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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Member country use of IMF resources decreased in 1999, to SDR 10.8 billion (about $14.7 billion) from SDR 21.5 billion ($29.3 billion) in 1998, as member country economies recovered from the severe crises that had affected many regions in 1998. While lending under all facilities decreased in 1999, several member countries received large disbursements during the year. Brazil received the largest disbursement of any member, under the Supplemental Reserve Facility, for SDR 3.6 billion ($4.9 billion) and also SDR 814.1 million ($1.1 billion) under a Stand-By Arrangement. Mexico received the largest disbursement under a Stand-By Arrangement, SDR 1.04 billion ($1.4 billion). Disbursements under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) were dominated by drawings totaling SDR 1.0 billion ($1.4 billion) by Indonesia. Nicaragua received the largest disbursement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), for SDR 78.3 million ($106.7 million).

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Russia’s unexpectedly strong recovery since its 1998 crisis has left people wondering whether it is just a temporary result of higher oil prices and the postcrisis depreciation of the ruble or a sign ofdurable improvements in the much-battered economy. This question is addressed in the book Russia Rebounds, written by members of the IMF’s Russian team and due out later this year. John Odling-Smee, Director of the IMF’s European II Department, spoke with Laura Wallace about Russia’s prospects and its relationship with the IMF during the troubled 1990s. Odling-Smee, a U.K. national, joined the IMF in 1990 and took over responsibility for the IMF’s relations with former Soviet Union countries in 1992. Before that, he served in the U.K. Cabinet Office and Treasury for about 15 years.
Mr. Arvind Subramanian and Mr. Shanker Satyanath
We examine the deep determinants of long-run macroeconomic stability in a cross-country framework. We find that conflict, openness, and democratic political institutions have a strong and statistically significant causal impact on macroeconomic stability. Surprisingly the most robust relationship of the three is for democratic institutions. A one standard deviation increase in democracy can reduce nominal instability nearly fourfold. This impact is robust to alternative measures of democracy, samples, covariates, and definitions of conflict. It is particularly noteworthy that a variety of nominal pathologies discussed in the recent macroeconomic literature, such as procyclical policy, original sin, and debt intolerance, have common origins in weak democratic institutions. We also find evidence that democratic institutions both strongly influence monetary policy and have a strong, independent positive effect on stability after controlling for various policy variables.
Roberto Luis Olinto Ramos, Lisbeth Rivas, and Mr. Gonzalo C Pastor Campos
This paper reviews the Latin American experience with the implementation of 1993 SNAand the updating of the national accounts' base year. It also makes a preliminary assessment of the possible estimation biases in nominal GDP estimates stemming from the use of outdated national accounts base years, downwards biases with household final consumption estimates, and an overestimation of gross fixed capital formation in construction activities.
International Monetary Fund
The table provides information on HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Country) Initiative debt relief provided by each non-Paris Club official bilateral creditor to post-completion point HIPCs. It tracks the HIPC Initiative debt relief granted by these creditors so far. The table will be updated annually in the context of the "HIPC Initiative Status of Implementation Report." It will also be updated when creditors and debtors provide comprehensive information for updating the estimates of HIPC Initiative debt relief provided.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

An anticipated decline in flows of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Asia in the wake of the 1997-98 financial crisis failed to materialize, according to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) press release issued on January 25. Preliminary UNCTAD estimates for 1999 show, instead, that FDI flows to developing Asia in 1999 actually increased slightly by 1 percent to $91 billion in 1999 over 1998.