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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 provides a brief overview of Slovakia’s transformation over this period. The note is divided into three parts. The first section offers some historical background on the run-up to EU accession. The paper also discusses the economic impact of EU accession and highlights the main challenges that Slovakia still faces. Although the first decade in the EU has seen successes, Slovakia faces important challenges to consolidate its position and close the gap with more advanced economies. A first long-term challenge is to shift from efficiency to an innovation-driven growth model. Actions to improve the business environment and domestic infrastructure could lay the foundations for stronger and more job-rich growth. In Slovakia, the high unemployment rate reflects the faulty working of three key mechanisms: the transition from school to work; the transition from unemployment back to employment; and mobility across regions. In order to address this situation, wide-ranging policies need to be implemented. The quality of education and training needs to be improved in order to better correspond to labor market needs. The ongoing reform of vocational education and training is a step in the right direction.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes external shocks and business cycle fluctuations in Mexico. The paper examines the relative importance of U.S. demand shocks—and other foreign disturbances—in explaining Mexican output fluctuations. It identifies the dynamic response of Mexico’s output to those shocks. The paper investigates which U.S. variables are most relevant to explaining business cycles in Mexico. It analyses potential spillovers and channels of transmission underlying the linkages between the United States and Mexican economies, and focuses on one aspect of the development of the Mexican private mortgage market, the market for mortgage-backed securities.
International Monetary Fund
The paper developes a VAR macrofinance model of the Czech economy. It shows that yield misalignments from the yields implied by the macrofinance model partially determine subsequent yield changes over three to nine months. These yield misalignments tend to persist for a number of months. This persistence of the misalignments was explained by (a) the fact that the macro-economy influences asset markets only at lower frequencies, (b) the liquidity effect particularly during the times of capital inflows to Czech Republic, and (c) the fact that not all misalignments were greater than their historical one standard deviation.
Mr. Thomas Kraus
Using symmetric data sets of 92 weekly return observations before and after the introduction of the euro, the paper analyzes the impact of the new currency on the return structure of equity markets in the European Monetary Union. Variance decompositions, cluster analyses, and principle component analyses are used to explore the changes in the structural relations. European industry factors are found to have dramatically increased in importance with the launch of the single currency, and a new 'country-size' factor in European stock returns is detected. Furthermore, inner-European correlations are documented to have been reduced sharply with the start of the monetary union.
Mr. Christopher W. Crowe and Mr. S. Mahdi Barakchian
Conventional VAR and non-VAR methods of identifying the effects of monetary policy shocks on the economy have found a negative output response to monetary tightening using U.S. data over the 1960s-1990s. However, we show that these methods fail to find this contractionary effect when the sample is restricted to the period since the 1980s, apparently due to changes in the policymaking environment that reduce their effectiveness. Identifying policy shocks using Fed Funds futures data, we recover the contractionary effect of monetary tightening on output and find that almost half of output variation over the period appears due to policy shocks.
Mr. Torsten M Sloek and Mr. Peter F. Christoffersen
There is ample empirical evidence for developed economies that asset prices contain information about future economic developments. But is this also the case in transition economies? Using a panel of monthly data for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia for the period 1994-1999 it is shown that historical values for interest rates, exchange rates, and stock prices signal future movements in real economic activity. This result has significant implications for policymakers, and a composite leading indicator based on the three asset prices is presented, which contains information about the future development of economic activity.
Mr. Jorge A Chan-Lau and Mr. Iryna V. Ivaschenko
The term structure of domestic investment grade bond spreads - or corporate spread curve - contains useful information to predict future changes in industrial production, beyond the information already contained in interest rates, commercial paper-treasury bill spreads, and lagged values of industrial production. In fact, the corporate spread curve can explain the cumulative growth rate of industrial production over 3- to 48-month horizons, and the marginal growth rate over 6- to 18-month horizons. Unlike other financial variables, the corporate spread curve has been a stable predictor of real activity for the last fifteen years.
Mrs. Joslin Landell-Mills

This paper anlayzes the role of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) in promoting economic development in developing countries with the private sector. IFC promotes growth of new companies, indigenous companies, and helps to introduce more capital from private sources into developing countries. Many countries need to develop capital market institutions such as stock exchanges, securities companies, leasing companies, and financial intermediaries of one kind or another. IFC has a special department, partly financed by the World Bank, that has provided expertise in these areas to a number of countries.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper focuses on the adoption of new technology and globalization in the United States of America, and assesses the change in the productivity growth and revised estimates, the developments in the labor market, equity prices, and the technology boom. The paper analyzes how the monetary policy influences economic conditions in emergency markets; reviews the developments in financial consolidation; discusses the key provisions contained in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act, the implications of the GLB Act for financial consolidation, and regulatory and supervisory practices.