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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Within a two-year span, Korea’s economy plunged into a severe recession and now is recording a dramatic turnabout. What triggered the crisis? What prompted the recovery? And what remains to be done to ensure that Korea’s economy sustains strong growth within a stable macroeconomic environment?

International Monetary Fund

This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economic growth of Korea rose to about 6 percent in 2002 from 3 percent in 2001. Buoyant consumption and residential construction spending underpinned the recovery beginning in late 2001. In 2002, exports rebounded strongly in spite of a weaker-than-expected recovery in the global economy. Unemployment has eased to near pre-crisis levels, although wage rises have been matched by productivity growth. In terms of macroeconomic policies, the fiscal surplus was substantially higher than budgeted, resulting in a contractionary fiscal stance in 2002.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the factors behind the unprecedented widening of India’s current account deficit in terms of the sectoral savings-investment balance. Persistently high inflation is found to have depressed real returns, prompting a surge in gold imports and a marked deterioration in household financial savings. The paper investigates inward and outward spillovers to and from India. The results show that output shocks emanating in globally systemic countries have important global effects, but their impact on India is limited. It is found that shocks originating in India have relatively small global implications, but are very important for several South Asian economies.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper focuses on Japan’s public debt and the challenges facing small- and medium-size enterprises in Japan. Historically, Japan’s public debt has been financed in a fairly smooth manner. The large pool of household savings and the stable domestic institutional investor base appear to have contributed to this successful experience. However, Japan is already undergoing rapid population aging, which will likely limit the market’s future absorptive capacity of public debt. In addition, structural shifts in institutional investors could also serve to reduce market demand.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

Portugal’s economy is in deep recession, and the crisis has opened up a large output gap, with severe consequences for employment and government revenue. While the focus is on the medium- and long-term, this analysis also offers insights on how deep the output gap is. It also highlights ways in which policies and reforms can promote growth over the longer haul and suggests that achieving a 2-percent growth rate over the long term—consistent with moderate convergence growth—is a realistic objective.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper focuses on some of the key stylized facts of Korean business and export cycles over 1960–2001, and calculates a chronology for the classical cycle in these series by applying a variant of the Bry and Boschan (1971) cycle-doling algorithm. It highlights that the Korean classical business cycle and exports cycles are extremely asymmetric, as they exhibit long-lived expansions and much shorter-lived contractions. The results also indicate that the probability of ending a contraction or expansion phase in Korean industrial production and Korean real exports is independent of their duration.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

This Selected Issues paper analyzes Spain’s sustainable growth rate. It sheds some light on Spain’s medium-term growth prospects by looking into the key factors driving potential growth, both in the past and likely in the future, and international experience of countries in the aftermath of financial crisis. The paper suggests Spain is likely to face a long period of moderate growth (about 1½–2 percent) and high unemployment, but policy action—especially that directed toward reducing structural unemployment and raising productivity—could lead to much better outcomes.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix examines the channels of monetary policy transmission in Thailand. The main findings are that changes in monetary policy are associated with changes in real output, and that the main channel for transmission is not bank lending but asset prices. The paper takes stock of the performance of the Thai corporate sector emerging from the crisis and discusses remaining challenges and vulnerabilities. An assessment of Thailand’s fiscal vulnerability is also presented.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on Thailand reviews public investment and investment recovery from financial crises. Thailand is a country with a moderate tax effort, which indicates that increases in public saving should be achieved through a mixture of tax and expenditure measures. Future budgets should accommodate the megaprojects without putting excessive pressures on public finances, inflation, and the external balance. Least present value of revenue (LPVR) auctions alleviate the demand risk inherent in the fixed-term contracts and thus eliminate a key driver for renegotiations and the provision of minimum income guarantees.