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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Australian economy has performed well relative to many other advanced economies since the global financial crisis. A transition phase has now been reached as the terms of trade-driven mining investment boom of the past decade has peaked, and the economy is moving to the production and export phase. Annual growth slowed to 2¼ percent in the third quarter of 2013, below the trend growth of about 3 percent. Inflation remains anchored in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) target range.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the housing prices in Australia. Housing prices in Australia have increased strongly over the past two decades, including by comparison internationally. Thus housing prices are often argued to be overvalued. Many counter-arguments have been put forward for why such measures are flawed. This paper argues that housing prices are moderately stronger than consistent with current economic fundamentals, but less than a comparison to historical or international averages would suggest. International comparisons of price-to-income ratios suggest that Australia is broadly in line with comparator countries, although significant data comparability issues make inference difficult.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Two Faces of Financial Globalization looks at the phenomenon of rising cross-border financial flows-credited with boosting growth in developing countries but also blamed for the emerging market crises of the late 1980s and 1990s. The lead article puts together a framework for analyzing studies about the costs and benefits of financial globalization. Other articles look at the worldwide allocation of capital, the role of finance in macroeconomic management, and changes in the investor base. "Picture This" illustrates the growth and direction of capital flows. One guest contributor describes India's capital account liberalization, and another looks at how participants in international finance can cope with a fluid financial landscape. "People in Economics" profiles Guillermo Calvo; "Back to Basics" explains the difference between the purchasing power parity exchange rate and market exchange rates as measures of global economic growth; and "Country Focus" spotlights Australia.

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper for Chile assesses the impact of the global financial crisis on Chilean banks. It provides a framework for analyzing government measures aimed at reducing systemic risk. The analysis suggests that Chilean banks are resilient to global and regional shocks. However, even in the absence of direct exposures with other countries in the region, there may be risk spillovers from other banks in the region and in advanced economies. The paper also presents options for further strengthening Chile’s fiscal framework.
International Monetary Fund
Australia’s large external deficits appear sustainable. There are, however, risks associated with the resulting external debt that need continued careful management. These deficits, which largely reflect high investment rather than low saving, should be sustainable as long as the Australian economy, especially its exports, grow strongly. The associated accumulation of foreign liabilities nonetheless leaves the country exposed to shocks, but these risks appear to be well managed. Australia’s fiscal policy appears to be broadly consistent with guidelines for fiscal management in the face of commodity price swings.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This 2013 Article IV consultation highlights Australia’s below-trend GDP growth and the beginning of the decline of the investment phase of the mining boom, which has passed its peak. A key issue now is how Australia can manage the mining-production/export phase and encourage broader-based growth. The main external risks include a slowdown in China over the medium term and surges in global financial market volatility. The pickup in housing market activity, though welcome to date, could pose a future risk if prices accelerate and lead to overshooting. The financial sector is resilient and has strengthened in recent years, although banks’ reliance on offshore funding will continue. The emphasis on tight lending standards and intensive supervision should help limit financial sector risks.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This Technical Assistance Report discusses the advice provided by the IMF staff to the authorities of Uganda regarding extractive industry fiscal regimes. As Uganda’s portfolio of projects diversifies in the oil sector, the minimum take could be adjusted to allow for possible bonus bids, and for higher shares in the most successful projects. The royalty design also needs to take account of new provisions for distribution of a portion to local governments. The cost recovery limit could be set at 70 percent after deduction of royalty. In addition to work program, either a signature bonus or an upper tier of production sharing should form the bid variable in the licensing round, with all other items fixed and non-negotiable.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper takes stock of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Poverty has receded in the DRC over the last decade on the back of gradual stabilization in the security and political situation, strong economic growth, and sharp decline in inflationary pressures. Most social indicators also improved during the period. However, poverty remains pervasive with a level still among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, and DRC will likely not achieve any of the Millennium Developments Goals by 2015. Policy actions should focus on fostering the development of labor-intensive sector, increasing social spending, and redirecting public resources to the poorest regions of the country.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This Technical Assistance report reviews South Africa’s tax system and also examines the fiscal regime with a view to generating a sustainable revenue contribution from mining and petroleum in future. Mining has historically been the mainstay of the South African economy. Mineral exports remain the principal contributor to foreign exchange earnings on the current account. South Africa is not yet a significant producer of crude oil or natural gas. Oil and gas exploration nevertheless shows promise. Taxation is far from top of the list in current challenges facing the development of extractive industries in South Africa. The national goal of economic and social transformation in favor of Historically Disadvantaged South Africans has major impact on the mining sector.
Gabriel Di Bella and Mr. Martin D. Cerisola
By the end of 2007, Chile's total factor productivity was lower than ten years earlier, a performance that contrasted sharply with the previous decade, when productivity grew by a cumulative 30 percent. This paper assesses productivity trends in Chile, by decomposing productivity into investment-specific technological change (associated with improvements in the quality of capital) and neutral technological change (related to the organization of productive activities). It concludes that investment-specific technological improvements have contributed significantly to long-term growth in Chile, in line with trends observed in other net commodity exporters, while neutral technological change has been slow.