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Ms. Irena Asmundson

Latin America: An End to Boom and Bust? covers prospects in that region, which has managed to sustain a decade of prosperity after a history of boom and bust cycles. In our cover story, Nicolás Eyzaguirre, Director of the IMF's Western Hemisphere Department, says Latin America has the potential to become an increasingly important global player. But boosting productivity and competitiveness remain key policy challenges and the fruits of success must be more broadly shared. Other articles on our cover theme look at the prospects for Brazil, inequality in Latin America, and how to raise productivity. Turning from Latin America, we interview former IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, former IMF MD and now head of a group of luminaries tasked with generating ideas on how to make the global monetary system more stable in the wake of the world financial crisis. This issue of F&D also features articles on financial market cycles, public investment in infrastructure, whether to worry about inflation or deflation, democracy and liberalization, how to manage health care spending, and rising food prices. People in Economics profiles growth guru Robert Solow, winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize in economics. Our regular Back to Basics feature explains financial services. Data Spotlight looks at how access to financial services is growing in developing countries; and Picture This highlights the IMF's new database of public debt since 1880.

Graeme S. Dorrance

THE FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS that have, thus far, been prepared by national statistical authorities display a remarkable heterogeneity.1 In particular, there is no agreement as to whether it is most useful to measure the financing flows that are associated with income and expenditure transactions, or whether it is more desirable to compile balance sheets for individual economic sectors.

Paul K. Freeman, Mr. Michael Keen, and Mr. Muthukumara Mani

This paper highlights that the Washington Consensus helped fill the need for an economic policy framework following the discrediting of central planning and import-substitution trade strategies. Latin American governments championed the Consensus in the early 1990s, and the policy agenda delivered some of the things it was supposed to—healthier budgets, lower inflation, lower external debt ratios, and economic growth. But unemployment rose in many countries and poverty remained widespread, while the emphasis on market openness made states vulnerable to the side effects of globalization.

Abol Hassan Ebtehaj

In a statement issued on March 8, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus announced his intention to recommend to the IMF Executive Board that it approve the revised economic program for 1999-2001 proposed by the Brazilian government. The text of News Brief 99/10 follows.