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International Monetary Fund


The past year was one of growing economic anxiety tied to skepticism about both economic integration and an international approach to economic policy making. To help make globalization work for all, the IMF focused on providing policy advice in many macro-critical areas.

Allan Dizioli, Mr. Philippe D Karam, Mr. Dirk V Muir, and Siegfried Steinlein
This paper revisits options for fiscal anchors in Australia against the backdrop of a medium-term budget balance anchor that has led to larger than expected upward drift in the net debt to GDP ratio since the end of the mining investment boom. The IMF’s G20MOD model is used to compare the budget balance anchor with a long-term debt anchor. Using model simulations evaluated against objective macro stabilization-debt control criteria under three likely scenarios for the Australian economy, the latter is found to perform at least as well as the former. The paper also considers the operationalization of a long-term debt anchor utilizing a combination of fiscal rules which includes expenditure restrictions and a flexible time horizon for convergence, aiming at encouraging countercyclical fiscal policy and minimizing the cost in terms of real GDP foregone in the medium term under fiscal consolidation.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper employs a suite of models to determine the main drivers of inflation in Poland. Inflation in Poland has stayed below the lower bound of the target band for about two years with external shocks adding to downward pressure during 2014. The paper provides a range of inflation forecasts to assess the likelihood of protracted low inflation. The paper considers the main factors underlying recent inflation developments and assesses the importance of first-round indirect and second-round effects of external shocks for headline inflation. Using a variety of models, the paper also provides possible forecast paths for inflation in Poland.
Mr. Vadim Khramov and Mr. John Ridings Lee
Existing economic indicators and indexes assess economic activity but no single indicator measures the general macro-economic performance of a nation, state, or region in a methodologically simple and intuitive way. This paper proposes a simple, yet informative metric called the Economic Performance Index (EPI). The EPI represents a step toward clarity, by combining data on inflation, unemployment, government deficit, and GDP growth into a single indicator. In contrast to other indexes, the EPI does not use complicated mathematical procedures but was designed for simplicity, making it easier for professionals and laypeople alike to understand and apply to the economy. To maximize ease of understanding, we adopt a descriptive grading system. In addition to a Raw EPI that gives equal weights to its components, we construct a Weighted EPI and show that both indexes perform similarly for U.S. data. To demonstrate the validity of the EPI, we conduct a review of U.S. history from 1790 to 2012. We show that the EPI reflects the major events in U.S. history, including wars, periods of economic prosperity and booms, along with economic depressions, recessions, and even panics. Furthermore, the EPI not only captures official recessions over the past century but also allows for measuring and comparing their relative severity. Even though the EPI is simple by its construction, we show that its dynamics are similar to those of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) and The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index® (CEI).
Ms. Yuanyan S Zhang
This paper analyzes the role of credit market imperfection and sectoral asymmetry as a means through which shocks to the real economy are propagated and amplified. Drawing on firm-level data to calibrate the model, our simulations capture two key stylized facts of the Chinese economy: that credit constraints are more binding in nontradable sectors than in tradable industries and that output volatility is much greater in China than in industrial economies. We find that the driving force behind our simulation results is strongly related to the non-uniform nature of credit market imperfections in China and their implications for resource allocation and the way in which the economy reacts to shocks. Correctly capturing these macro-financial interactions are essential to understand the dynamic behavior of the Chinese economy.
Ms. Jodi G Scarlata, Mr. Juan Sole, and Alicia Novoa
In light of the uncertainties about valuation highlighted by the 2007-2008 market turbulence, this paper provides an empirical examination of the potential procyclicality that fair value accounting (FVA) could introduce in bank balance sheets. The paper finds that, while weaknesses in the FVA methodology may introduce unintended procyclicality, it is still the preferred framework for financial institutions. It concludes that capital buffers, forward-looking provisioning, and more refined disclosures can mitigate the procyclicality of FVA. Going forward, the valuation approaches for accounting, prudential measures, and risk management need to be reconciled and will require adjustments on the part of all parties.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.