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Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar and Kent Osband
Energy exports, which are already the primary source of Soviet convertible currency earnings and an important contributor to the budget, could bring in much more revenue if the Soviet Union were to reduce its extremely high levels of energy consumption. To encourage this process, energy prices need to be raised substantially. Under plausible assumptions, it is shown that an increase in prices could yield sizable foreign exchange earnings. Large increases in energy prices could, however, threaten the solvency of industrial enterprises, precipitate major economic and social dislocation, and severely strain interrepublican economic relationships.
Stephen Snudden
Structural budget-balance rules with countercyclical elements appear well suited to stabilize the macroeconomic volatility of oil-exporting countries and have been used successfully by other commodity exporters. Using a global DSGE model, the efficient design of such rules is found to depend on the source of oil price fluctuations and the oil exporters’ structural characteristics. The output-inflation tradeoff is of particular concern for oil exporters relative to non-oil exporters due to the pass through of oil prices into headline inflation. Fiscal rules are best when coordinated with inflation targeting monetary policy, but are still desirable for fixed exchange rate regimes.
Davide Furceri and Bin Grace Li
This paper provides new empirical evidence of the macroeconomic effects of public investment in developing economies. Using public investment forecast errors to identify unanticipated changes in public investment, the paper finds that increased public investment raises output in the short and medium term, with an average short-term fiscal multiplier of about 0.2. We find some evidence that the effects are larger: (i) during periods of slack; (ii) in economies operating with fixed exchange rate regimes; (iii) in more closed economies; (iv) in countries with lower public debt; and (v) in countries with higher investment efficiency. Finally, we show that increases in public investment tend to lower income inequality.
Mr. Benedict F. W. Bingham, Mr. James Daniel, and Mr. Giulio Federico
This paper examines the case for government-led smoothing of domestic petroleum prices in the face of volatile international prices. Governments in most developing and transition countries engage in petroleum price smoothing, as the survey of country practice carried out for this paper shows. This paper reviews the potential welfare implications of petroleum price volatility, and assesses different price smoothing rules on the basis of historical oil prices. These simulations reveal the presence of a sharp trade-off between price smoothing and fiscal stability, suggesting that developing and transition country governments should engage in limited price smoothing and, if possible, rely on hedging instruments to do so.
Ian W.H. Parry, Victor Mylonas, and Nate Vernon
Spreadsheet models are used to assess the environmental, fiscal, economic, and incidence effects of a wide range of options for reducing fossil fuel use in India. Among the most effective options is ramping up the existing coal tax. Annually increasing the tax by INR 150 ($2.25) per ton of coal from 2017 to 2030 avoids over 270,000 air pollution deaths, raises revenue of 1 percent of GDP in 2030, reduces CO2 emissions 12 percent, and generates net economic benefits of approximately 1 percent of GDP. The policy is mildly progressive and (at least initially) imposes a relatively modest cost burden on industries.
Jeremy warford and Zeinab Partow

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.

Harinder Kohli and Edilberto Segura

This paper highlights the sources of payments problems in less developed countries. Growth in the industrial countries has a direct impact on the current account of the developing countries through its influence on both the prices and volumes of their exports. An increase in the real effective exchange rate is clearly a fundamental determinant of a deteriorating current account since, other things being equal, it tends to raise domestic demand for imports and to reduce foreign demand for exports.

Mr. James Daniel
Many governments are heavily exposed to oil price risk, especially those dependent on revenue derived from oil production. For these governments, dealing with large price movements is difficult and costly. Traditional approaches, such as stabilization funds, are inherently flawed. Oil risk markets could be a solution. These markets have matured greatly in the last decade, and their range and depth could allow even substantial producers, and consumers, to hedge their oil price risk. Yet governments have held back from using these markets, mainly for fear of the political cost and lack of know how. This suggests that the IMF, together with other development agencies, should consider encouraging governments to explore the scope for hedging their oil price risk.
Mr. Johannes Wiegand
This paper discusses fiscal surveillance criteria for the countries of the Central African Monetary and Economic Union (CEMAC), most of which depend heavily on oil exports. At present, the CEMAC's macroeconomic surveillance exercise sets as fiscal target a floor on the basic budgetary balance. This appears inadequate, for at least two reasons. First, fluctuations in oil prices and, hence, oil receipts obscure the underlying fiscal stance. Second, oil resources are limited, which suggests that some of today's oil receipts should be saved to finance future consumption. The paper develops easy-to-calculate indicators that take both aspects into account. A retrospective analysis based on these alternative indicators reveals that in recent years, the CEMAC's surveillance exercise has tended to accommodate stances of fiscal policy that are at odds with sound management of oil wealth.
Samya Beidas-Strom and Mr. Andrea Pescatori
How much does speculation contribute to oil price volatility? We revisit this contentious question by estimating a sign-restricted structural vector autoregression (SVAR). First, using a simple storage model, we show that revisions to expectations regarding oil market fundamentals and the effect of mispricing in oil derivative markets can be observationally equivalent in a SVAR model of the world oil market à la Kilian and Murphy (2013), since both imply a positive co-movement of oil prices and inventories. Second, we impose additional restrictions on the set of admissible models embodying the assumption that the impact from noise trading shocks in oil derivative markets is temporary. Our additional restrictions effectively put a bound on the contribution of speculation to short-term oil price volatility (lying between 3 and 22 percent). This estimated short-run impact is smaller than that of flow demand shocks but possibly larger than that of flow supply shocks.