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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The IMF Executive Board announced on August 3 that it had completed the ninth review of Turkey’s economic program supported by the three-year Stand-By Arrangement. The Board’s decision will enable Turkey to draw SDR 1.2 billion (about $1.5 billion) immediately from the IMF. The text of News Brief No. 01/73, as well as a statement issued on July 28 by IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer (see page 262) is available on the IMF’s website (www.imf.org).

ANDREW BERG and CATHERINE PATTILLO

This paper evaluates three models for predicting currency crises that were proposed before 1997. The idea is to answer the question: if we had been using these models in late 1996, how well armed would we have been to predict the Asian crisis? The results are mixed. Two of the models fail to provide useful forecasts. One model provides forecasts that are somewhat informative though still not reliable. Plausible modifications to this model improve its performance, providing some hope that future models may do better. This exercise suggests, though, that while forecasting models may help indicate vulnerability to crisis, the predictive power of even the best of them may be limited.

Ms. Julianne Ams, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Wolfgang Bergthaler, Ms. Chanda M DeLong, Ms. Nouria El Mehdi, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Mr. Sean Hagan, Ms. Yan Liu, Charlotte J. Lundgren, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, Alex Pienkowski, Mr. Gustavo Pinto, and Mr. Eric Robert

Abstract

1. The origins of the 1980s Debt Crisis can be traced back to the acute shocks to the international monetary system in the 1970s: the collapse of the Bretton Wood system; the major oil prices hikes; and the substantial liberalization of international finance. The associated build-up of imbalances and vulnerabilities during this period ended abruptly in the early 1980s, and the IMF had to deal with its first systemic debt crisis. Given the novelty of this event, it took time for debtors, creditors, and the international community to understand the magnitude of the problems faced by these indebted economies. Reforms to the crisis-resolution framework occurred gradually and often in a piecemeal fashion. But the reforms made during the 1980s set the foundation for the IMF’s policies and principles today, remaining robust despite a continually changing landscape.

Ms. Julianne Ams, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Wolfgang Bergthaler, Ms. Chanda M DeLong, Ms. Nouria El Mehdi, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Mr. Sean Hagan, Ms. Yan Liu, Charlotte J. Lundgren, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, Alex Pienkowski, Mr. Gustavo Pinto, and Mr. Eric Robert

Abstract

1. The debt crisis ended along with the 1980s, and 1989 saw interest rates drop and prospects for economic growth brighten. With the 1990s, private capital began flowing again to emerging and developing countries. This renewed interest in investment was bolstered by liberalization of international capital flows and widespread deregulation of financial institutions and capital markets. As the recipient economies found, however, the speculative inflows were subject to sudden capital flow reversals and stops.

Ms. Julianne Ams, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Wolfgang Bergthaler, Ms. Chanda M DeLong, Ms. Nouria El Mehdi, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Mr. Sean Hagan, Ms. Yan Liu, Charlotte J. Lundgren, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, Alex Pienkowski, Mr. Gustavo Pinto, and Mr. Eric Robert

Abstract

1. In 2001–02, Argentina experienced one of the worst economic crises in its history. The severity of the crisis, and the economic/political complexity for debt crisis resolution made it particularly important to examine what lessons could be learned from it [40]. The circumstances of the crisis highlighted the need to establish a better framework for countries to exit in a timely fashion from unsustainable debt dynamics. In the aftermath of the crisis, the IMF focused its work particularly on two areas aiming to promote a more orderly system for the resolution of sovereign debt crises: rethinking the framework for committing exceptional levels of IMF resources, and considering methods for addressing collective action problems. On the latter, the IMF considered in parallel both statutory and contractual approaches.

Ms. Julianne Ams, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Wolfgang Bergthaler, Ms. Chanda M DeLong, Ms. Nouria El Mehdi, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Mr. Sean Hagan, Ms. Yan Liu, Charlotte J. Lundgren, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, Alex Pienkowski, Mr. Gustavo Pinto, and Mr. Eric Robert

Abstract

1. In the aftermath of the Argentine crisis, IMF members experienced a relatively calm period. There were few IMF-supported programs (Brazil, Turkey, Uruguay) under the Exceptional Access Policy (EAP—see chapter 3), largely due to balance of payments problems in the current account, and relatively few sovereign debt restructurings (e.g., Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Grenada, and Belize). However, imbalances and vulnerabilities were growing and subsequently erupted in 2007 [58].

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is contending with an unprecedented health and economic crisis—one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized years of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Greece’s deep recession has continued unabated, with the economy struggling to gain traction against domestic political instability and weak external conditions. Stronger internal devaluation is now under way, reflecting the interaction of labor market liberalization with the already weak labor market. Current account adjustment has accelerated, notwithstanding slow progress with structural reforms. The structural transformation of Greece’s economy continues to proceed at a slow pace, and this is making Greece’s adjustment more costly. Institutional reforms continued to disappoint during 2012, again complicating overall adjustment efforts.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Economic activities have weakened due to the continuing socio-political tensions. Despite the ensuing revenue underperformance, the fiscal position improved significantly as expenditure was curtailed; the domestic primary balance at end-2017—the fiscal indicator under the direct control of the government—improved by about 5 percentage points of GDP relative to 2016. Inflation has been subdued and is expected to remain below the WAEMU convergence criterion of up to 3 percent during the program period. The current account balance has improved, driven by lower imports related to public investments. The political dialogue has stalled and protests resumed.
International Monetary Fund
The labor market remains weak, disinflation has slowed, but falling wages are improving competitiveness. The weak economic environment is putting pressure on the banking sector. Financial conditions have deteriorated recently because of international financial market tensions. The Bank of Latvia has strengthened its liquidity management framework. Program implementation remains broadly on track. Strengthening the Ministry of Finance’s control over fiscal decisions is crucial. The government needs to accelerate Mortgage and Land Bank’s restructuring and facilitate market-based debt resolution. Program implementation to date has helped insulate Latvia from the recent international financial market turmoil.