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Mr. Serhan Cevik and Ms. Katerina Teksoz
This paper empirically investigates the effectiveness of monetary policy transmission in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries using a structural vector autoregressive model. The results indicate that the interest rate and bank lending channels are relatively effective in influencing non-hydrocarbon output and consumer prices, while the exchange rate channel does not appear to play an important role as a monetary transmission mechanism because of the pegged exchange rate regimes. The empirical analysis suggests that policy measures and structural reforms - strengthening financial intermediation and facilitating the development of liquid domestic capital markets - would advance the effectiveness of monetary transmission mechanisms in the GCC countries.
Mr. Oral Williams and Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes
This paper uses a pairwise approach to investigate the main factors that have been driving inflation differentials in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region for the past two decades. The results suggest that inflation differentials in the GCC are largely influenced by the oil cycle, mainly through the credit and fiscal channels. This implies that closer coordination of fiscal policies will be key for facilitating the closer integration of the GCC economies and ahead of the move to a monetary union. The results also indicate that after controlling for cyclical factors, convergence increased even during the recent oil boom.
Mr. Bassem M Kamar, Jean-Etienne Carlotti, and Mr. Russell C Krueger
A key issue in creating a new currency union is setting the rates to convert national currencies into the new union currency. Planned unions in the Gulf region and Africa are seeking methods to set the conversion rates when their new currencies are created. We propose a forward-looking econometric methodology to determine conversion rates by calculating the degree of misalignment in the real exchange rate, and apply it to the GCC currency union. For each GCC currency, we identify the year at which the economy is the closest to its internal and external equilibrium, and then estimate the degree of misalignment in the bilateral real exchange rate vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar based on WEO forecasts until 2013. Application of the methodology to other regions is also considered.
Mr. Klaus-Stefan Enders
While the underlying methodologies continue to be widely debated and refined, there is little consensus on how to assess the equilibrium exchange rate of economies dominated by production of finite natural resources such as the oil economies of the Middle East. In part this is due to the importance of intertemporal aspects (as the real exchange rate may affect the optimal/equitable rate of transformation of finite resource wealth into financial assets), as well as risk considerations given the relatively high volatility of commodity prices. The paper illustrates some important peculiarities of the exchange rate assessment for such natural resource producers by working through a simple two-period model that captures certain key aspects of many resource economies.
Abdullah Al-Hassan
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.
Mr. Bassem M Kamar and Samy Ben Naceur
Coordinating macroeconomic policies is a pre-requisite to a successful launch of the common currency in the GCC countries. Relying on the Behavioral Equilibrium Exchange Rate approach as a theoretical framework, we apply the Pooled Mean Group methodology to determine the similarity of the impact of a selected set of macroeconomic indicators on the real exchange rate in each country. Our empirical evidence points to a clear coordination of monetary policy, fiscal policy, government consumption, and openness across the member countries. While RER misalignments also show a substantial convergence building over time, differences in the misalignments of the two polar cases remain rather substantial, calling for further coordination and policy harmonization.
Mr. Zubair Iqbal and Mr. S. Nuri Erbas
Import and export stability is examined under two alternative nominal exchange rate anchors, the U.S. dollar and the SDR. Stability under the two pegs depends critically on import and export elasticity with respect to exchange rates. The implications of import and export elasticity for an optimal currency basket are also explored. The elasticity estimates for the GCC countries suggest that the SDR peg may not outperform the dollar peg in improving external stability. Nevertheless, switching to some other nominal exchange rate anchor may improve external stability, a possibility that remains to be explored.
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.