A key feature of the reform of the international financial architecture since the mid-1990s has been the development of international standards and codes.2 The data standards initiative, on which the IMF took the lead, broke new ground. The dissemination standards put in place as the centerpiece of this initiative continue to be among the most widely known of the international standards and codes.
This paper compares experiences with banking crises in seven countries in order to analyze the factors governing the crises and the effectiveness of measures to deal with the problems. The linkages between deregulation of the financial sector, and financial crises are examined. The portfolio shifts during crisis periods are studied. The major lesson from these experiences is that the regulatory and portfolio weaknesses in the financial sector have strong effects on the macroeconomy and can exacerbate the costs of macroeconomic adjustment. Structural measures to correct these weaknesses are important for the effectiveness of adjustment policies.
Recognition of the importance of data transparency—including for promoting the efficient operation of financial markets and policy accountability on the part of governments and central banks—is a remarkably recent phenomenon in the history of economic thought. The timely availability of data on international reserves and the foreign exchange operations of central banks is a case in point. As recently as 10 years ago, with relatively few exceptions, only very aggregated information typically was available, and then often only with a substantial lag. Indeed, in a number of countries, these data were treated as state secrets. Moreover, significant regional differences existed—and still do, to an important degree—in terms of views about the value of enhancing transparency.
Although the name of the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) infers that its central focus is dissemination, in its initial stages the GDDS emphasized the development of national systems in an explicit medium-term framework. Attention to data dissemination came only at a later stage. Indeed, participating countries are not required to make any formal commitments regarding data dissemination. The main premise underlying the GDDS is to give high priority to improvements in data quality, which may need to precede improvement in dissemination practice.
The financial crises of the 1990s revealed a need for the dissemination of more comprehensive data on foreign currency liquidity positions to help prevent similar crises. In 1998, the IMF began working on initiatives in this area in collaboration with working groups of the Group of Ten (G-10) and the Group of 22 (G-22). The resulting international reserves and foreign currency liquidity data template (reserves template) became a prescribed element of the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). Data reporting under this initiative began in June 1999, and after a short transition period, SDDS subscribers were required to observe the standard as of April 2000.
Mr. William E. Alexander, Mr. John Cady, and Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia
In its first 10 years, the IMF’s Data Dissemination Initiative has had a demonstrable positive impact on data dissemination. Currently, the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) and the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) taken together include 83 percent of the IMF’s member countries. This initiative has become an integral part of the international financial architecture and has helped to promote economic transparency and efficiency. Along with other financial standards and codes it has served to strengthen transparency and good governance globally.
This book describes the reforms needed to move small middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa to advanced-economy status. The result of intense discussions with public officials in the countries covered, the book blends rigorous theory, econometrics, and practitioners' insights to come up with practical recommendations for policymakers. It spans topics from macroeconomic vulnerability and reserve adequacy to labor market institutions and financial inclusion. The book is a must-read for researchers interested in the economic issues facing developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Several emerging market economies hold a strikingly high level of foreign reserves. Among them is Chile, whose reserves equaled about 22 percent of GDP at the end of 2003—about the same ratio as those of Asian emerging market economies and significantly higher than the Latin American average of 15 percent of GDP. Economists still have not developed a formula to determine a country’s optimal level of reserves, but in a recent study, Marco Espinosa-Vega (Senior Economist, IMF Monetary and Financial Systems Department) and Mercedes Vera-Martin (Economist, IMF International Capital Markets Department) assess the appropriateness of Chile’s reserves and find that they are above the levels that common benchmarks suggest would be adequate, and the optimal levels implied by an econometric model.
Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Mr. Ali M. Mansoor, Friska Parulian, and Mr. Andrew W Jonelis
Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced strong growth since 1992, prompting many observers to argue that the region has reached a turning point in its development history and is poised to play a more significant role in the global economy (often called “Africa Rising”). However, economic development among the sub-Saharan African countries varies widely; the majority are still low-income countries (LICs), of which some are fragile states, and the rest are middle-income countries (MICs).