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Ms. Andrea Schaechter

The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx

Mr. Paolo Dudine, Sibabrata Das, Ms. Pritha Mitra, Yongzheng Yang, Eteri Kvintradze, and Miss Nkunde Mwase
Low-income countries were hit especially hard by sharp increases in world food and fuel prices in 2007-08 and the global financial crisis that followed. In response, the International Monetary Fund scaled up its financial assistance to low-income countries and revamped its concessional lending facilities to make them more flexible in meeting the diverse needs of these countries. Creating Policy Space in Low-Income Countries during the Recent Crises assesses empirically the outcome of the IMF response, and provides insight into how IMF-supported programs in low-income countries have been adapted to the changing economic circumstances in these countries. The authors report that these programs have provided expanded policy space in the face of the global price shocks and financial crisis.
International Monetary Fund
This paper discusses key findings of the Sixth Review under Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) for Benin. The macroeconomic outlook is weaker for 2009–10, reflecting the impact of the crisis. Real GDP growth is expected to slow down to about 3–4 percent in 2009–10. The authorities’ policy response of allowing automatic fiscal stabilizers to work is appropriate. The implementation of structural reforms needs to be accelerated to enhance the competitiveness of Benin’s economy and increase its resilience to exogenous shocks.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Military coups that occurred in Guinea-Bissau and Mali caused economic disruption in the WAEMU countries. Regional policies have been in line with the recommendations, and growth is expected to remain robust, risks are on the downside, and the macroeconomic policy is appropriate. Preserving debt sustainability and stability of the Union in the medium term requires better coordination of fiscal policies. Development of the financial system, and strengthening of the regulatory and supervisory framework is necessary to address existing and new risks.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The adoption of internationally recognized standards and codes of good practice can help to improve economic policymaking and strengthen the international financial system. The international community has called on the IMF and other forums and standard-setting agencies to develop standards and codes covering a number of economic and financial areas. As part of an ongoing outreach process, the IMF and the World Bank jointly sponsored a conference on international standards and codes in Washington, DC, during March 7-8. Participants in the conference included senior officials from selected industrial countries and from emerging market, transition, and other developing countries; IMF Executive Directors; and representatives from international agencies, standard-setting bodies, and the private sector.

International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The coverage of risks has become more systematic since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC): staff reports now regularly identify major risks and provide an assessment of their likelihood and economic impact, summarized in Risk Assessment Matrices (RAM). But still limited attention is paid to the range of possible outcomes. Also, risk identification is useful only so much as to inform policy design to preemptively respond to relevant risks and/or better prepare for them. In this regard, policy recommendations in surveillance could be richer in considering various risk management approaches. To this end, progress is needed on two dimensions: • Increasing emphasis on the range of potential outcomes to improve policy design. • Encouraging more proactive policy advice on how to manage risks. Efforts should continue to leverage internal and external resources to support risk analysis and advice in surveillance.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

01/195: Globalization and Firms’ Financing Choices: Evidence from Emerging Economies, Sergio Schmukler and Esteban Vesperoni

Burton David

04/11: “Banking Competition, Risk, and Regulation,” Wilko Bolt and Alexander F. Tieman

International Monetary Fund

This paper presents Mali’s First Review under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, and requests for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria. The food and fuel price shocks have begun to moderate, partly because of the authorities' supply-side measures and declining oil prices. New risks are emerging from the global credit crisis and its spillover effects onto global growth, commodity markets, and exchange rates. The authorities need to be vigilant on the fiscal front because policies have relaxed owing to external food and fuel price shocks and higher-than-expected nondebt financing.