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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Nicaragua’s social security system, which is projected to run out of liquid reserves by 2019, several years earlier than anticipated. To avoid burdening the budget, reforms to the system are urgently needed. A deep actuarial, economic, and operational analysis is needed to design a comprehensive reform program. Such a program must ensure that the defined-benefit, pay-as-you-go system can sustain itself for another generation of workers and that improved health care benefits can be maintained. A politically acceptable, pragmatic solution appears within reach. However, the authorities should act quickly to avoid a costly bailout of the system.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
En mettant l’accent sur le travail du FMI et sur les grandes questions macroéconomiques et financières internationales, le Bulletin du FMI présente une analyse des développements nationaux, régionaux et mondiaux, des informations sur le travail, les politiques, les réformes et les activités d'assistance technique du FMI, les conclusions d'études de calibre mondial, des données essentielles qui ne sont souvent pas disponibles ailleurs, ainsi que des rapports sur les discussions économiques et financières au sein du FMI et ailleurs. Publié douze fois par an, ce bulletin de seize pages s'adresse à un large public : dirigeants, analystes, chercheurs, étudiants et journalistes. Disponible en anglais, français et espagnol.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
El Boletín del FMI aborda de manera específica el trabajo del FMI y los grandes temas macroeconómicos y financieros internacionales y ofrece análisis sobre la evolución en los distintos países y regiones y en el mundo; información sobre las operaciones, políticas, reformas y asistencia técnica del FMI; síntesis de las principales investigaciones económicas mundiales; datos fundamentales que no suelen estar disponibles en otras fuentes, e informes sobre debates económicos y financieros que tienen lugar dentro y fuera del FMI. Este boletín de 16 páginas, publicado 12 veces al año, está orientado a una vasta audiencia, que incluye autoridades de política económica, analistas, profesionales del mundo académico y de los medios de difusión y estudiantes. Disponible en inglés, español y francés.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
U.S. fiscal outlook; U.S. inflation dynamics; Ireland, FYR Macedonia, El Salvador, Uruguay briefs; Egypt: growth and reform; Canadian female labor participation; EU: Stability and Growth Pact; Suspension of Doha talks; challenges of globalization.
Mr. Eduardo Morón and Mr. Diego Winkelried
One distinguishable characteristic of emerging market economies is that they are not financially robust. These economies are incapable of smoothing out large external shocks, as sudden capital outflows imply large and abrupt swings in the real exchange rate. Using a small open-economy model, this paper examines alternative monetary policy rules for economies with different degrees of liability dollarization. The paper answers the question of how efficient it is to use inflation targeting under high liability dollarization. Our findings suggest that it might be optimal to follow a nonlinear policy rule that defends the real exchange rate in a financially vulnerable economy.
International Monetary Fund
The paper surveys the major economic, financial, and administrative issues that confront social security systems in Latin America. The larger systems have contributed substantially to public sector financial disequilibria. Expenditures of the younger systems with more limited coverage could increase dramatically as the pension plan matures, life expectancy increases, and coverage is broadened, but the narrow revenue base will force a tradeoff between broader coverage and the generosity of benefits. Most plans are pay-as-you-go, and the case for full or partial funding is not found to be compelling. The inflationary environment can have a substantial effect on the financial balance, even under full indexation.
Mr. Jorge Roldos
This paper reviews macroeconomic aspects of pension reforms in Latin America, focusing on financial market stability and fiscal sustainability. Concentration of pension fund portfolios in government bonds remains high, and the lack of new investment alternatives has distorted asset prices. Countries have gradually liberalized investments abroad, but remain wary of the impact on foreign currency markets. The fiscal costs of the transition to funded systems have been higher than expected, and have contributed to high debt levels. The paper highlights the importance of coordinating changes in portfolio limits with debt management policies and measures to develop securities markets.

Using different means, the monetary authorities in Latin America have generally regulated the interest rates paid and charged by banks and other financial institutions. Yet, despite the continuing policy efforts in this area, there are few general studies analyzing the goals and scope of such regulations, much less their effects on those economic variables that they are supposed to influence. 1 Indeed, despite the improvement in general financial statistics, no major effort has been made to reconstruct interest rate series for extended periods of time, either officially or privately. 2 Meanwhile, however, economists have formulated a number of hypotheses on the effects of interest rate policies in developing countries that apply controls on interest rates. 3 But empirical research on these matters in Latin American countries has lagged behind.

Bruno Brovedani

BOTH THE LEVEL of the international monetary reserves, however defined, held by a country at any given point of time and the variations in reserves over a period of time reflect a combination of changing circumstances and a certain pattern of economic policy decisions made by the monetary and exchange authorities.1 Conversely, a broad range of policy decisions is influenced by both the existing level of monetary reserves and the level which it is desired to establish in the future. A country with large reserves has a choice between a program of overinvestment or of overconsumption which results in balance of payments disequilibrium and a depletion of reserves, and policies which maintain reserves, or even increase them further—policies which imply that some consumption and/or some investment has for the time being been foregone. On the other hand, if a country insufficiently endowed with reserves engages in large programs of investment and/or of consumption, these programs can be sustained only so long as export receipts remain high. If such a country is confronted with a drastic fall in its export income, it may have to impose a large cut in imports and in employment in order to maintain some degree of equilibrium in its balance of payments. Thus the range of interactions between policy decisions and the level of reserves is very broad and full of complexities.

E. Walter Robicheck

The author assesses the impact of the increase in oil prices on the balance of payments of 19 importing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. He describes the operation of the new oil facility established in the Fund in June to help its member countries, particularly the LDCs.