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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Upon entry into the European Union, countries become members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), with a derogation from adopting the euro as their currency (that is, each country joining the EU commits to replace its national currency with the euro, but can choose when to request permission to do so). For most of these countries, adopting the euro will entail major economic change. This paper examines likely economic developments and policy challenges for the five former transition countries in central Europe--the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia--that joined the European Union in May 2004 and operate under independent monetary policies but have not yet achieved policy convergence with the rest of the euro area.

Mr. Stéphane Cossé, Mr. Johannes Mueller, Mr. Jean Le Dem, and Mr. Jean A. P. Clément

Abstract

Developments in the countries of the CFA franc zone in the aftermath of the January 1994 devaluation of the CFA franc are reviewed in this paper. Following a summary of the new adjusment strategy, the papers describes the progress made and the difficulties encountered during 1994 and early 1995 in implementing the programs supported by use of IMF resources.

Mr. R. B. Johnston, Mrs. Piroska M Nagy, Mr. Roy Pepper, Mr. Mauro Mecagni, Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Mario I. Bléjer, and Mr. Richard J Hides

Abstract

This study reviews Albania's historical and political background, as well as economic developments in 1991. It describes the centrally planned economic system up to the onset of reform and analyzes economic performance in the 1980s.

Mr. Markus Rodlauer and Mr. Alfred Schipke

Abstract

América Central ha concitado creciente atención como una región que se está integrando exitosamente a la economía mundial. Este estudio examina -entre otras cosas- las implicaciones macroeconómicas y fiscales del Acuerdo de Libre Comercio con Estados Unidos (CAFTA-RD), y se destaca que este acuerdo impulsará el proceso de integración. Sin embargo, a fin de potenciar al máximo los beneficios en términos de un crecimiento sostenible más acelerado, reducción de la pobreza y progreso social, la región también debe llevar adelante ambiciosas reformas estructurales que consoliden la estabilidad macroeconómica y aseguren condiciones atractivas para la inversión, a la vez que se intensifica la cooperación regional en materia de recaudación y administración de impuestos, sistemas financieros y estadísticas.

Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Jun I Kim, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, and Mr. George C. Tsibouris

Abstract

Low-income countries routinely experience exogenous disturbances—sharp swings in the terms of trade, export demand, natural disasters, and volatile financial flows—that contribute to higher volatility in aggregate output and consumption compared with other countries. Assessing Reserve Adequacy in Low-Income Countries presents the findings of an analysis of a range of external shocks faced by these countries, beginning with a discussion of the impact of external shocks on macroeconomic growth, volatility, and welfare. Although sound macroeconomic and prudential policy frameworks are the first line of defense for limiting vulnerability, international reserves constitute the main form of self-insurance against such shocks. The evidence suggests that low-income countries with reserve coverage above three months of imports were better able to smooth consumption and absorption in the face of external shocks compared with those with lower reserve holdings. The analysis also points to the importance of country characteristics and vulnerabilities in assessing reserve adequacy.

Mr. Markus Rodlauer and Mr. Alfred Schipke

Abstract

Central America has received growing attention as a region that is integrating successfully into the global economy. This paper examines—among other things—the macroeconomic and fiscal implications of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA-DR), noting that the agreement will provide a boost to the integration process. To maximize the benefits in terms of faster sustainable growth, poverty reduction, and social progress, however, the region also needs to press ahead with ambitious structural reforms to entrench macroeconomic stability and ensure an attractive environment for investment, while stepping up regional cooperation in the areas of taxes and tax administration, financial systems, and statistics.

Mr. Desmond Lachman, Mr. Ramana Ramaswamy, Mr. J. H. Green, Mr. Robert P. Hagemann, and Mr. Adam Bennett

Abstract

Sweden's economy in the early 1990s has been characterized by a deep recession, high unemployment, a ballooning public sector budgete deficit, and a decline in the value of the currency- developments that have raised questions about the country's capacity to sustain its comprehensive welfare state. This study provides an analysis of recent economic developments in a longer-term context and assesses their implications for future policies.

Mr. Eliot Kalter, Mr. Steven T Phillips, Mr. Manmohan Singh, Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte, Mr. Rodolfo Luzio, and Marco A Espinosa-Vega

Abstract

This paper presents the primary institutions and economic policies that have led to Chile’s remarkable record of stability and growth over the past twenty years. The core of this policy stance is the combination of fiscal discipline and an open trade policy regime, together with carefully sequenced financial liberalization with in a strengthened regulatory framework.Chile has succeeded in sustaining these policies-despite external and domestic forces to the contrary-because of carefully designed institutional arrangements that encourage policies oriented toward long-term success.