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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In a press release issued on July 28, the IMF announced it has approved a 17-month Stand-By credit for Russia equivalent to SDR 3.3 billion (about $4.5 billion) to support the government’s 1999–2000 economic program. There will be seven equal disbursements of SDR 471.4 million (about $640 million), with the first installment to be released immediately. Subsequent installments will depend on quarterly reviews being completed and performance criteria and structural benchmarks beingmet. At the conclusion of the IMF Executive Board meeting, IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer made the following statement.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

At his first Washington press conference since taking office as IMF Managing Director, Horst Köhler said on May 25 that the IMF’s work program in the coming weeks would be organized in “a double-track process.” The first track would be that the Executive Board would continue to work on the agenda set by the International Monetary and Financial Committee at its April meeting (IMF Survey, April 24, page 119), specifically a review of IMF facilities, standards and codes, transparency, and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. The second track, he said, would seek to place these initiatives in a broader picture, which he called “a vision about the future” of the IMF. A special working group has been organized to concentrate on this, he disclosed. (For an edited transcript of Köhler’s press conference, see page 178.)

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix highlights that after eight years of decline, economic activity of Cameroon began to pick up following the January 1994 devaluation of the CFA franc, the accompanying upturn in world economic activity, and favorable international commodity prices. Real GDP, which had fallen by an annual average of 4 percent since the mid-1980s, began to recover, with the annual growth rate stabilizing at about 5 percent in the three years to 1997/98. In the policy area, the 1994 devaluation was accompanied by tax and trade reforms.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following is the edited text of the statement issued by the finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven on April 28 in Washington.

International Monetary Fund

This paper examines Turkey’s 2002 Article IV Consultation and First Review Under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). In response to September 11, the Turkish government initiated a new intensified IMF-supported program, both to protect the economy against future crises, and to continue Turkey’s ambitious reform agenda. Under the 2002–04 Program, the continuation of the float will limit the potential for speculative attacks. Ongoing financial sector reform together with corporate sector restructuring will help strengthen the banking and business sectors, and continued fiscal discipline should foster medium-term debt sustainability.

International Monetary Fund

The new government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia has formulated and started to implement an ambitious program of stabilization and reform with impressive speed and commitment. The program provides for macroeconomic policies designed to reduce inflation and support reconstruction coupled with bold reforms. The policy achievements so far have been impressive. Prudent policies alone cannot ensure progress toward sustainable growth and external viability. The program sets the basis for the country in achieving sustainable output growth and a viable external position.

International Monetary Fund

The main priority was to seek assurances that policies were on track to facilitate a smooth transition to the postprogram environment. A stable exchange rate and continued declines in inflation have allowed reductions in interest rates in support of the economic recovery. With inflation risks now more balanced, Bank Indonesia's commitment to maintain a cautious monetary stance will help safeguard the hard-won gains on inflation and exchange rate stability. The Indonesia Bank Restructuring Agency is making good progress in bringing its asset sales programs to a successful conclusion.

International Monetary Fund

Macroeconomic imbalances are large, and structural problems are deep-rooted in Portugal. The new government’s strong commitment to program implementation is encouraging. Fiscal performance so far demonstrates the need to refocus the fiscal strategy on strong expenditure control, as envisaged under the program. To support activity, it is crucial to prevent an excessively rapid deleveraging of the banking sector. Ultimately, the success of the program hinges on opening up the economy and improving competitiveness. The European Council’s renewed support enhances prospects for the program’s success.

International Monetary Fund

Romania’s economy has stabilized and growth is now resuming. The financial program’s objectives include structural reforms in the energy and transport sectors, and restructuring and privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The macroeconomic outlook is expected to improve in 2011–12 with a gradual pickup in growth, a stable current account, and inflationary pressures that are still high but will begin to recede after mid-2011. The authorities are also focusing on reducing the arrears of the rest of the public sector.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

This paper discusses Greece’s Fourth Review Under the Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility, and Request for Waivers of Applicability and Modification of Performance Criterion. The economy is rebalancing, but it continues to do so through recession, not productivity-enhancing structural reform. Domestic demand continues to fall albeit at a moderating pace, and import compression has resulted in a further shrinking of the current account deficit. The large output gap and high unemployment rate are exerting downward pressure on wages, and the competitiveness gap in unit labor cost terms has narrowed further. Product prices are also easing. Sentiment indicators have improved, but the political crisis has had a dampening effect.