After the decline in oil prices, many oil exporters face the need to improve their external
balances. Special characteristics of oil exporters make the exchange rate an ineffective
instrument for this purpose and give fiscal policy a sizeable role. These conclusions are
supported by regression analysis of the determinants of the current account balance and of
the trade balance. The results show little or no relationship with the exchange rate and,
especially for the less diversified oil exporters (including the Gulf Cooperation Council), a
strong relationship with the fiscal balance or government spending.
This paper constructs a coincident indicator for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area business cycle. The resulting coincident indicator provides a reliable measure of the GCC business cycle; over the last decade, the GCC coincident index and the real GDP growth have moved closely together. Since the indicator is constructed using a small number of common factors, the strong correlation between the indicator and real GDP growth points to a high degree of commonality across GCC economies. The timing and direction of movements in macroeconomic variables are characterized with respect to the coincident indicator. Finally, to obtain a meaningful economic interpretation of the latent factors, their behavior is compared to the observed economic variables.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that in a shift of policy, the World Bank decided to finance directly health projects in developing countries. Under its old policy, formulated in 1974, health components providing basic health care for low-income individuals were incorporated into projects in other sectors, such as agriculture and rural development, urban development, and water supply and sewerage. Lending for such components will continue. After reviewing the World Bank’s experience in financing health-related activities in 44 countries, the report recommends the adoption of a three-tier pyramidal structure for delivery of health services, adapted to local conditions.