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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper reports the second event organized by the Per Jacobsson Foundation in 2008 that took place on Sunday, October 12, in the auditorium of the International Finance Corporation in Washington, DC, in the context of the Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. From time to time—usually every two years—an additional event is organized in conjunction with the Bank for International Settlements and held in the context of its Annual General Meeting in Switzerland. The Per Jacobsson Foundation was established in 1964 to commemorate the work of Per Jacobsson, the third Managing Director of the IMF (1956–1963) and prior to that, the head of the Monetary and Economic Department of the Bank for International Settlements (1931–1956). The main purposes of the Foundation are to foster and stimulate discussion of international monetary problems, to support basic research in this field, and to disseminate the results of these activities.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
Vol. 54, No. 2 includes three notable contributions from the Seventh Jacques Polak Annual Research Conference (ARC) hosted by the IMF in November 2006. Its lead paper, by Olivier Blanchard of Harvard University, is the 2006 Mundell-Fleming Lecture (delivered at the ARC), which analyzes current-account deficits in the advanced economies. Other papers in this issue look at the relationship between international financial integration and the real economy. Other papers discuss whether (or not): i) the next capital account crisis can be predicted; ii) accepted definitions of debt crises are adequate; iii) the Doha Round of trade talks (if they are ever successfully completed) will lead to preference erosion; and finally iv) there is room for political opportunism in countries deciding between money-based or exchange-rate-based stabilization programs.
Ms. Inci Ötker

Abstract

Many countries have moved towards more flexible exchange rate regimes over the last decade to take advantage of greater monetary policy autonomy and flexibility in responding to external shocks. Some reluctance to let go of pegged exchange rates persists, however, despite the benefits of flexibility. The institutional and operational requirements needed to support a floating exchange rate, as well as difficulties in assessing the right time and manner to exit, tend to be additional factors in this reluctance. This volume presents the concrete steps taken by a number of countries in transition to greater exchange rate flexibility and elaborates on the operational ingredients that proved helpful in promoting successful and durable transitions. It attempts to provide a better understanding (and hence a "road map") of how these various operational ingredients were established and coordinated, how their implementation interacted with macro and other conditions, and how they contributed to the smoothness of each transition.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
El Boletín del FMI aborda de manera específica el trabajo del FMI y los grandes temas macroeconómicos y financieros internacionales y ofrece análisis sobre la evolución en los distintos países y regiones y en el mundo; información sobre las operaciones, políticas, reformas y asistencia técnica del FMI; síntesis de las principales investigaciones económicas mundiales; datos fundamentales que no suelen estar disponibles en otras fuentes, e informes sobre debates económicos y financieros que tienen lugar dentro y fuera del FMI. Este boletín de 16 páginas, publicado 12 veces al año, está orientado a una vasta audiencia, que incluye autoridades de política económica, analistas, profesionales del mundo académico y de los medios de difusión y estudiantes. Disponible en inglés, español y francés.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
En mettant l’accent sur le travail du FMI et sur les grandes questions macroéconomiques et financières internationales, le Bulletin du FMI présente une analyse des développements nationaux, régionaux et mondiaux, des informations sur le travail, les politiques, les réformes et les activités d'assistance technique du FMI, les conclusions d'études de calibre mondial, des données essentielles qui ne sont souvent pas disponibles ailleurs, ainsi que des rapports sur les discussions économiques et financières au sein du FMI et ailleurs. Publié douze fois par an, ce bulletin de seize pages s'adresse à un large public : dirigeants, analystes, chercheurs, étudiants et journalistes. Disponible en anglais, français et espagnol.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
De Rato on global imbalances; Committee to study IMF finances; IMF management change; Country briefs: Maldives, Israel; Emerging soverign debt markets; Euro area imbalances; Preference erosion; Import protection; Effects of IMF program; ECOSOC meeting.
Mr. Robert P Flood
This paper analyzes the financial implications of the 1956 crisis of nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egypt. It examines the regional distribution of public employment in Italy. The paper quantifies the impact of changes in the U.S. monetary policy on sovereign bond spreads in emerging market countries. Specifically, the paper explores empirically how country risk, as proxied by sovereign bond spreads, is influenced by U.S. monetary policy, country-specific fundamentals, and conditions in global capital markets. Modeling the IMF’s statistical discrepancy in the global current account is also discussed.
Mr. Mark Zelmer and Ms. Andrea Schaechter

Abstract

This report on Adopting Inflation Targeting describes the trade-offs raised in the formulation of an inflation targeting framework and states the approaches to these trade-offs used by inflation targeting countries. The inherent differences discussed in this report between the six emerging market inflation targeting countries—Brazil, Chile, the Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, and South Africa—and other emerging market countries may shed some light on the preferred starting point and conditions for inflation targeting. Most central banks in emerging market countries have taken important organizational steps to enhance their capacity to apply greater judgment and foster transparency and accountability. These steps can be particularly challenging for emerging market central banks that have traditionally operated with controls and regulations and have been reluctant to communicate their policy intentions and economic outlooks. During the transition to full-fledged inflation targeting, several emerging market countries have confronted the challenge of dis-inflating to the long-run inflation objective.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on February 1, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus addressed the role of the IMF at the start ofa new century. In his remarks, Camdessus emphasized the institution’s ability to adapt to the challenges of a continually evolving global economy—in its response to both the needs of its members and the systemic needs of the global economy. He stressed that the IMF’s responsibilities to its members extended beyond crisis prevention— that is, its surveillance function—to include poverty reduction and crisis management. On the global front, Camdessus said, calls for reform of the international financial architecture implied greater economic policy coordination and cooperation among all nations and with international institutions to maintain global stability and reduce the incidence and severity of financial crises. Following are edited excerpts of Camdessus’s remarks. The full text is available on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).
Mr. Eric V. Clifton
This paper investigates the meaning of the bottom of target bands in inflation targeting regimes. It is argued that the design of lower limits on target bands, if not done with care, can lead to a lack of transparency, potentially confusing markets about how the authorities will react to a fall in inflation. After first discussing the conceptual issues, the paper then examines the experience with target bands in New Zealand, Israel and Canada and explores how the conceptual issues have played out in practice.