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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This chapter presents the point of view and ideas of Sabina Alkire, an economist. Alkire wants the Multidimensional Poverty Index to be part of a data revolution to guide the fight against poverty. According to Alkire, learning to meditate soothed away what she describes as the temper tantrums of her childhood. The chapter also highlights the fact that an index is only as good as its underlying data, and in emerging market economies that quality is often inadequate. The quest for better poverty metrics coincides with growing doubts about the ability of conventional statistics, especially GDP, to gauge economic growth in the digital economy, let alone well-being, welfare, and environmental sustainability.
Patrick A. Imam and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
The rapid growth of Islamic banking has attracted much attention lately in the economic literature. At the same time, a mature body of the literature has shown that financial development is broadly conducive to economic growth, which raises the question as to whether a similar conclusion holds for Islamic banking. Against this backdrop, this paper investigates the relationship between Islamic banking development and economic growth in a sample of low and middle income countries, using data over the period 1990-2010. The results show that, notwithstanding its relatively small size compared to the economy and the overall size of the financial system, Islamic banking is positively associated with economic growth even after controlling for various determinants, including the level of financial depth. The results are robust across across different specifications, sample composition and time periods.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This issue of F&D looks at the growing role of emerging markets. Analysis by the IMF's Ayhan Kose and Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University, argues that their economic ascendance will enable emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India, and Russia to play a more significant part in global economic governance and take on more responsibility for economic and financial stability. And Vivek Arora and Athanasios Vamvakidis measure how China's economy is increasingly affecting the rest of the world not just its neighbors and main trading partners. In addition, F&D examines a variety of topics that are particularly relevant as the world struggles to shake off the crisis. Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi look at the positive effects of stimulus in the United States. Without it, they say, the United States would still be in recession. IMF researchers look at how countries can get debt under control, and what happens when government debt is downgraded. Other articles examine the human costs of unemployment, how inequality can lead over time to financial crisis, and what changes in the way banks do business could mean for the financial system. Two articles look at Islamic banking, which was put to the test during the global crisis and proved its mettle, and in Faces of the Crisis Revisited, we continue to track how the recession affected several individuals around the world. This issue of F&D profiles Princeton economic theorist Avinash Dixit in the regular People in Economics feature, and Back to Basics looks at externalities.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The global economic crisis has taken a toll on the Middle East and Central Asia region, but appropriate policy responses have helped mitigate the impact. Looking ahead, the region's oil exporters are expected to benefit from rising oil prices as the world economy begins to pull out of an unparalleled post-World War II recession. Oil importers, however, are likely to continue to face continued headwinds that may delay an uptake in growth. Where feasible, countries should continue to support domestic demand to lessen the impact of the crisis on the poor while maintaining a focus on debt sustainability. For the region's low-income countries, higher donor support will be needed to maintain economic development. Across the region, governments should further strengthen financial systems and be careful not to lose momentum on structural reforms. Published biannually in May and October.

Ms. Laura Wallace

This paper reviews the resurgence of Latin America. The paper highlights that much of the region has witnessed a swift and robust recovery from the successive financial crises of 2001–02. Within two years, the region’s economic growth reached 5.6 percent in 2004, a 24-year high. Growth rates of about 4 percent in 2005 and 3¾ percent projected for 2006 are well above historical averages. Mexico and South American countries have gained, in particular, from the surge in fuel, food, and metals prices, and have generally been able to exploit these opportunities by expanding production.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

Staff Papers draws on IMF Working Papers, which are research studies by members of the Fund’s staff. A list of Working Papers issued in 1989:1 follows; additions will be noted in future issues.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper analyzes determinants of the evolution of exchange rates within the context of alternative models of exchange rate dynamics. The overshooting hypothesis is examined in models that emphasize differential speeds of adjustment in asset and goods markets as well as in models that emphasize portfolio balance considerations. It is shown that exchange rate overshooting is not an intrinsic characteristic of the foreign exchange market and that it depends on a set of specific assumptions. It is also shown that the overshooting is not a characteristic of the assumption of perfect foresight, nor does it depend in general on the assumption that goods and asset markets clear at different speeds. If the speeds of adjustment in the various markets are less than infinite, the key factor determining the short-run effects of a monetary expansion is the degree of capital mobility. When capital is highly mobile, the exchange rate overshoots its long-run value, and when capital is relatively immobile, the exchange rate undershoots its long-run value. When internationally traded goods are a better hedge against inflation than nontraded goods, the nominal exchange rate overshoots the domestic price level, and conversely.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The MENAP oil exporters were directly affected by the global financial crisis through a sharp drop in oil prices, a contraction in the global economy, and a sudden drying up of capital inflows. Although activity in the oil sector will likely drop by 3.5 percent in 2009, strong countercyclical macroeconomic policies have helped mitigate the impact of the crisis on the non-oil sector, which is projected to grow by 3.2 percent. Looking ahead, higher oil prices, a revival of global demand, and continued government spending will provide the basis for stronger growth in 2010. The crisis also revealed some vulnerabilities in the banking and corporate sectors, requiring countries to undertake exceptional stabilization measures and highlighting the need to strengthen financial sector supervision, enhance corporate governance, foster resource mobilization, and diversify risks.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The MENAP oil importers are a diverse group, encompassing both emerging and low-income economies. Many have seen significant slowdowns in the past year but, overall, these countries have escaped the substantial contractions experienced in other parts of the world. Supportive policy responses, a low degree of integration with international capital markets and manufacturing supply chains, and banking systems that had little exposure to structured financial products have contained the fallout. While the slowdown has been modest, this group of countries is also likely to experience a slow recovery. Limited external financing, little space for fiscal stimulus, a real appreciation of most domestic currencies, sluggish receipts from tourism and remittances, and higher energy prices will all continue to be a drag on growth for some time.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

For many countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) region, the impact of the global economic downturn has been severe, but prospects for energy importers and exporters differ starkly. For energy importers, the economic outlook remains challenging and recovery in 2010 is likely to be gradual, primarily because of their linkages with Russia. In particular, remittances have fallen sharply, hurting low-income households. Fiscal policy should remain accommodative in 2010 to support growth and mitigate the impact on the poor, but continued concessional donor support will be needed to prevent a buildup of unsustainable debt levels.