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International Monetary Fund

Using official data from the Australian Bureau of Economic Statistics and a formal growth accounting framework, this paper shows that the rapid accumulation of information processing and communication technology (ICT) capital over the last two decades in Australia has played a significant role in explaining the impressive, structural acceleration of labor productivity. The following statistical data are also included: household income, expenditure and savings, labor market, fiscal indicators, credit aggregates, capital and financial account, external assets and liabilities, export by commodity group, and so on.

Christine Ebrahim-zadeh

This paper analyzes why the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has lagged in growth and globalization. Despite attempts to spur recovery and initiate structural reforms, many countries in the region remain on a slow growth path, effectively sidelined from globalization and the benefits of closer economic integration with the rest of the world. The benefits from oil failed to generate a sustained growth dynamic or bring about greater regional economic integration. The paper highlights that the slowdown in economic reforms is a key factor for the economic depression in the MENA region.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix on Bhutan underlie the macroeconomic impact of Tala, rapid private sector credit growth, and macroeconomic risks. In Bhutan, as the bulk of Tala-related flows go through the government accounts, this requires an appropriate fiscal stance and skillful expenditure management. Strong economic growth will require and lead to a deepening and further development of the financial system in Bhutan. The financial sector seems to be relatively shielded from adverse events, although risks remain.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on Bolivia reports that it has experienced major increases in its gas reserves, production, and exports. Not only have their levels increased significantly, but also there have been extensive regulatory changes, which range from the privatization of the mid-1990s to the increase in the government’s tax take from the hydrocarbons industry. The government has reached new agreements with foreign oil companies that will allow foreign companies to continue recovering part of their old investments.

Mr. Paulo Drummond, Mr. Ari Aisen, Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Ejona Fuli, and Mr. Sébastien Walker
This paper examines how susceptible East African Community (EAC) economies are to asymmetric shocks, assesses the value of the exchange rate as a shock absorber for these countries, and reviews adjustment mechanisms that would help ensure a successful experience under a common currency. The report draws on analysis of recent experiences and examines likely future changes in the EAC economies.
Mr. Mohsin S. Khan and Mr. Malcolm D. Knight

This paper examines adjustment, growth, and the IMF’s role. Under the Baker plan, the IMF would continue to play a central role in dealing with the economic imbalances and the debt problems that countries face, a role that would continue to include the analysis and policy advice that the IMF brings to discussions with member countries. The IMF’s role will also be to continue to help countries obtain new external financing from commercial banks as well as from official sources.

MORRIS GOLDSTEIN

This paper examines the effect of import price changes on the domestic rate of inflation for each of five large industrial countries—namely, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Its primary purpose is to provide empirical tests of the hypothesis that there is an asymmetry, or ratchet effect, as between the effect of positive versus negative changes in import prices on the rate of change of domestic prices. Since devaluations and revaluations are usually regarded as giving rise, respectively, to positive and negative changes in import prices (as measured in domestic currency), the existence of such a ratchet effect would have obvious implications for the global inflationary impact of exchange rate changes as well.

J. J. Polak and T. C. Chang

ONE OF THE main purposes of exchange depreciation in industrial countries is to lower export prices in order to increase the volume of exports. The question is to what extent and under what conditions exchange depreciation will achieve this objective.

TAMIM BAYOUMI

This section looks at the likely effects of changing from a floating exchange rate system to a (quasi) fixed exchange rate system such as the “hard” ERM.9 A simple, open economy macroeconomic model is presented, and the response of the economy to various shocks is computed for reasonable parameter values under both a fixed and a floating exchange rate regime. This approach allows the probable effects of the change in regime on the response of the economy to various shocks to be analyzed. In addition, the effect of the change in regime on the types of shocks faced by the economy is discussed in a rather less formal manner.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

With the expected doubling of aid to Africa by 2010, the continent’s policymakers will face a host of macroeconomic challenges. How recipients and their development partners can address these challenges was the focus of a workshop hosted by the IMF and the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID) in Washington April 19-20. African finance ministers, central bank governors and other officials, donors, academics, and representatives from multilateral development institutions took up seven issues that recipients of sharply increased aid are likely to deal with.