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Bourn-Jong Choe

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Ms. Irena Asmundson and Ceyda Oner

Technology is generating a global convergence. A "big bang" of information—and education as well—is improving human lives. And with global interconnectivity growing by leaps and bounds, we are all witness to a rapid spread of information and ideas. But, as we have seen from the prolonged global financial crisis, our interconnectedness carries grave risks as well as benefits. This issue of F&D looks at different aspects of interconnectedness, globally and in Asia. • Brookings VP Kemal Devis presents the three fundamental trends in the global economy affecting the balance between east and west in "World Economy: Convergence, Interdependence, and Divergence." • In "Financial Regionalism," Akihiro Kawai and Domenico Lombardi tell us how regional arrangements are helping global financial stability. • In "Migration Meets Slow Growth," Migration Policy Institute president Demetrios Papademetriou examines how the global movement of workers will change as the economic crisis continues in advanced economies. • "Caught in the Web" explains new ways of looking at financial interconnections in a globalized world. • IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde provides her take on the benefits of integration and the risks of fragmentation in "Straight Talk." Also in this issue, we take a closer look at interconnectedness across Asia as we explore how trade across the region is affected by China's falling trade surplus, how India and China might learn from each others' success, and what Myanmar's reintegration into the global economy means for its people. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Justin Yifu Lin, first developing country World Bank economist, and the Back to Basics series explains the origins and evolution of money.

Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, Mr. Peter Wickham, Mr. Mohsin S. Khan, and Ms. Carmen Reinhart

Abstract

This paper analyzes global commodity trends and concludes that the marked decline in real commodity prices of the past decade should be regarded as largely permanent and irreversible. The authors contend that the analysis of commodity prices should be extended to include the role of the breakdown of major international commodity agreements. In addition, the authors analyze how developments in the former Soviet Union have affected commodity supply conditions.

Gordon Hughes

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

CARMEN M. REINHART and PETER WICKHAM

Primary commodities still account for the bulk of exports in many developing countries. However, real commodity prices have been declining almost continuously since the early 1980s. The appropriate policy response to a terms of trade shock depends importantly on whether the shock is perceived to be temporary or permanent. Our results indicate that the recent weakness in commodity prices is mostly secular, stressing the need for commodity exporting countries to concentrate on export diversification and other structural policies. There is, however, scope for stabilization funds and the use of hedging strategies, since the evidence also suggests commodity prices have become more volatile.

Anne Romanis

While the immediate prospects for the Belgian economy appear rather favorable, there is a growing realization that integration into the European Economic Community (EEC) will pose the need for marked structural changes and adaptation over the next few years.1

Bension Varon

Concern over the availability and longevity of natural resources has escalated to the point where it finds expression in a question that is so absolute as to have parallels not in the social sciences but in philosophy. Having posed the question, the author examines the conceptual boundaries and practical dimensions of the problem of scarcity of raw materials.

International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund
In this study, the following are listed: GDP by sector and expenditure, gross industrial output by sector, employment by sector, industrial employment by sector, indicators of hidden unemployment, selected labor market indicators, unemployment rate by regions, consumer price inflation and CPI weights, industrial producer prices, wages, pensions and per capita income, federal government budget execution, regional and local government operations, extrabudgetary fund operations, monetary surveys, balance of payment projections, origin of imports, composition of merchandise imports, foreign currency disbursements to the federal government, and nonsovereign/sector financial account.
Sayuri Shirai
Using the international input-output tables between Japan and five Pacific Basin countries (Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand) for the years 1975 and 1985, the paper examines the trade structure in 1975 and how it had shifted by 1985. It shows that intra-industry trade in manufactured products expanded as Japan increased imports of more capital-intensive products from these countries. Intra-industry trade of intermediate inputs increased substantially more than of final products, reflecting a trend by manufacturers to subdivide the production process of intermediate inputs and to shift their locations to different countries. This suggests a more active development of international labor in the intermediate stages of production and a deepening of regional linkages.