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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Panama’s economic performance is expected to remain strong. Real GDP slowed to 6.2 percent in 2014, reflecting a slower pace of public investment, continued weakness in Colón Free Zone activity, and delays in the Canal expansion. Growth is expected to remain stable in 2015. Lower oil prices and the U.S. recovery will be positive forces but these factors will be offset by U.S. dollar appreciation and some lags in new public investment. Over the medium term, the expanded Canal and the new copper mine should help maintain growth at 6–7 percent.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Panama’s economic performance remains buoyant. Real GDP growth averaged about 8.5 percent over the past decade, the highest in Latin America, supported by an ambitious public investment program, and accompanied by strong reduction in unemployment, poverty, and income inequality. After exceeding 10 percent in 2011–2012, growth slowed to 8.4 percent in 2013 reflecting mainly a decline in Colon Free Zone activity and in Canal traffic. Growth is expected to remain strong over the medium term. Inflation is moderating, owing to the deceleration of international food and oil prices. The baseline outlook is favorable, with moderate risks.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines several real sector issues, including estimates of potential output, the effect of Intel’s withdrawal on gross domestic product (GDP), labor market and inequality and electricity prices in Costa Rica. The production function approach shows that the main drivers of fluctuations in GDP growth are total factor productivity (TFP) and labor supply. These results on TFP, however, should be interpreted with caution. The TFP measure is a residual—the difference between output growth and the growth in the quantity (and quality) of inputs. Estimates suggest that potential GDP growth is about 4.3 percent, the output gap is broadly closed, and Intel’s withdrawal will lower real GDP growth in about 1/2 percentage point. Significant wage premia are identified across public versus private sectors and some evidence of intergenerational inequality is also presented. Electricity tariffs are found to be regionally competitive albeit with inefficiencies in their determination.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Panama reports that the administration is developing a strategy to enhance growth and competitiveness in the Panamanian economy. Corruption is perceived as a widespread phenomenon that has affected both private and public sectors in Panama at various levels of decision making. Even though Panama currently attracts substantial foreign direct investment, corruption may prove an obstacle to a medium-term growth strategy based on foreign investment. One important component of Panama's medium-term strategy is the prospect of a free-trade agreement with the United States.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Russia’s unexpectedly strong recovery since its 1998 crisis has left people wondering whether it is just a temporary result of higher oil prices and the postcrisis depreciation of the ruble or a sign ofdurable improvements in the much-battered economy. This question is addressed in the book Russia Rebounds, written by members of the IMF’s Russian team and due out later this year. John Odling-Smee, Director of the IMF’s European II Department, spoke with Laura Wallace about Russia’s prospects and its relationship with the IMF during the troubled 1990s. Odling-Smee, a U.K. national, joined the IMF in 1990 and took over responsibility for the IMF’s relations with former Soviet Union countries in 1992. Before that, he served in the U.K. Cabinet Office and Treasury for about 15 years.
Mr. Eduardo Borensztein and Mr. Andrew Berg
We analyze the costs and benefits of full dollarization compared to its closest alternative, a currency board, quantifying for Argentina where possible. Potential advantages include lower borrowing costs and deeper integration into world markets. One cost is the transfer of seigniorage to the United States. The country may also lose the “exit option” to devalue in the face of major shocks. Similarly, even a country with a currency board may lose some ability to act as lender of last resort to the banking system. We review how various country characteristics influence the balance of arguments.
Robichek E. Walter

This paper highlights that the flow of IMF-related resources to member countries was maintained at a high level during 1979, amounting to the equivalent of SDR 6,917 million, compared with SDR 4,955 million in 1978. Some SDR 3.77 billion became available to non-oil developing countries in 1979. Repurchases in the General Resources Account by all members—at SDR 4.2 billion—exceeded their purchases of SDR 1.8 billion by an unprecedented SDR 2.4 billion. These large repurchases reflected the substantial improvement in the balance of payments of some industrial member countries that had large outstanding drawings.

International Monetary Fund
Many Latin American economies have experienced significant reductions in growth recently, as a result of the end of the commodity super-cycle and the rebalancing of China’s growth, and a number of global banks have been leaving the region. AlthoughLatin American countries were generally less affected by the global financial crisis (GFC) than other regions, the region continues also to suffer from the protracted sluggish growth in advanced economies. In addition, there has since 2008 been a withdrawal of global banks from the region, thus potentially worsening access to credit or reducing competition in the financial sector. More broadly, the GFC demonstrated that extreme economic volatility can originate from outside the region, rather than internally, as was the experience of the 1980s and 1990s...