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International Monetary Fund

Of the new members entering the European Union (EU) in May 2004, several had achieved a decade of impressive export growth, expanding significantly their shares of world markets. The empirical analysis shows that over the period 1994–2004, quality and technology upgrading associated with the structural transformation were, indeed, also associated with increased market share. Several bivariate relationships to motivate an empirical framework for analyzing the evolution of market shares are ascribed. It gives the basic regressions explaining the changes in market shares for 58 countries.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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Mr. Ashoka Mody, Ms. Deniz O Igan, and Ms. Stefania Fabrizio
Despite the appreciation of the exchange rate, the eight Central and Eastern European countries (the CEE-8) that entered the European Union in May 2004 have achieved a decade of impressive export growth, expanding significantly their shares of world markets. Does this mean that the real exchange rate is irrelevant? If not, what other factors compensated for the appreciation to explain the apparently strong competitiveness of these economies? And will these favorable factors continue to power export growth? This paper places in international context the achievements of the CEE-8 and helps more broadly to identify the determinants of international competitiveness. Building from data at the six-digit level of disaggregation, it shows that the CEE-8 made an impressive shift in product quality and in the technological intensity of exports, and that these shifts associated with the structural transformation were also associated with increased market share. The analysis strongly suggests that, when trading in international markets, countries benefit from higher product quality. However, while the structural transformation achieved was valuable in raising market shares, the easy gains from this process may be over.
Raghuram Rajan

In October, Raghuram Rajan took up the reins as Economic Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Research Department—the first chief economist to come from a developing country and the first to specialize in international finance rather than macroeconomics. Rajan, an Indian national, joins the IMF staff after a distinguished career as an academic and a researcher, most recently as Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, where he spent much of the past 12 years. In January 2003, he won the Fisher Black prize for the person under 40 who has contributed the most to the theory and practice of finance. He spoke with Laura Wallace about his new post.

International Monetary Fund
The past few decades have seen important shifts that have reshaped the global trade landscape. As a share of global output, trade is now at almost three times the level in the early 1950s, in large part driven by the integration of rapidly growing emerging market economies (EMEs). The expansion in trade is mostly accounted for by growth in noncommodity exports, especially of high-technology products such as computers and electronics. It is also characterized by a growing role of global supply chains and an ongoing shift of technology content toward EMEs. These developments in global trade have been associated with growing trade interconnectedness and carry important implications for trade patterns, in particular in response to relative price changes. The aim of this paper is to outline the factors underlying these changes and analyze their implications for the outlook for global trade patterns.