure with identifiable and clearly understood distortionary elements as a temporary phenomenon to close the fiscal gap. An assessment of NIS tax structures reveals that they conform to neither. They are rapidly acquiring complex features comprising multiple rates, exemptions, and other difficult-to administer properties, with uncertain ramifications for efficiency, equity, and the fiscal deficit. Steady--and perhaps prolonged--effort needs to be made if simple, broad-based, and revenue-productive tax structures are to be achieved. This is a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment and the author(s) would welcome any comments on the present text. Citations should refer to a Paper on Policy Analysis and Assessment of the International Monetary Fund, mentioning the author(s) and the date of issuance. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Fund.