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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following is the statement issued by the Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors at the conclusion of their meeting on September 20.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation and Proposal for Post-Program Monitoring highlights that Iraq’s social conditions remain harsh following the war with ISIS, with slow progress at reconstruction, weak public services and a lack of job opportunities. In the absence of policy changes, a widening budget deficit is expected to divert resources away from essential investment to rebuild the country and improve public services, while eroding reserves and posing risks to medium-term sustainability. Expenditure rigidities and limited fiscal buffers imply a significant vulnerability to oil price shocks in a context of volatile prices. The fiscal and external positions are expected to continue to deteriorate over the medium term absent policy changes—with reserves falling below adequate levels and fiscal buffers eroded. In a context of highly volatile oil prices, the major risk to the outlook is a fall in oil prices which would lower exports and budgetary revenues, leading to an even sharper decline in reserves or higher public debt. Geopolitical tensions, the potential for social unrest in a context of weak public services and lack of progress in combatting corruption pose further risks.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights a double shock facing Iraq as a result of the conflict with the Islamic State and the plunge in oil prices. In 2016, real GDP increased by 11 percent owing to a 25 percent increase in oil production, which was little affected by the conflict with the Islamic State. Falling oil prices have driven the decline in Iraq’s international reserves from $54 billion at the end of 2015 to $45 billion at the end of 2016. Medium-term growth prospects are positive. Growth will be driven by the projected moderate increase in oil production and the rebound in non-oil growth supported by the expected improvement in security and implementation of structural reform.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and John Ricco
This paper provides an empirical analysis of how the frequency and severity of terrorism affect government revenue and expenditure during the period 1970–2013 using a panel dataset on 153 countries. We find that terrorism has only a marginal negative effect on tax revenue performance, after controlling for economic and institutional factors. This effect is also not robust to alternative specifications and empirical strategies. On the other hand, we find strong evidence that terrorism is associated with an increase in military spending as a percent of GDP (and a share of total government expenditure). Our estimations reveal that this impact is greater when terrorist attacks are frequent and result in a large number of fatalities. Empirical findings also support the view that public finances in developing and low-income countries are more vulnerable to terrorism than those in countries that are richer and diversified.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

F ollowing is the full text of the communiqué of the A. International Monetary and Financial Committee, which held its eighth meeting in Dubai on September 21.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

On September 21, International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) Chair Gordon Brown and IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler briefed the press at the conclusion of the committee’s discussions. They highlighted a renewed commitment to multilateralism and noted rising optimism about the world economy (colored by an acute awareness that global imbalances need to be redressed). The committee also achieved consensus on the need to reinvigorate multilateral trade negotiations, achieve sustainable debt in low-income countries, provide added momentum to the efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals, and help Iraq rebuild.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following are edited excerpts from the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) press conference that took place on April 24 in Washington, D.C. Gordon Brown, Chair of the IMFC and Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, and Anne Krueger, Acting Managing Director of the IMF, participated in the press conference. The full transcript is available on the IMF’s website (http://www.imf.org).

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This staff report on Iraq’s 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights economic policies and development. Risks to the macroeconomic outlook remain high. The risks can translate into lower oil revenues, deterioration in the fiscal position, pressures to use Central Bank of Iraq reserves for fiscal purposes leading to depreciation pressures, and higher inflation. Policies to mitigate their impact include strengthening fiscal institutions and oil revenue management, improving monetary policy transmission, and reducing the economy’s dependence on the oil sector. The authorities depend solely on fiscal policy to address these vulnerabilities, underscoring the need for the authorities to urgently build up sufficient fiscal buffers, since Iraq’s fiscal and external performance is very sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices.