China’s transformation into a dynamic private-sector-led economy and its integration into the world economy have been among the most dramatic global economic developments of recent decades. This paper provides an overview of some of the key aspects of recent developments in China’s macroeconomy and economic structure. It also surveys the main policy challenges that will need to be addressed for China to maintain sustained high growth and continued global integration.
Mrs. Ruby Randall, Mr. Jorge Shepherd, Mr. Frits Van Beek, Mr. J. R. Rosales, and Ms. Mayra Rebecca Zermeno
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is one of just a few regional central banks in the world and the only one where the member countries have pooled all their foreign reserves, the convertability of the common currency is fully self-supported, and the parity of the exchange rate has not changed. This occasional paper reviews recent developments, policy issues, and institutional arrangements in the member countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, and looks at the regional financial system, its supervision, and the central bank's initiatives to establish a single financial space. The paper includes a large amount of statistical information that is not readily available elsewhere from a single source.
Mr. Ulrich Baumgartner, Mr. G. G. Johnson, K. Burke Dillon, R. C. Williams, Mr. Peter M Keller, Maria Tyler, Bahram Nowzad, Mr. G. Russell Kincaid, and Mr. Tomás Reichmann
The external indebtedness of non-oil developing countries has been of growing concern in recent years. Several factors have brought the debt issue to the forefront of the problems facing a number of countries, including the rapid rise in extenal debt in the recent past, changes in the composition of debt (toward a greater proportion owed to commercial banks) and the attendant deterioration in the terms of debt, and the rise in debt service resulting from these developments.
Arab financial assistance to developing - particularly Arab - countries rose sharply between 1973 and 1980 but fell gradually through the 1980s, owing mainly to weakening oil prices. As a percent of GNP, however, Arab contributions remain the largest among major donors. This paper surveys the volume and distribution of Arab financing from 1973 to 1989.
Mr. Steven Riess Weisbrod and Ms. Liliana Rojas-Suárez
By reviewing the experiences of Latin American countries with the restructuring of their financial sectors since 1982, this paper derives lessons regarding the most effective ways to deal with banking difficulties in developing countries. It then discusses whether these lessons have been put into practice during the latest crisis. A sample of five countries - Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru - is used for this purpose.
The financial turmoil of the late 1990s prompted a broad search for tools and techniques for detecting and preventing financial crises, and more recent episodes of instability have high lighted the importance of continuous monitoring of financial systems as a tool for preventing crises. This paper looks at the development of measures of financial sector soundness and of methods to analyze them. The authors propose two sets of financial soundness indicators that are considered useful for periodic monitoring, and for compilation and dissemination efforts by national authorities. They highlight the substantial advance made in recent years in measuring and analyzing financial soundness indicators, and specify areas where more work is needed.
Mr. Joachim Harnack, Mr. Sérgio Pereira. Leite, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Ms. Luisa Zanforlin, Mr. Girma Begashaw, and Mr. Anthony J. Pellechio
This chapter explores the key relationships between participatory democracy and successful economic development and reviews the early steps of participatory decision making in Ghana. More generally, it sets the stage for a discussion of Ghana's main achievements and failures since 1992 in raising the standard of living of its population and reducing poverty. The high-profile political process that launched constitutional democracy in the 1990s and generated Ghana—Vision 2020 placed poverty reduction at the center of economic policy. Based on a set of price and unit labor cost indicators, Ghana's competitiveness improved in the early 1990s through 1994. The evidence for 1995–98 is quite strong. The Bank of Ghana is suspected to have used administrative means and moral suasion to influence the exchange rate, resisting the cedi's depreciation. The terms-of-trade shock forced the Bank of Ghana to focus more clearly on maintaining adequate foreign reserves. The depreciation may then have helped make the foreign exchange market more active and the nominal exchange rate more representative of market conditions.
The banking industries in several industrial countries, including the Nordic countries, underwent considerable change in the 1980s.1 It was a period marked by economic deregulation, the removal of cross-border restrictions on capital flows, financial innovation, and increased competition in financial services. At the same time, distinctions between types of financial intermediaries became increasingly blurred. These changes were accompanied in most countries by a sharp credit boom followed by a period of financial fragility, as lower asset quality and interest margins weakened banks’ balance sheets. In a number of industrial countries, banks’ financial performance deteriorated to the point where governments had to support some of the largest banks to preserve financial stability.
Mr. Steven Riess Weisbrod and Ms. Liliana Rojas-Suárez
In late 1994, several Latin American economies, particularly Mexico and Argentina, experienced sharp reversals of international capital inflows that had characterized the previous four years. The immediate cause of the reversals was the loss of international investor confidence in these countries’ ability to defend their exchange rate and in the authorities’ ability to service their external debt on a timely basis. Short-term interest rates rose to extraordinarily high levels. Because many borrowers could not afford to service their debts at these high interest rates, the credit quality of domestic banks’ loan portfolios deteriorated dramatically, creating concerns about the solvency of the banking systems in these economies.
The operations of the public sector have far-reaching macroeconomic implications that affect the stability, growth, and structure of the economic system. Fiscal activities may also be an important source of shocks affecting a country’s level of employment, capital accumulation, and the viability of its external sector. These implications have been thoroughly analyzed, both theoretically and empirically, and an increasing body of economic literature has focused on the analysis of the fiscal impact on aggregate demand and on the level of absorption.