Major mining commodity prices are inherently volatile and cyclical. High levels of investment in China have been a key driver in the strong world demand for minerals and metals over the past decade. The urbanization and industrialization of China has been an important factor behind the increase in domestic demand and high investment growth, while its export sector is also an important source of growth and plays a critical role as a catalyst. Activity in infrastructure, construction, real estate, and automobile manufacturing all contribute to the strong demand for minerals. Over the next five years, the Chinese demand is expected to remain strong, supported by investment and gradually rising consumption rates. However, in the second part of this decade economic growth in China could slow down. For Latin American countries, export receipts should remain strong over the next five years and beyond, given the continued strong demand from China.
This paper analyzes the scope for systematic rules-based fiscal activism in open economies. Relative to a balanced budget rule, automatic stabilizers significantly improve welfare. But they minimize fiscal instrument volatility rather than business cycle volatility. A more aggressively countercyclical tax revenue gap rule increases welfare gains by around 50 percent, with only modest increases in fiscal instrument volatility. For raw materials revenue gaps the government should let automatic stabilizers work. The best fiscal instruments are targeted transfers, consumption taxes and labor taxes, or, if it enters private utility, government spending. The welfare gains are significantly lower for more open economies.
The paper analyzes Chile's structural balance fiscal rule in the face of copper price shocks originating in foreign copper demand. It uses a version of the IMF's Global Integrated Monetary and Fiscal Model (GIMF) that includes a copper sector. Two results are obtained. First, Chile's current fiscal rule performs well if the policymaker puts a small weight on output volatility (relative to inflation volatility) in his/her objective function. A more aggressive countercyclical fiscal rule can attain lower output volatility, but there is a trade-off with (somewhat) higher inflation volatility and (much) higher volatility of fiscal variables. Second, given its current stock of government assets, Chile's adoption of a 0.5% surplus target starting in 2008 is desirable from a business cycle perspective. This is because the earlier 1% target would have required significant further asset accumulation that could only have been accomplished at the expense of greater volatility in fiscal instruments and therefore in GDP.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the properties of the fiscal surplus rule, a key pillar of Chile’s macroeconomic framework. The findings suggest that the rule is near the volatility-minimizing efficiency frontier. The paper assesses the vulnerability of the Chilean banking system to external and domestic shocks, and examines recent trade performance. The study finds that both exports and imports have been driven predominantly by demand factors. There is also some evidence that trade liberalization has contributed to the recent trade expansion, but exchange rate effects are only found to have a marginal impact.
This paper presents an update to the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes on Fiscal Transparency for Chile. Chile has completed the first stage of the migration of its fiscal statistics to the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM 2001). A main result of this migration is the production of the operating statement, corresponding to flow transactions, for the central government, the general government, and the consolidated public enterprises. However, the treatment of interest payments on inflation-indexed bonds and on debt owed to the central bank differs from that in GFSM 2001.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
The paper concludes that world copper prices play an important role in short-term fluctuations and probably influence long-term growth of the Chilean economy. While many mechanisms may be at work, investment seems to play a major role. In a copper price boom, the higher copper price and associated capital inflows create upward pressure on the real exchange rate. The appreciation of the Chilean peso during the first part of the copper cycle contributes to lower inflation, which could partly explain why real wages grow more rapidly in this part of the cycle.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Following are edited excerpts from an address given by IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus at the twenty-fourth annual conference of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 25. The full text is available on the IMF’s website (http://www.imf.org).
This chapter examines if there was a fundamental shift in the demand for international reserves of countries in 1973 because of the change in the international monetary system from one of generally fixed exchange rates to one of greater exchange rate flexibility. Particular attention was also paid to the question whether the relationship between reserves and certain important variables remained stable during the period 1973–1976. The results indicated that there was a shift in the demand for reserves by industrial countries in response to the move to floating, however, that this shift occurred toward the end of 1973 rather than at the beginning of the year. Obviously, there was some lag in the response of these countries to the change in the system; however, the behavior of non-oil developing countries did not appear to be affected by the change. This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that most of these countries continued to peg their currencies to another currency, and thus there was no real change in the exchange rate regime relevant to them.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper presents a description of the Project Analysis Course offered by the World Bank’s Economic Development Institute (EDI). The main objective of EDI is to give individuals a general understanding of all the main elements involved in preparing, evaluating, and executing development projects. At the end of the course, EDI expects graduates to be able to help design project studies or to participate in the overall evaluations on which final decisions are heavily based.