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International Monetary Fund
The staff report for the 2008 Article IV Consultation of Israel on economic developments and policies is examined. Fiscal and monetary credentials have been established in markets. Banks and their supervisory arrangements have been robust, and growth has been strong, sustained, and balanced. Although public debt is much reduced, to about 80 percent of GDP, it remains vulnerable. Although domestic securities prices tracked those abroad downward, prompting outflows from provident funds, flows in domestic credit markets remained largely undisturbed.
International Monetary Fund
Indonesia’ 2008 Article IV Consultation reports that Indonesia’s growth performance remains strong despite the deteriorating global environment. The economy remains vulnerable to shifts in investor sentiment, and volatility in the government bond market has increased. The new policy of increased reselling of official foreign exchange receipts from oil exports should support the rupiah and help dampen inflation, but a more automatic mechanism for recycling official reserves would, in addition, enhance liquidity and foreign exchange market development.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
With the findings of a recent IMF staff study serving as a starting point, a panel of IMF staff and distinguished outside researchers on May 27 debated financial globalization’s benefits and risks. Panelists were Eswar Prasad (IMF Asia and Pacific Department), Shang-Jin Wei (IMF Research Department)—two of the study’s authors—and C. Fred Bergsten (Director, Institute for International Economics (IIE)), Jeffrey Frankel (Professor, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University), and Daniel Tarullo (Professor, Georgetown University Law Center). Kenneth Rogoff (IMF Economic Counsellor and Director ofthe Research Department), also an author of the study, moderated. Participants suggested ways to contain the downsides of globalization; two of their recommendations—developing domestic financial sectors and strengthening institutions prior to liberalization—drew wide support.
International Monetary Fund
Nigeria’s 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that major macroeconomic imbalances had emerged as a result of sharp increases in government spending and expressed concern at the risks of a further acceleration of inflation and continuing instability in the exchange market. The overall fiscal balance deteriorated sharply in 2001, the external accounts worsened, and inflation accelerated. The overall stance of fiscal policy remains highly expansionary in 2002, notwithstanding efforts by the authorities to contain capital spending. Lax financial policies have led to a sharp fall in international reserves.
Mr. Torbjorn I. Becker
This paper addresses how public debt should be managed to reduce the cost of private sector bailouts. It uses a tax smoothing model to show that bailouts affect the timing of government deficits and surpluses as well as the composition of public debt. In general, public debt managers will have to monitor the private sector’s leverage and portfolio composition in order to design the tax smoothing policy. This contrasts with Ricardian models where households monitor the government’s debt. The moral hazard aspect of defaults is also shown to be important in determining an optimal government debt strategy.
Mr. Michael P. Leidy
This paper examines the macroeconomic and distributional consequences of a policy change, other things being equal, that would allow U.S. Social Security trust fund assets to be invested in private securities. Improving the expected return to trust fund assets, by shifting these from government bonds to private securities, tends to reduce (increase) the future claim on national output of the current (future) working population. The effects on aggregate saving and future output depend on whether current workers interpret this policy change as affecting their future Social Security benefits.
International Monetary Fund
Contents include: Budget deficit - concepts, measurements, and developments; definition, accounting basis, scope, and coverage. Structural reform issues: privatization; capital market reform; exchange and trade liberalization; other government intervention - investment subsidies and price controls; labor market reform; and land reform. Current account sustainability in Israel: overview of the Israeli economy and its transformation in the 1990s; a model of the current account applied to Israel; and sustainability indicators. Statistical tables.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews economic developments in Iceland during 1990–95. It describes developments in the real economy, and examines monetary and exchange rate developments and policies and the transmission of monetary policy. The paper provides a detailed look at budgetary outcomes and the stance of fiscal policy for 1995. Determinants of past and present growth in Iceland are examined. Indicators of fiscal sustainability are used to argue for better public finances in Iceland. The paper also examines the Icelandic tax structure.