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Zsoka Koczan, Magali Pinat, and Mr. Dmitriy L Rozhkov
International migration is an important channel of material improvement for individuals and their offspring. The movement of people across country borders, especially from less developed to richer countries, has a substantial impact in several dimensions. First, it affects the migrants themselves by allowing them to achieve higher income as a result of their higher productivity in the destination country. It also increases the expected income for their offspring. Second, it affects the destination country through the impact on labor markets, productivity, innovation, demographic structure, fiscal balance, and criminality. Third, it can have a significant impact on the countries of origin. It may lead to loss of human capital, but it also creates a flow of remittances and increases international connections in the form of trade, FDI, and technological transfers. This paper surveys our understanding of how migration affects growth and inequality through the impact on migrants themselves as well as on the destination and origin countries.
Miss Mercedes Vera Martin, Mr. Tarak Jardak, Mr. Robert Tchaidze, Mr. Juan P Trevino, and Mrs. Helen W Wagner
External shocks since 2014—lower oil prices and slower growth in key trading partners—have put financial sectors, mainly banks, in the eight Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries under increased stress.  Even before the shocks, CCA banking sectors were not at full strength. Asset quality was generally weak, due in part to shortcomings in regulation, supervision, and governance. The economies were highly dollarized. Business practices were affected by lack of competition and, in most countries, connected lending, which undermined banking sector health. Shortcomings in financial regulation and supervision allowed the unsound banking practices to remain unaddressed. The external shocks exacerbated in these underlying vulnerabilities. Strains in CCA banking sectors intensified as liquidity tightened, asset quality deteriorated, and banks became undercapitalized. These challenges have required public intervention in some cases.
Mr. Norbert Funke, Asel Isakova, and Maksym Ivanyna
Using data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report as an example, this paper compares structural indicators for 25 countries in Emerging Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia with a generic country with similar charactersitics that is 40 percent richer as well as a country with the average EU income. This comparison suggests that improvements will be particularly crucial in the areas of institutions, financial market development, infrastructure, goods and labor market efficiency and areas related to innovation. For the generally more ambitious goal of reaching average EU income, the reform needs are correspondingly larger. The methodology focuses on (approximate) comparisons between countries and does not try to establish the link between structural reforms and growth. While we test for changes in empirical specifications, caveats relate to the quality of structural indicators, possible non-linearities, and reform complementarities. The approach can be applied to other indicators and at a more granular level.
Juliana Dutra Araujo, Mr. Antonio David, Carlos van Hombeeck, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
Low-income countries (LIDCs) are typically characterized by intermittent and very modest access to private external funding sources. Motivated by recent developments in private flows to LIDCs this paper makes two contributions: First, it constructs a new comprehensive dataset on gross private capital flows with special focus on non-FDI flows in LIDCs. Concentrating on LIDCs and more specifically on gross non-FDI private flows is intentionally aimed at closing a gap in existing datasets where country coverage of developing economies is limited mainly to emerging markets (EMs). Second, using the new data, it identifies several shifting patterns of gross non-FDI private inflows to LIDCs. A surprising fact emerges: since the mid 2000's periods of surges in gross non-FDI private inflows in LIDCs are broadly comparable to those of EMs. Moreover, while gross non-FDI inflows to LIDCs are on average much lower than those to EMs, we show that the LIDC top quartile gross non-FDI inflow is comparable to the EM median inflow and converging to the EM top quartile inflow.
Mr. Paolo Dudine, Sibabrata Das, Ms. Pritha Mitra, Yongzheng Yang, Eteri Kvintradze, and Miss Nkunde Mwase
Low-income countries were hit especially hard by sharp increases in world food and fuel prices in 2007-08 and the global financial crisis that followed. In response, the International Monetary Fund scaled up its financial assistance to low-income countries and revamped its concessional lending facilities to make them more flexible in meeting the diverse needs of these countries. Creating Policy Space in Low-Income Countries during the Recent Crises assesses empirically the outcome of the IMF response, and provides insight into how IMF-supported programs in low-income countries have been adapted to the changing economic circumstances in these countries. The authors report that these programs have provided expanded policy space in the face of the global price shocks and financial crisis.
Ms. Stefania Fabrizio
This forthcoming title in the Departmental Paper Series describes the special challenges facing low-income countries as economic growth contracts by an estimated 1.1 percent globally. Coping with the Crisis: Challenges Facing Low-Income Countries provides an assessment of the implications of the financial crisis for low-income countries, evaluates the short-term macroeconomic outlook for these countries, and discusses the policy challenges they face. Chapters cover the outlook for global economic growth and commodity prices, an overview of how low-income countries have been affected, fiscal policy, monetary and exchange rate policy responses, potential external financing needs and how the international community, including the IMF, can help countries meet them. The challenges ahead for low-income countries are delineated, including debt vulnerabilities and the need for countries to develop well-regulated local capital markets and banking systems, as well as enhanced public sector efficiency.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The IMF's 2009 Annual Report chronicles the response of the Fund's Executive Board and staff to the global financial crisis and other events during financial year 2009, which covers the period from May 1, 2008, through April 30, 2009. The print version of the Report is available in eight languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish), along with a CD-ROM (available in English only) that includes the Report text and ancillary materials, including the Fund's Financial Statements for FY2009.

International Monetary Fund
An analysis of recent programs in low-income countries, covering countries with continuous program engagement with the IMF throughout the period 2007-09, shows that program design has been adapted to provide expanded policy space in response to the food and fuel price shocks of 2007-08 and to the global financial crisis that followed. The analysis also finds that structural conditionality in Fund-supported programs in low-income countries has become more streamlined, with a dominant focus on public sector resource management and accountability.
Mr. Holger Floerkemeier and Mariusz A. Sumlinski
In recent years, the South Caucasus and Central Asia countries (CCA-6) have received significant foreign exchange inflows. While a healthy reserve buffer is desirable to selfinsure against external crises, holding international reserves also involves costs. We analyze the adequacy of CCA-6 reserves using widely recognized rules of thumb, and simulate optimal reserve levels applying the Jeanne (2007) model. Both the adequacy measures and the model-based simulations indicate that, with the exception of Tajikistan, CCA-6 reserves had increased to broadly comfortable levels by 2006. More recently, reserve adequacy has been tested in Kazakhstan, which has been affected by the 2007 global liquidity crunch.