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Mr. Serhan Cevik
This paper investigates the empirical characteristics of business cycles and the extent of cyclical comovement in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, using various measures of synchronization for non-hydrocarbon GDP and constituents of aggregate demand during the period 1990-2010. By applying the Christiano-Fitzgerald asymmetric band-pass filter and a mean corrected concordance index, the paper identifies the degree of non-hydrocarbon business cycle synchronization?one of the main prerequisites for countries considering to establish a monetary union. The empirical results show low and heterogeneous synchronization in non-hydrocarbon business cycles across the GCC economies, and a decline in the degree of synchronicity in the 2000s, if Kuwait is excluded from the sample, partly because of divergent fiscal policies.
Abdulrahman K Al-Mansouri and Ms. Claudia H Dziobek
The six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-have laid out a path to a common market by 2007 and monetary union by 2010, based on economic convergence. To monitor convergence and support economic and monetary policy, comparable economic data for member countries and data for the region as a whole will be essential. What is the most efficient way to produce these data? The authors survey the statistical institutions in the GCC countries and present the case for creating "Gulfstat"-a regional statistical agency to operate within a "Gulf States System of Statistics." Valuable lessons can be learned from regional statistical organization in Africa and the European Union-Afristat and Eurostat.
Mr. Ugo Fasano-Filho and Ms. Andrea Schaechter

Abstract

The six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)--Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates--have made important progress toward economic and financial integration, with the aim of establishing an economic and monetary union. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the economic performance and policies of the GCC countries during 1990-2002. Drawing on the lessons from the experience of selected currency and monetary unions in Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean, it assesses the potential costs and benefits of a common currency for GCC countries and also reviews the options for implementing a monetary union among these countries.

Mr. Esteban Jadresic
This paper assesses the eventual replacement of the currencies of the GCC countries with a common currency. It concludes that a properly implemented currency union may contribute to enhance economic efficiency in the region, deepen regional integration, and develop its non-oil economy. However, it cautions that a currency union should be seen as only one component of a much broader integration effort. This should include the removal of the distortions that inhibit intraregional trade and investment, agreements on policy frameworks to ensure macroeconomic stability, and further political integration. The paper also addresses the choice of exchange rate arrangement for the unified currency.

Abstract

During his distinguished career at the IMF, Jacques J. Polak served as both Director of Research and, subsequently as a member of the IMF Executive Board. His distinct contribution to the discipline of international financial policy is highlighted in this book edited by Jacob A. Frenkel and Morris Goldstein. The papers included were prepared for a conference, cosponsored by the Netherlands Bank and the IMF, held in Polak's honor in Washington, D.C., in January 1991.