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Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Mr. Balázs Horváth, and Mr. Michael G. Kuhn

Abstract

This study discusses the importance of export credits, their recent growth, and the trend toward more extensive reliance by official bilateral creditors on export credits as an instrument of financial support, and raises a number of issues regarding the role and limitations of export credit financing, espeically for economies in transition.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This study prepared by the Commodities Division of the Research Department reviews and analyzes the developments in commodity markets.

Michael J. Artis

Abstract

This paper analyzes the short-term forecasts for industrial and developing countries produced by the IMF and published twice a year in the World Economic Outlook. For the industrial country group, the forecasts for output growth and inflation are satisfactory and pass most conventional tests in forecasting economic developments, although forecast accuracy has not improved over time, and predicting the turning points of the business cycle remains a weakness. For the developing countries, the task of forecasting movements in economic activity is even more difficult and the conventional measures of forecast accuracy are less satisfactory than for the industrial countries. [JEL: E17, E37, F17, F47]

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Non-fuel primary commodity prices fell in the second half of 1989, breaking the upward trend that had prevailed in the preceding two years. The decline in the Fund’s index of non-fuel commodity prices from the first half of 1989 to the second half of the year was 7 percent in terms of SDRs and 8 percent in terms of U.S. dollars.1 By contrast, petroleum prices increased during 1989, reversing the downward trend of the previous two years. The Fund’s indicative petroleum price—an average of prices for U.K. Brent light crude, Dubai medium crude, and Alaska north slope heavy crude—rose on a year-to-year basis by 38 percent in SDR terms and 33 percent in terms of dollars during the second half of 1989.

Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Mr. Balázs Horváth, and Mr. Michael G. Kuhn

Abstract

Export credit agencies play a critical role in financing for developing countries. Their primary objective is the promotion of national exports through insurance or direct extension of export credits, but their support for exporters also gives importers in developing countries access to finance in situations and on terms that are not available from private markets.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Prices of food commodities, which began to recover in 1987, peaked during the first half of 1989. Since then food prices have weakened and are expected to weaken further in 1990. The aggregate index of food prices, after increasing by 23 percent in 1988, averaged a modest 8 percent rise in 1989 (Table 5). As a result, the index stood at its highest level since 1984, just prior to the long downward trend that bottomed out in the first half of 1987.

Paula R. De Masi

Abstract

The concepts of potential output and the output gap are central to the IMF’s analytical work in providing policy recommendations to member governments. This key role has stimulated research at the IMF to develop and refine estimation techniques. This paper summarizes the methodology and results of IMF research on potential output, which has mainly focused on the industrial countries, but more recently has addressed issues related to developing countries and countries in transition. It then discusses the approaches that country desk officers use for operational purposes, and presents estimates of potential output for the major industrial countries. [JEL: E3].

Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Mr. Balázs Horváth, and Mr. Michael G. Kuhn

Abstract

This chapter examines recent trends and developments in officially supported export credits. The basic features of official support for export credits and the institutional arrangements for providing official export credit support, which differ widely from country to country, are summarized in Boxes 1 and 2.2 Box 1 also contains background material on the basic principles underlying officially supported export credits, explanations of some of the key concepts used in the paper, and a description of the main instruments used by export credit agencies.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

In contrast to the overall index of non-fuel commodity prices, which rose by 4 percent, the index of beverage prices fell by nearly 13 percent in 1989 (Table 6). The decline, which was the third in as many years, is largely attributable to supply factors. Increased production of coffee and cocoa in lagged response to the high prices of the late 1970s was the main factor contributing to the increase in the overall supply of beverages. After the sharp increase by nearly 11 percent in 1987, which reflected to a considerable degree the recovery of Brazilian coffee production from the severe 1985 drought, the index of world supply of beverages rose by a further 5 percent in 1988 and by 3 percent in 1989. World consumption of beverages is estimated to have increased by 2 percent per annum during these three years. As a result of the widening disparity between world supplies and consumption, the overall level of world stocks of beverages has increased during this period; the index of closing stocks rose by 37 percent in 1987, by over 8 percent in 1988, and by more than 5 percent in 1989.