International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
NEOLIBERALISM IS NOW the go-to moniker for everything that went wrong in the late 20th century and the new millennium. Often a term of abuse, it is a synonym for a crassly materialistic and superficial belief in the inherent superiority of markets. Its standard bearers were British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Vietnam became the 150th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 11, 2007. Before joining, Vietnam had made great strides toward integration with the global economy. Since 1993, the sum of exports and imports in relation to GDP has more than doubled, and its export market share has more than tripled. With exports becoming a leading engine of growth, GDP growth has averaged more than 7½ percent a year, and poverty has fallen sharply. Given this impressive performance, an obvious question is how the WTO will offer new opportunities and challenges for Vietnam’s future.
Céline Allard, Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia, Emmanouil Kitsios, Mr. Juan P Trevino, and Ms. Wenjie Chen
This analysis of the extent of trade integration of sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries in the global economy as well as within the region over the 1995–2013 period focuses on four key concepts: (1) trade openness, captured by import and export flows; (2) the centrality in the global and regional trade network, a measure that takes into account not only the size of trade but also the number of trade partners and the respective weight of these trade partners in global trade; (3) gravity model estimates that account for country- and region-specific determinants of bilateral trade flows; and (4) global value chain (GVC) integration. Using both existing data and a newly available dataset based on multiregion input and output tables, this analysis led to several findings: (1) trade openness has increased strongly; (2) integration in the global economy has made the region more vulnerable to external shocks; (3) levels of trade flows emanating from sub-Saharan Africa are still only half the magnitude of those experienced elsewhere in the world; (4) the region still has ways to go to better integrate in GVCs; and (5) it is more critical than ever to make progress in filling the infrastructure gap by lowering tariff and nontariff barriers, improving the business climate and access to credit, and continuing to enhance education outcomes.
Raju Huidrom, Nemanja Jovanovic, Mr. Carlos Mulas-Granados, Ms. Laura Papi, Ms. Faezeh Raei, Mr. Emil Stavrev, and Mr. Philippe Wingender
Europe is deeply integrated into global value chains and recent trade tensions raise the question of how European economies would be affected by the introduction of tariffs or other trade barriers. This paper estimates the impact of trade shocks and growth spillovers using value added measures to better gauge the associated costs across European countries.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue of Finance & Development presents success and works of IMF in the past 75 years since its formation. The IMF’s financial firepower must be increased substantially, particularly in a world of relatively free capital flows. If the world of cooperative globalization is to survive and the IMF is to maintain its role within it, a great deal must change. Some of these changes are within the IMF’s control. The most important challenges for the IMF of tomorrow are, however, those created by the changing world. Global cooperation is needed to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of cross-border capital flows. Cross-border capital flows are neither an unmitigated blessing nor an undoubted curse. Used judiciously, they can be beneficial to recipient countries, making up deficiencies in the availability of long-term risk capital and reducing gaps in local corporate governance. Many emerging market economies have understood that they should build foreign exchange reserves. The IMF model suggests that fluctuations in the exchange rate are the main reason for fluctuations in corporate liquidity in receiving countries.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.
This Selected Issues paper provides a systematic assessment of Moldova’s governance and institutional frameworks. It follows guidelines approved by the IMF executive board, which were developed to deliver systematic and even-handed analysis on macroeconomically critical governance and institutional vulnerabilities. This paper also focuses on seven key areas for IMF engagement: corruption, rule of law, regulatory framework, fiscal governance, financial sector oversight, anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism, and central bank governance. The analysis is based on internationally comparable data, diagnosis from IMF technical assistance reports, as well as other expert assessments. Strengthening the judiciary and rule of law and accelerating state-owned enterprises (SOE) reform are clear priorities. The widespread nature of governance vulnerabilities and institutional weaknesses in Moldova, combined with capacity constraints, creates challenges for policy formulation and prioritization. Policy efforts should therefore focus on strengthening rule of law and reforming Moldova’s judiciary system, as well as building capacity and increasing the autonomy of key institutions. Steadfast SOE reform would foster competition, investment, and productivity, while reducing fiscal risks.
This Selected Issues paper examines the effect of political instability on economic growth in Nepal. It uses publicly available data on political economy variables for 167 countries worldwide from 1970–2004 to estimate the impact of political instability on growth. The findings reveal that Nepal has witnessed higher political instability compared with other countries in the region. The paper also presents the salient features of political instability and growth for Nepal and other South Asian countries, and the econometric estimates of growth regressions to measure the effect of political instability on economic growth.
This Selected Issues paper reviews medium-term fiscal challenges for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong SAR). It focuses on key considerations that need to be evaluated when formulating a medium-term reserves policy in the face of fiscal challenges, such as accommodating future spending pressures and revenue fluctuations. The broad conclusion of the paper is that fiscal reserves will likely remain an important feature of future fiscal policy. The paper also discusses more general aspects of Hong Kong SAR’s economy’s competitiveness, and the outlook for Hong Kong SAR’s financial center.