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Åke Lönnberg

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Patrick A. Imam
In this paper we first explain why most microstates (countries with less than 2 million inhabitants) have gained independence only in the last 30 years. Despite the higher costs and risks microstates face, their ability to better accommodate local preferences combined with a more integrated world economy probably explains why the benefits of independence have risen. We explain why microstates at independence have chosen either dollarization, currency board arrangements, or fixed exchange rates rather than more flexible forms of exchange rate systems. We then, using the Geweke-Hajvassiliou-Keane multivariate normal simulator, model empirically the determinants of each of the different fixed exchange rate regimes in microstates and analyze the policy implications.
Mr. Jian-Ye Wang, Nisreen H. Farhan, Amar Shanghavi, Mr. Márcio Valério Ronci, and Ms. Misa Takebe
This paper assesses São Tomé and Príncipe's monetary and exchange rate arrangements in light of the country's monetary history and the relevant experience of comparable countries in Africa. The study highlights several structural characteristics of São Tomé and Príncipe including its very small size, high degree of openness, extensive use of foreign currencies, and inflexible product and factor markets in the consideration of an appropriate monetary and exchange regime. Firmly anchored currency arrangements, defined in this paper to include memberships in monetary unions or hard pegs, are found to be preferable to the status quo of a managed float. The paper applies statistical methods and takes into account other factors to identify the appropriate anchor currency. It stresses that fiscal discipline and prudent debt management are the main prerequisites for a firmly anchored currency arrangement.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth is projected at 5.3 percent in 2006, the same rate as in 2005, according to the IMF’s Sub-Saharan Africa: Regional Economic Outlook (REO), released April 21 in Washington, D.C. (Sub-Saharan Africa, defined in the REO as the countries covered by the IMF African Department, excludes Djibouti, Mauritania, and Sudan; the projections for the group thus differ from those in the World Economic Outlook.)

Ms. Catherine A Pattillo and Mr. Paul R Masson

Abstract

This chapter evaluates whether a monetary union makes economic sense and discusses the institutional requirements for a successful Monetary Union in West Africa (ECOWAS). The chapter considers how best the political momentum for a union can be channeled toward a fundamental improvement in underlying policies. The paper also reviews the economic situation of the ECOWAS members, with the objective of evaluating the ease with which they can proceed to a common currency. Regional integration resulting in greater trade among ECOWAS countries may help increase efficiency of production. Trade among developing countries, in general, is likely to have fewer efficiency benefits than trade with developed countries, however, because the possibilities of exploiting complementarities are less. The foregoing considerations suggest that the momentum in favor of monetary union should be channelled into the crucial first phase of enhanced mutual surveillance and emphasis on each country improving its macroeconomic and structural policies. Success in this endeavor would in and of itself help to increase exchange rate stability.

Mr. Jan-Peter Olters
During 1996–98, several indicators hinted at the apparent unsustainability of Cape Verde’s exchange rate peg. The country, faced with a considerable backlog of approved but unmet applications for foreign currencies, tolerated a parallel market. Street traders, however, demanded only negligible premiums (if any at all) for foreign exchange. By integrating the emigrants’ transfer decisions into a basic Mundell-Fleming-type model, the author conjectures that this puzzle can be explained with the increasing use of transfer channels outside the banking system, leading to unrecorded inflows of foreign exchange. Analysis of the relevant balance of payments data appears to support this result.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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Mr. Saleh M. Nsouli, Mr. John B. McLenaghan, and Mr. Klaus-Walter Riechel

Abstract

One of the principal aims of the effort to integrate the economies of the 16 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to expand intra-Community trade. This objective is to be achieved partly through the elimination of quantitive and other restrictions on trade.

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

The speeches made by officials attending the IMF–World Bank Annual Meetings are published in this volume, along with the press communiqués issued by the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee at the conclusion of the meetings.

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

The speeches made by officials attending the IMF–World Bank Annual Meetings are published in this volume, along with the press communiqués issued by the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee at the conclusion of the meetings.