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Thomas McGregor
How do oil price movements affect sovereign spreads in an oil-dependent economy? I develop a stochastic general equilibrium model of an economy exposed to co-moving oil price and output processes, with endogenous sovereign default risk. The model explains a large proportion of business cycle fluctuations in interest-rate spreads in oil-exporting emerging market economies, particularly the countercyclicallity of interest rate spreads and oil prices. Higher risk-aversion, more impatient governments, larger oil shares and a stronger correlation between domestic output and oil price shocks all lead to stronger co-movements between risk premiums and the oil price.
Carolina Correa-Caro, Leandro Medina, Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, and Mr. Bennett W Sutton
Using financial statement data from the Thomson Reuter’s Worldscope database for 22,333 non-financial firms in 52 advanced and emerging economies, this paper examines how fiscal stimulus (i.e., changes in structural deficit) interacted with sectoral business cycle sensitivity affected corporate profitability during the recovery period of the global financial crisis (GFC). Using cross-sectional analyses, our findings indicate that corporate profitability improved significantly after the GFC fiscal stimulus, especially in manufacturing, utilities and retail sectors. Firm size and leverage are also found to be significant in explaining changes in corporate profitability.
Ms. Pritha Mitra, Amr Hosny, Gohar Abajyan, and Mr. Mark Fischer
The Middle East and Central Asia’s economic growth potential is slowing faster than in other emerging and developing regions, dampening hopes for reducing persistent unemployment and improving the region’s generally low living standards. Why? And is it possible to alter this course? This paper addresses these questions by estimating potential growth, examining its supply-side drivers, and assessing which of them could be most effective in raising potential growth. The analysis reveals that the region’s potential growth is expected to slow by ¾ of a percentage point more than the EMDC average over the next five years. The reasons behind this slowdown differ across the region. Lower productivity growth drives the slowdown in the Caucasus and Central Asia and is also weighing on growth across the Middle East (MENAP); while a lower labor contribution to potential growth is the main driver in MENAP. Moving forward, given some natural constraints on labor, total factor productivity growth is key to unlocking the region’s higher growth potential. For oil importers, raising physical capital accumulation through greater investment will also play an important role.
Mr. James M. Boughton


The world and the IMF have undergone profound changes since the Bretton Woods Conference. James Boughton, former historian of the IMF, looks at key events that have shaped the IMF and the international scene. From the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to the Great Recession, this essay focuses on 11 events in history that have influenced the design and work of the IMF, as well as the international monetary system. This booklet, prepared for the 70th anniversary of the IMF, is an excerpt from a longer essay that is available on the IMF eLibrary. It is an excellent primer on the motivation behind the founding of the IMF and the evolution of the organization.

Mr. Ron Alquist and Mr. Olivier Coibion
We present a simple macroeconomic model with a continuum of primary commodities used in the production of the final good, such that the real prices of commodities have a factor structure. One factor captures the combined contribution of all aggregate shocks which have no direct effects on commodity markets other than through general equilibrium effects on output, while other factors represent direct commodity shocks. Thus, the factor structure provides a decomposition of underlying structural shocks. The theory also provides guidance on how empirical factors can be rotated to identify the structural factors. We apply factor analysis and the identification conditions implied by the model to a cross-section of real non-energy commodity prices. The theoretical restrictions implied by the model are consistent with the data and thus yield a structural interpretation of the common factors in commodity prices. The analysis suggests that commodity-related shocks have generally played a limited role in global business cycle fluctuations.
Mr. Ruben V Atoyan, Mr. Dustin Smith, and Mr. Albert Jaeger
A push-pull-brake model of capital flows is used to study the effects of fiscal policy changes on private capital flows to emerging Europe during 2000-07. In the model, countercyclical fiscal policy has two opposing effects on capital inflows: (i) a conventional absorptionreducing effect, as a tighter fiscal stance acts as a brake on capital flows; and (ii) an unconventional absorption-boosting effect, as a tighter fiscal stance increases investor confidence in the country. The empirical results suggest that push factors (low returns in flow-originating countries), rather than pull factors (high returns in flow-destination countries), drove most of the private capital flows to emerging Europe. And active countercyclical fiscal policy once the fiscal stance is adjusted for the automatic effects on the fiscal position of both internal and external imbalances acted as a brake on capital inflows. However, the empirical results also suggest that, even abstracting from political feasibility and fiscal policy lag considerations, countercyclical fiscal policy alone is unlikely to be an effective policy tool to put an effective brake on sudden capital flow surges.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Raphael A Espinoza, and Mrs. Sarwat Jahan
This paper documents the expanding economic linkages between low-income countries (LICs) and a narrow group of "Emerging Market leaders" that have become major players in regional and global trade and financial flows. VAR models show that these linkages have increased the share of growth volatility that can be attributed to foreign shocks in LICs. Dynamic panel models further analyze the impact of LIC trade orientation and production structure on the sensitivity to foreign shocks. The empirical results demonstrate that the elasticity of growth to trading partners' growth is high for LICs in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia. However, for commodity-exporting LICs in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, terms of trade shocks and demand from the emerging market leaders are the main channels of transmission of foreign shocks.
Ms. Magda E. Kandil and Mrs. Hanan Morsy
Across a sample of thirty four emerging countries, the evidence shows the frequent existence of a pro-cyclical fiscal impulse. However, the scope for countercyclical policy increases with the availability of international reserves as it enhances credibility and mitigates concerns about the effect of expansionary fiscal policy on the cost of borrowing and debt service. The paper also examines the effectiveness of the fiscal policy in emerging countries in the short- and long-run and its underlying conditions, which does not appear to be uniform. In some cases, contractionary fiscal policy could stimulate growth in the short-run, if fiscal tightness lowers the cost of borrowing and debt service, and mitigates concerns about debt sustainability. However, an increase in international reserves is evident to mitigate these concerns. On the other hand, high inflation increases concerns about the impact of fiscal spending on inflationary expectations and the cost of borrowing, countering the effectiveness of the fiscal stimulus on output growth in the short-run. Where the debt burden is high, fiscal expansion has a longlasting negative effect on real growth.
Mr. Christian B. Mulder and Brieuc Monfort
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has proposed linking capital requirements for bank loans to ratings by commercial credit rating agencies. Estimates for 20 emerging market economies show that sovereign ratings react procyclically to crisis indicators. Ratings deteriorate if the real effective exchange rate depreciates, in contrast with the positive effect on overall debt service capacity depreciations are normally supposed to have. Simulations show that linking capital requirements to ratings would have drastically increased these requirements during the crisis periods after decreasing them in the run up to the crises. Simulations suggest modest efficiency gains of using sovereign credit ratings for capital requirements on emerging market lending.