Before preparing a financial program or analyzing developments in a country, sufficient data on the economy’s past and expected performance are necessary. If the basis for the program or analysis is deficient, the program will probably not be well prepared and the objectives will not be achieved. All those data that may have an impact on the preparation of a program are needed. IMF missions are sometimes described as “hungry” for both statistics and data in general, but this hunger is logical, because before giving any advice or taking any decision, the mission must know what is happening in a country. The term “data” is used broadly here, meaning not only statistical information, but also details of pertinent legislation and of rules and regulations connected with the implementation of such legislation.
THE USE of advance import deposits as a means of implementing economic policy has spread rapidly in recent years. Most frequently used in Latin America, this technique has been applied in more than 20 countries in various parts of the world.1 The experience gained in recent years makes it possible now to analyze and to assess their functions as part of a general system of exchange and trade restrictions, and their contribution to the achievement of monetary stability.