- International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept.
- Published Date:
- August 2017
Exchange Arrangements and Surveillance
Notification of Exchange Arrangements Under Article IV, Section 2
2. The procedures set forth in Section IV of SM/77/277 [attached] are approved, and members shall be guided by the considerations in Section IV with respect to the prompt notification of any changes in their exchange arrangements.
Decision No. 5712-(78/41),
March 23, 1978
Attachment Section IV of SM/77/277 IV. Issues Connected with Subsequent Notification
Once the procedures for initial notification have been clarified, only a few issues remain to be dealt with in respect of subsequent notifications. One of these is the question of what would constitute a change in an exchange arrangement requiring notification. Clearly, any official action involving the adoption of a different type of arrangement would require notification. Furthermore, in cases where a member pegs its currency, it would be appropriate to notify the Fund of all changes in the peg; this would include not only every change in the central point around which a member was maintaining margins, but also those involving a change in the composition of a composite, other than one occurring from a redistribution of currency weights on the basis of newly available trade or payments data.
For members with flexible exchange arrangements, it is more difficult to specify changes, which will require notification to the Fund. For members classified as fixing the rate according to a set of indicators, it would seem an appropriate rule that they communicate to the Fund details of any discrete exchange rate changes that are not consistent with the changes produced by the set of indicators. It would also be expected, if the suggested approach outlined earlier in this paper is accepted, that all members maintaining flexible exchange arrangements be asked to notify the Fund whenever the authorities have taken a significant decision affecting such arrangements. This would involve, as a minimum, notification of such decisions whenever public policy statements have been issued. In addition, in any instance in which the Managing Director considered that a significant change had occurred in a member’s exchange policy (including intervention arrangements), and no notification has been received from that member, he would consult with the member to request information on the background to such developments. If considered appropriate, a formal notification of the change would be sought from the member.
Members would be expected to inform the Fund of all actions involving exchange taxes and subsidies. Indeed, under Article VIII, Section 3, members will continue to be required to request prior Fund approval of any multiple currency practices that may be involved in such actions.
Upon receipt of notification of a change in exchange arrangements from a member the staff would circulate it to the Executive Board. If the Board wishes, it could continue to be the normal practice that whenever a change is significant, its communication to the Board would be followed promptly by a staff paper describing the context of the change in policy and giving the staff’s assessment.
The Chairman’s Summing Up—Modernizing the Legal Framework for Surveillance—An Integrated Surveillance Decision Executive Board Meeting 12/72, July 18, 2012
The Executive Board today adopted the Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance, establishing a comprehensive framework for the Fund’s bilateral and multilateral surveillance that builds on well-established principles and practices. This Decision, together with recent actions taken to strengthen surveillance operations such as the production of a pilot external sector report, represents a significant step to modernize Fund surveillance and achieve progress toward the priorities of the 2011 Triennial Surveillance Review. While oversight of members’ exchange rate policies remains at the core of Fund surveillance under the Articles, the new Decision will provide a basis for the Fund to engage more effectively with members on domestic economic and financial policies.
Directors agreed that the integration of bilateral and multilateral surveillance will help fill important gaps in surveillance. In particular, they considered that clarifying the scope of multilateral surveillance will help improve the quality, effectiveness, and evenhandedness of Fund surveillance. At the same time, the Decision maintains adequate flexibility to adapt surveillance as circumstances may require. Importantly, the Decision does not, and cannot be construed or used to, expand or change the nature of members’ obligations.
Directors underscored that increased attention to multilateral surveillance should not come at the expense of the focus on issues relevant for the stability of individual economies. They welcomed the clarification in the new Decision that instances where a member’s domestic instability gives rise to systemic instability with little or no impact on its balance of payments are a subject of bilateral surveillance. Directors also noted that replacing “external stability” with “balance of payments stability,” without changing the definition or Board guidance on the meaning of the term or other concepts underlying the Decision, provides a helpful clarification.
Directors emphasized the importance of dialogue and persuasion, clarity and candor, evenhandedness, and due regard for member countries’ individual circumstances. They also stressed the importance of situating the Fund’s assessment and policy advice within a consistent multilateral framework.
Directors considered that the introduction of a new Principle for the guidance of members’ domestic economic and financial policies that is based on Article IV, Section 1 is a useful step to signal the importance the Fund attaches in its surveillance to both the role of exchange rate and domestic policies in promoting a member’s domestic and balance of payments stability. They noted that this new Principle is intended to help address the perceived exchange rate bias in the legal framework for surveillance within the parameters of Article IV.
Directors considered it important to encourage members to implement policies conducive to the effective operation of the international monetary system. They welcomed the clarification in the new Decision that, to the extent that a member is promoting its own stability, it cannot be required to change its policies to better support the effective operation of the international monetary system. Directors emphasized that the framework for multilateral surveillance set out in the new Decision should not be exercised in a manner that leads to an excessive examination of a member’s domestic policies. They also stressed that, in overseeing members’ policies respecting capital flows and reserve accumulation, the Fund should be mindful of each individual country’s circumstances.
Directors welcomed using Article IV consultations as a vehicle for both bilateral and multilateral surveillance. They underscored the need to ensure that Article IV consultations are not overburdened by this expanded coverage, including through careful prioritization of the topics to be covered.
Directors emphasized the importance of setting out clearly—while not being overly prescriptive—the key elements of the Fund’s and members’ roles and procedures under possible multilateral consultations to tackle global issues requiring international collaboration or collective action.
Directors stressed that, in order for the Decision to deliver fully on its promises, its implementation and clarity in the operational guidance note to staff will be important, as well as strong ownership by policymakers. They highlighted that modernizing the legal surveillance framework should be complemented with the expeditious implementation of the 2010 quota and governance reform, and continued progress in enhancing the Fund’s legitimacy and relevance.
Directors considered it important to ensure the smooth implementation of the new Decision. They agreed that leaving six months between the adoption and the entry into force of the new Decision would allow sufficient time for both staff and country authorities to become fully familiar with the new framework.
July 24, 2012
Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance
1. The Executive Board adopts the Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance set forth in Attachment I of SM/12/156 Supplement 2. The Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance will become effective 6 months after the date on which the Decision is approved.
2. Decision 13919-(07/51), adopted June 15, 2007, as amended, (the “2007 Surveillance Decision”) is repealed as of the effective date of the Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance.
3. The Decision on Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance will apply to all Article IV consultations that have not been completed by the Fund before the effective date of the Decision. (SM/12/156, Sup. 2, 07/17/12)
Decision No. 15203-(12/72),
July 18, 2012
Attachment I of SM/12/156 Supplement Bilateral and Multilateral Surveillance
Since the adoption in 2007 of the Decision entitled “Bilateral Surveillance over Members’ Policies” (the “2007 Decision”), there have been significant developments in the global economy that have highlighted the extent of trade and financial interconnections and integration and the potential benefits and risks of spillovers across national borders. In light of these developments and in recognition of the increasingly important international dimensions of surveillance and of cross-country spillovers, the Fund is of the view that better integrating bilateral and multilateral surveillance, including through the adoption of an integrated surveillance decision covering both responsibilities, would play an important role in providing guidance to both the Fund and its members regarding their mutual responsibilities under Article IV. The Fund emphasizes that the guidance being provided to members in this Decision relates to the performance of their existing obligations under Article IV; no new obligations are created for members by this Decision. Moreover, the Fund recognizes that members have legitimate policy objectives, including domestic social and political policy objectives, that are beyond the scope of Article IV and, accordingly, beyond the scope of this Decision, although when adopting policies to achieve these objectives, members need to ensure that such policies are consistent with their obligations under Article IV. They are also encouraged to be mindful of the impact of such policies on the international monetary system.
This Decision does not, and cannot be construed or used to, expand or broaden the scope—or change the nature—of members’ obligations under the Articles of Agreement, directly or indirectly, including the obligations set out in Articles IV, VI and VIII. Part I of this Decision is designed to give guidance to the Fund in its conduct of bilateral and multilateral surveillance. The principles for the guidance of members set forth in Part II of this Decision regarding their exchange rate and domestic economic and financial policies respect the domestic social and political policies of members and will be applied in a manner that pays due regard to the circumstances of members, and the need for evenhandedness in the practice of surveillance. Moreover, the Principle for the guidance of members’ domestic economic and financial policies recognizes that the obligations of members governing such policies under Article IV Section 1 are of a best efforts nature. Finally, looking forward, flexibility will be maintained to allow for the continued evolution of surveillance.
1. This Decision provides guidance to the Fund in:
(a) its general oversight over members’ exchange rate and domestic policies pursuant to Article IV, Sections 3 (a) and its firm surveillance over the exchange rate policies of members pursuant to Article IV, Sections 3 (b), (hereinafter referred to as “bilateral surveillance”); and,
(b) the exercise of its responsibility to oversee the international monetary system in order to ensure its effective operation pursuant to Article IV, Section 3 (a) (hereinafter referred to as “multilateral” surveillance).
This Decision also provides guidance to members in the conduct of their domestic economic and financial policies and their exchange rate policies.
2. Part I of this Decision sets out the scope and modalities of bilateral and multilateral surveillance. Part II establishes principles for the guidance of members in the conduct of their exchange rate policies and their domestic economic and financial policies for the purposes of ensuring compliance with their obligations under Article IV, Section 1; it also identifies certain developments which, in the Fund’s assessment of a member’s observance of the principles, would require thorough review and might indicate the need for discussion with the member. Beyond members’ obligations under Article IV, Section 1, Part II also encourages members to consider the effects of their policies on the effective operation of the international monetary system. Part III sets out procedures for surveillance. Part IV makes provision for a review of this decision.
3. Fund surveillance over members’ policies and over the international monetary system shall be adapted to the needs of the international monetary and financial system as they develop. The principles and procedures set out in this Decision, which apply to all members irrespective of their exchange arrangements and balance of payments positions, are not necessarily comprehensive and are subject to reconsideration by the Fund in the light of experience.
Part I - Principles for the Guidance of the Fund in Its Surveillance
A. The Scope of Surveillance
4. Article IV, Section 3 requires the Fund to conduct both bilateral and multilateral surveillance. While these responsibilities are legally distinct, it is recognized that bilateral and multilateral surveillance are mutually supportive and reinforcing and, accordingly, need to be operationally integrated.
(i) Bilateral surveillance
5. The scope of bilateral surveillance is determined by members’ obligations under Article IV, Section 1. Members undertake under Article IV, Section 1 to collaborate with the Fund and other members to assure orderly exchange arrangements and to promote a stable system of exchange rates (hereinafter “systemic stability”). Systemic stability is most effectively achieved by each member adopting policies that promote its own balance of payments stability and domestic stability—that is, policies that are consistent with members’ obligations under Article IV, Section 1 and, in particular, the specific obligations set forth in Article IV, Section 1 (i) through (iv). “Balance of payments stability” refers to a balance of payments position that does not, and is not likely to, give rise to disruptive exchange rate movements. Except as provided in paragraph 8 below, balance of payments stability is assessed at the level of each member.
6. In its bilateral surveillance, the Fund will focus on those policies of members that can significantly influence present or prospective balance of payments and domestic stability. The Fund will assess whether exchange rate policies are promoting balance of payments stability and whether domestic economic and financial policies are promoting domestic stability and advise the member on policy adjustments necessary for these purposes. Accordingly, exchange rate policies will always be the subject of the Fund’s bilateral surveillance with respect to each member, as will monetary, fiscal, and financial sector policies (both their macroeconomic aspects and macroeconomically relevant structural aspects). Other policies will be examined in the context of surveillance only to the extent that they significantly influence present or prospective balance of payments or domestic stability.
7. In the conduct of their domestic economic and financial policies, members are considered by the Fund to be promoting balance of payments stability when they are promoting domestic stability—that is, when they (i) endeavor to direct their domestic economic and financial policies toward the objective of fostering orderly economic growth with reasonable price stability, with due regard to their circumstances, and (ii) seek to promote stability by fostering orderly underlying economic and financial conditions and a monetary system that does not tend to produce erratic disruptions. It is recognized that there may be circumstances where a member’s domestic instability may give rise to systemic instability even in the absence of balance of payments instability. The Fund in its surveillance will assess whether a member’s domestic policies are directed toward the promotion of domestic stability. While the Fund will always examine whether a member’s domestic policies are directed toward keeping the member’s economy operating broadly at capacity, the Fund will examine whether domestic policies are directed toward fostering a high rate of potential growth only in those cases where such high potential growth significantly influences prospects for domestic, and thereby balance of payments, stability. However, the Fund will not require a member that is complying with Article IV, Sections 1(i) and (ii) to change its domestic policies in the interests of balance of payments stability.
8. This Decision applies to members of currency unions, subject to the following considerations. Members of currency unions remain subject to all of their obligations under Article IV, Section 1 and, accordingly, each member is accountable for those policies that are conducted by union-level institutions on its behalf. In its surveillance over the policies of members of a currency union, the Fund will assess whether relevant policies implemented at the level of the currency union (including exchange rate and monetary policies) and at the level of members are promoting the balance of payments and domestic stability of the union and will advise on policy adjustments necessary for this purpose. In particular, the Fund will assess whether the exchange rate policies of the union are promoting its balance of payments stability, and whether domestic policies implemented at the level of the union are promoting the domestic, and thereby balance of payments, stability of the union. Because, in a currency union, exchange rate policies are implemented at the level of the union, the principles for the guidance of members’ exchange rate policies and the associated indicators set out in paragraphs 21 and 22 of this Decision only apply at the level of the currency union. With respect to the conduct of domestic policies implemented at the level of individual members, the Fund will assess whether a member of a currency union is promoting its own domestic stability and will consider the member to be promoting the balance of payments and domestic stability of the union when it is promoting its own domestic stability. In view of the importance of individual members’ balances of payments for the domestic stability of the member and the balance of payments and domestic stability of the union, the Fund’s assessment of the policies of a member of a currency union will always include an evaluation of developments in the member’s own balance of payments.
(ii) Multilateral Surveillance
9. The scope of multilateral surveillance is determined by the obligation of the Fund under Article IV, Section 3 (a) to oversee the international monetary system in order to ensure its effective operation. In the context of multilateral surveillance, the Fund may not and will not require a member to change its policies in the interests of the effective operation of the international monetary system. It may, however, discuss the impact of members’ policies on the effective operation of the international monetary system and may suggest alternative policies that, while promoting the member’s own stability, better promote the effective operation of the international monetary system.
10. The international monetary system includes, in particular: (a) the rules governing exchange arrangements between countries and the rates at which foreign exchange is purchased and sold; (b) the rules governing the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions between countries; (c) the arrangements respecting the regulation of international capital movements; and (d) the arrangements under which international reserves are held, including official arrangements through which countries have access to liquidity through purchases from the Fund or under official currency swap arrangements.
11. The international monetary system is considered to be operating effectively when the areas it governs do not exhibit symptoms of malfunction such as, for example, persistent significant current account imbalances, an unstable system of exchange rates including foreign exchange rate misalignment, volatile capital flows, the excessive build up or depletion of reserves, or imbalances arising from excessive or insufficient global liquidity. It is recognized that, typically, the international monetary system may only operate effectively in an environment of global economic and financial stability, and that its effective operation contributes to such stability. Both global economic and financial stability and the effective operation of the international monetary system may be affected by, among other factors, members’ own balance of payments and domestic stability, economic and financial interconnections among members’ economies and potential spillovers from members’ economic and financial policies through balance of payments and other channels.
12. Therefore, in its multilateral surveillance, the Fund will focus on issues that may affect the effective operation of the international monetary system, including (a) global economic and financial developments and the outlook for the global economy, including risks to global economic and financial stability, and (b) the spillovers arising from policies of individual members that may significantly influence the effective operation of the international monetary system, for example by undermining global economic and financial stability. The policies of members that may be relevant for this purpose include exchange rate, monetary, fiscal, and financial sector policies and policies respecting capital flows.
B. The Modalities of Surveillance
13. The Fund’s assessment of an individual member’s policies and its advice to a member in the context of surveillance will be conducted in a manner that is consistent with the following modalities. Except where they are expressly limited in their application to bilateral surveillance, these modalities shall apply to policy discussions between the Fund and individual members whether they take place in the context of bilateral or multilateral surveillance.
14. Continuous dialogue and persuasion are key pillars of effective surveillance. The Fund, in its surveillance over the policies of individual members, will clearly and candidly assess relevant economic developments, prospects, risks, and policies of the member in question, and advise on these. Such assessments, advice and discussion of alternative policies are intended to assist that member in making policy choices, and to enable other members to discuss these policy choices with that member. The Fund will foster an environment of frank and open dialogue and mutual trust with each member and will be evenhanded across members, affording similar treatment to members in similar relevant circumstances.
15. The Fund’s assessment of a member’s policies and its advice on these policies will pay due regard to the circumstances of the member. This assessment and advice will be formulated within the framework of a comprehensive analysis of the general economic situation and economic policy strategy of the member, and will pay due regard to the member’s implementation capacity. Moreover, in advising members on the manner in which they may promote their balance of payments and domestic stability and the effective operation of the international monetary system, the Fund shall, to the extent permitted under Article IV, take into account the member’s other objectives and shall respect its domestic social and political policies.
16. The Fund’s assessment of a member’s policies and its advice to the member will be informed by, and be consistent with, a multilateral framework that incorporates relevant aspects of the global and regional economic and financial environment, including exchange rates, international capital market conditions, and key linkages among members. In the context of bilateral surveillance, the Fund’s assessment and advice will take into account the impact of a member’s policies on other members to the extent that the member’s policies undermine the promotion of its own balance of payments or domestic stability.
17. The Fund’s assessment of a member’s policies and its advice to a member will, to the extent possible, be placed in the context of an examination of the member’s medium-term objectives and the planned conduct of policies, including possible responses to the most relevant contingencies.
18. The Fund’s assessment of a member’s policies will always include an evaluation of the developments in the member’s balance of payments, including the size and sustainability of capital flows, against the background of its reserves, the size and composition of its other external assets and its external liabilities, and its opportunities for access to international capital markets.
Part II - Principles for the Guidance of Members’ Policies
19. It is recognized that a member’s overall mix of economic and financial policies, including both exchange rate and domestic policies, contributes to the members’ balance of payments stability and domestic stability and may impact the stability of the international monetary system. Set out below are (i) principles that are adopted for the purposes of bilateral surveillance and that provide guidance to members in the conduct of their exchange rate policies and their domestic economic and financial policies; and (ii) guidance that is adopted for the purpose of multilateral surveillance and that provides encouragement to members in the conduct of economic and financial policies with a view to ensuring the effective operation of the international monetary system.
(i) Bilateral surveillance
20. Principles A through D below are adopted pursuant to Article IV, Section 3 (b) and are intended to provide guidance to members in the conduct of their exchange rate policies in accordance with their obligations under Article IV, Section 1. Principle E is adopted pursuant to Article IV, Section 1 and is intended to provide guidance to members in the conduct of their domestic economic and financial policies. The Fund recognizes that members have legitimate policy objectives, including domestic social and political policy objectives that are beyond the scope of Article IV and accordingly beyond the scope of this Decision. The Principles set out in paragraph 21 of this Decision respect the domestic social and political policies of members. The Fund will apply these Principles evenhandedly and pay due regard to the circumstances of members. Members are presumed to be implementing policies that are consistent with the Principles. When, in the context of surveillance, a question arises as to whether a particular member is implementing policies consistent with the Principles, the Fund will give the member the benefit of any reasonable doubt, including with respect to an assessment of fundamental exchange rate misalignment. In circumstances where the Fund has determined that a member is implementing policies that are not consistent with these Principles and is informing the member as to what policy adjustments should be made to address this situation, the Fund will take into consideration the disruptive impact that excessively rapid adjustment would have on the member’s economy.
21. Principle A sets forth the obligation contained in Article IV, Section 1(iii); further guidance on its meaning is provided in the Annex to this Decision. Principles B through E constitute recommendations rather than obligations of members. A determination by the Fund that a member is not following one of these recommendations would not create a presumption that that member is in breach of its obligations under Article IV, Section 1.
A. A member shall avoid manipulating exchange rates or the international monetary system in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage over other members.
B. A member should intervene in the exchange market if necessary to counter disorderly conditions, which may be characterized inter alia by disruptive short-term movements in the exchange rate of its currency.
C. Members should take into account in their intervention policies the interests of other members, including those of the countries in whose currencies they intervene.
D. A member should avoid exchange rate policies that result in balance of payments instability.
E. A member should seek to avoid domestic economic and financial policies that give rise to domestic instability.
22. In its surveillance of the observance by members of the Principles set forth above, the Fund shall consider the following developments as among those which would require thorough review and might indicate the need for discussion with a member:
(i) protracted large-scale intervention in one direction in the exchange market;
(ii) official or quasi-official borrowing that either is unsustainable or brings unduly high liquidity risks, or excessive and prolonged official or quasi-official accumulation of foreign assets, for balance of payments purposes;
(iii) (a) the introduction, substantial intensification, or prolonged maintenance, for balance of payments purposes, of restrictions on, or incentives for, current transactions or payments, or (b) the introduction or substantial modification for balance of payments purposes of restrictions on, or incentives for, the inflow or outflow of capital;
(iv) the pursuit, for balance of payments purposes, of monetary and other financial policies that provide abnormal encouragement or discouragement to capital flows;
(v) fundamental exchange rate misalignment;
(vi) large and prolonged current account deficits or surpluses; and
(vii) large external sector vulnerabilities, including liquidity risks, arising from private capital flows.
(ii) Multilateral surveillance
23. Beyond members’ obligations under Article IV, Section 1, and recognizing that a member’s policies may have a significant impact on other members and on global economic and financial stability, members are encouraged to implement exchange rate and domestic economic and financial policies that, in themselves or in combination with the policies of other members, are conducive to the effective operation of the international monetary system.
Part III - Procedures for Surveillance
24. In conducting surveillance, the Fund will make use of various procedures and will adapt these to changing circumstances. As described below, Article IV consultations with members serve as vehicles for both bilateral and multilateral surveillance, except for ad hoc consultations referred to in paragraph 29 which are a vehicle for bilateral surveillance. Other procedures serve as vehicles for multilateral surveillance.
25. Each country that becomes a member of the Fund after the adoption of this decision shall, within thirty days of the date of its membership, notify the Fund in appropriate detail of the exchange arrangements it intends to apply in fulfillment of its obligations under Article IV, Section 1. Each member, regardless of its date of membership, shall notify the Fund promptly of any changes in its exchange arrangements.
C. Article IV Consultations
26. Members shall consult with the Fund regularly under Article IV to enable the Fund to (i) assess members’ compliance with their obligations under Article IV, Section 1 and, in particular, to exercise firm surveillance over the conduct of their exchange rate policies, and (ii) discuss with members the impact of their policies on the operation of the international monetary system. In principle, the consultations under Article IV shall comprehend the regular consultations under Articles VIII and XIV, and shall take place annually. They shall include consideration of the observance by members of the principles and guidance set forth in paragraphs 21 and 23 of this Decision as well as of a member’s obligations under Article IV, Section 1. In addition, they shall include a discussion of the spillover effects of a member’s exchange rate and domestic economic and financial policies that may significantly influence the effective operation of the international monetary system, for example, by undermining global economic and financial stability.
27. It is expected that no later than sixty-five days after the termination of discussions between the member and the staff, the Executive Board will reach conclusions and thereby complete the consultation under Article IV, except in the case of consultations with members eligible for financing under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust established by Decision No. 8759-(87/176), ESAF, as amended, where it is expected that the Executive Board will reach conclusions no later than three months from the termination of discussions between the member and the staff.
D. Bilateral Surveillance – Ad hoc Article IV Consultations
28. The Managing Director shall maintain close contact with members in connection with their exchange arrangements and their policies under Article IV, Section 1, and will be prepared to discuss on the initiative of a member important changes that it contemplates in its exchange arrangements or its policies.
29. (a) Whenever the Managing Director considers that important economic or financial developments are likely to affect a member’s exchange rate policies or the behavior of the exchange rate of its currency, the Managing Director shall, in the context of the Fund’s exercise of firm surveillance over members’ exchange rate policies, initiate informally and confidentially a discussion with the member. After such discussion the Managing Director may report to the Executive Board or informally advise the Executive Directors and, if the Executive Board considers it appropriate, an ad hoc Article IV consultation between the member and the Fund shall be conducted in accordance with the procedure set out in subparagraph (b) below.
(b) A staff report will be circulated to the Executive Directors under cover of a note from the Secretary specifying a tentative date for Executive Board discussion which will be at least 15 days later than the date upon which the report is circulated. The Secretary’s note will also set out a draft decision taking note of the staff report and completing the ad hoc consultation without discussion or approval of the views contained in the report; the decision will be adopted upon the expiration of the two-week period following the circulation of the staff report to the Executive Directors unless, within such period, there is a request from an Executive Director or decision of the Managing Director to place the report on the agenda of the Executive Board. If the staff report is placed on the agenda, the Executive Board will discuss the report and will reach conclusions which will be reflected in a summing up.
(c) Unless otherwise decided by the Executive Board, the conduct of an ad hoc consultation with a member will not affect the consultation cycle applicable to the member or the deadline for completion of the next consultation with the member.
E. Other Multilateral Surveillance Activities
(i) Periodic Reports on the International Monetary System
30. The Fund will assess all issues relevant for the effective operation of the international monetary system, as described in paragraph 11 of this Decision. These assessments may take the form of periodic or ad hoc reports produced by staff for discussion by the Executive Board. In particular, broad developments in exchange rates will be reviewed periodically by the Fund, inter alia in discussions of the international adjustment process within the framework of the World Economic Outlook. The Fund will continue to conduct consultations in preparing for these discussions. In order to inform the Fund’s oversight of the operation of the international monetary system, the Managing Director may collaborate with other international bodies in conducting assessments of relevant issues.
(ii) Multilateral Consultations
31. Whenever the Managing Director considers that an issue has arisen in a policy area or a member country that may significantly influence the effective operation of the international monetary system, and that requires collaboration among members that is not already effectively taking place in another forum in which the Fund is a party, the Managing Director shall informally and confidentially discuss the issue with the relevant members. When the Managing Director forms the view that a multilateral consultation is necessary, the Managing Director may recommend such a consultation to the Executive Board, which may decide that a multilateral consultation will be held. Members shall consult with the Fund in a manner that is consistent with the decision of the Executive Board.
32. A multilateral consultation will consist of discussions between Fund staff and management and officials of relevant member countries, including, in the case of a currency union, with officials of relevant union-level institutions. The Fund will facilitate discussions among participating members and encourage them to agree on policy adjustments that will promote the effective operation of the international monetary system. In these discussions, the Fund will provide analysis and propose policy options that participating members may adopt, and may advise on the effect of different combinations of policy adjustments. During the course of these discussions, the Executive Board will be briefed by the Managing Director.
33. After the conclusion of these discussions, the Managing Director will report to the Executive Board on the discussions, any agreed policy adjustments and their impact on the participating members and the operation of the international monetary system. The Executive Board will conclude the multilateral consultation with the formal consideration of this report.
Part IV - Review
34. It is expected that the Fund will review this Decision and its general implementation at intervals of three years, and at such other times as consideration of such matters may be placed on the agenda of the Executive Board.
Annex. Article IV, Section 1(iii) and Principle A
1. Article IV, Section 1(iii) of the Fund’s Articles provides that members shall “avoid manipulating exchange rates or the international monetary system in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage over other members.” The language of this provision is repeated in Principle A contained in Part II of this Decision. The text set forth below is designed to provide further guidance regarding the meaning of this provision.
2. A member would only be acting inconsistently with Article IV, Section 1(iii) if the Fund determined both that: (a) the member was manipulating its exchange rate or the international monetary system and (b) such manipulation was being carried out for one of the two purposes specifically identified in Article IV, Section 1(iii).
(a) “Manipulation” of the exchange rate is only carried out through policies that are targeted at—and actually affect—the level of an exchange rate. Moreover, manipulation may cause the exchange rate to move or may prevent such movement.
(b) A member that is manipulating its exchange rate would only be acting inconsistently with Article IV, Section 1(iii) if the Fund were to determine that such manipulation was being undertaken “in order to prevent effective balance of payments adjustment or to gain an unfair competitive advantage over other members.” In that regard, a member will only be considered to be manipulating exchange rates in order to gain an unfair competitive advantage over other members if the Fund determines both that: (A) the member is engaged in these policies for the purpose of securing fundamental exchange rate misalignment in the form of an undervalued exchange rate and (B) the purpose of securing such misalignment is to increase net exports.
3. It is the responsibility of the Fund to make an objective assessment of whether a member is observing its obligations under Article IV, Section 1(iii), based on all available evidence, including consultation with the member concerned. Any representation made by the member regarding the purpose of its policies will be given the benefit of any reasonable doubt.
The Chairman’s Summing Up—2014 Triennial Surveillance Review Executive Board Meeting 14/90, September 26, 2014
Executive Directors welcomed the Triennial Surveillance Review (TSR) and expressed their appreciation to the staff team and all the external contributors for their invaluable inputs into this exercise. They noted that significant progress has been made in strengthening Fund surveillance since the last TSR in 2011, particularly in integrating bilateral and multilateral surveillance. Directors broadly supported the main conclusions and most of the recommendations of the review. They appreciated the focus on strengthening the implementation of recent reforms following the adoption of the Integrated Surveillance Decision (ISD), while addressing emerging challenges.
In this spirit, Directors acknowledged that the priorities set in 2011 continue to be relevant. At the same time, they stressed the need to refine, adapt, and reinforce surveillance to ensure its effectiveness and relevance in an interconnected post-crisis world. Accordingly, Directors endorsed the five operational priorities for 2014–19: (i) risks and spillovers; (ii) macro-financial surveillance; (iii) macro-critical structural policy advice; (iv) cohesive and expert policy advice; and (v) a client-focused approach to surveillance. Directors looked forward to the Managing Director’s action plan, which will outline concrete measures and preliminary resource implications to take forward work in these priority areas.
Risks and spillovers. Directors saw risks and spillovers as a first order issue for the Fund, even after the crisis has subsided. They called for steadfast implementation of the ISD, particularly through more systematic analysis of outward spillovers and spill-backs in systemic countries; and greater quantification of the impact of risks and spillovers on recipient countries, including through the presentation of alternative risk scenarios in Article IV consultations. In this context, most Directors agreed that external sector assessments should be strengthened through wider use of the external balance assessment (EBA) methodology, subject to data availability, while continuing to refine the analyses and the methodology. Some Directors considered it more appropriate to address methodological shortcomings before extending the analysis to a broader group of countries, or incorporating EBA results in other surveillance activities. In further integrating surveillance, Directors underscored the need to maintain the appropriate balance between bilateral and multilateral aspects, so as not to lose sight of country-specific issues. Directors supported efforts to deepen analyses of sources and transmission of risks. They generally saw the usefulness of national balance sheet analyses in capturing risks from gross as well as net flows, which could help deepen and further tailor risk and spillover analysis to country circumstances. Directors recognized that additional data are needed to fully support these analyses, although legal and institutional frameworks in some countries may constrain the sharing of confidential information. Further efforts by both the Fund and its members are therefore needed to address data gaps.
Macro-financial surveillance. Directors agreed that macro-financial analysis should become an integral part of Article IV consultations. They stressed that, given the complexity of the relationship between the financial sector and the real economy, it would be critical to provide the required technical support, improve analytical tools, and strengthen the macro-financial skills of Fund staff. Directors also welcomed the intention to strengthen Fund surveillance of macroprudential policies as a complement to other policies. They urged staff to build its knowledge base and draw lessons from country experiences in this area, in cooperation with other standard-setting agencies.
Structural policies. Directors emphasized the importance of recognizing all macro-critical structural issues and their macroeconomic implications. Most Directors supported establishing clearer principles for the Fund’s engagement in structural issues based on macro-criticality and the Fund’s expertise or interest in a ‘critical mass’ of the membership, leveraging the expertise of other international organizations and local experts where possible. Some others were reluctant to see any expansion of the Fund’s work in non-core areas where the Fund has limited expertise.
Cohesive and expert policy advice. Directors shared the view that strengthened efforts to improve the understanding of intersectoral linkages and policy interactions would help the Fund formulate a cohesive package of advice. In this context, Directors agreed that fiscal policy advice should continue to account for its growth and sustainability implications, supported by a clear and well-justified anchor. More broadly, most Directors generally saw thematic Article IV staff reports as a way forward, particularly where they help draw out risks and sectoral interconnections relevant for the countries concerned, although a concern was expressed that taking a thematic approach runs the risk of overlooking important sectors. Directors supported further efforts to ensure continuity in Fund missions and to share cross-country policy experiences, including by better integrating technical assistance into surveillance. They also saw scope to enhance collaboration among Fund departments and with other international organizations in areas where strong expertise exists in other agencies.
Client-focused approach. Directors agreed that the impact of the Fund’s policy advice depends not only on its analytical quality, but also on its candor and clarity, as well as the way it engages with its members. They noted that earlier engagement and more informal discussions with members would help better tailor policy advice to country circumstances and improve traction. At the same time, the Fund should not shy away from delivering difficult messages, particularly to systemic economies. Directors supported enhancing two-way accountability, including by monitoring changes in Fund policy advice more systematically, and a few would welcome greater scrutiny of country reports by external reviewers.
Effective communication. Directors emphasized that clear communication is integral to the Fund’s overall surveillance strategy. They agreed that considerable scope exists to streamline surveillance messages, and broadly supported synthesizing policy messages in the Global Policy Agenda. In addition, most Directors saw room for merging some multilateral publications as a way to improve the effectiveness and coherence of Fund messages, with a number of Directors also suggesting a reduction in the frequency of some publications. A number of other Directors favored retaining the current suite of multilateral surveillance products for now—including the Spillover Report and the Pilot External Sector Report—noting their distinct roles in integrating bilateral and multilateral surveillance.
Global cooperation. Directors agreed that the Fund has a vital role to play in fostering global cooperation in a post-crisis world. While some Directors saw merit in the proposal to appoint an expert group to explore in depth the adequacy of the Fund’s mandate for ensuring global economic and financial stability, most Directors were not convinced that now is the right time to engage in such a debate when the attention should remain on other pressing priorities.
Evenhandedness. Directors stressed the importance of tackling perceptions of a lack of evenhandedness. Many Directors were open to the idea of assessing evenhandedness in terms of the inputs to surveillance, particularly resources and the depth of analysis based on judgments about domestic and systemic risks, while also being mindful of surveillance outputs. However, a number of Directors saw a need to pay even greater attention to the outputs of surveillance, noting that differences in Fund advice for countries with similar characteristics are the main source of concerns. Directors saw merit in establishing a mechanism for authorities to report concerns about evenhandedness, allowing the Fund to better identify and understand the issues and act on them transparently.
Resources. Directors acknowledged that some of the proposals require additional resources. However, many Directors urged management to implement the Board-endorsed recommendations within a neutral resource envelope. Directors called for careful consideration of options to secure savings and efficiency gains while ensuring that the needs of the diverse members are satisfactorily met; these may include prioritization, redeployment of staff resources, and consolidation of some surveillance products. They looked forward to considering priorities and resource issues across the Fund in the context of budget discussions.
Reviews. Directors today completed the review of the implementation of Fund surveillance. Most Directors agreed that, given the time needed to effectively implement surveillance reforms and the resource-intensive review, it would be appropriate to move comprehensive reviews of Fund surveillance to a five-year cycle, with an interim progress report, although a few Directors would have preferred retaining a three-year cycle, possibly with a streamlined format. Directors considered the interim report to be an important opportunity to assess implementation, identify teething problems or any needed mid-course correction, and help shape the next surveillance review.
September 30, 2014
The Acting Chair’s Summing Up—Evenhandedness of Fund Surveillance—Principles and Mechanism for Addressing Concerns Executive Board Meeting 16/16, February 22, 2016
Executive Directors welcomed staff’s efforts to develop a more robust framework to help ensure the evenhandedness of Fund bilateral and multilateral surveillance, in line with the recommendations of the 2014 Triennial Surveillance Review. They emphasized that the evenhanded treatment of member countries is essential to the Fund’s credibility and legitimacy and, thus, to the traction of its policy analysis and advice. Directors broadly supported staff’s proposals as a step toward addressing actual and perceived cases of lack of evenhandedness. In this regard, they considered that the formulation of principles and the establishment of a mechanism for addressing concerns about lack of evenhandedness would be a useful initial step to complement existing avenues for dialogue throughout the surveillance processes.
Directors agreed on the importance of having a clearer and shared understanding of what it means to be evenhanded in surveillance, as lack of clarity on this definition has been an obstacle to addressing issues related to evenhandedness. They agreed that evenhandedness should be viewed through the lens of “uniformity of treatment,” which is a long-standing and central tenet of the Fund’s operations. Accordingly, evenhandedness does not mean that member countries be treated identically, but that member countries in similar circumstances should be treated similarly. Directors acknowledged the substantial degree of judgment required to apply this principle, and some of them were concerned that this could also give rise to a lack of evenhandedness.
Directors recognized the importance of better understanding whether and how surveillance is appropriately calibrated to country circumstances. They emphasized that the “outputs” of surveillance—effectively, the Fund’s policy analysis and advice as well as their presentation—should continue to be the primary basis for gauging evenhandedness. In this regard, many Directors noted that differences in the language, candor, and tone of Fund advice are sources of concerns. Most Directors considered that the concept of risk-adjusted “inputs” could be a useful tool for assessing how well surveillance “outputs” are calibrated to country circumstances. A number of others, however, cautioned against using ‘risk-adjustment’ as an overarching principle to calibrate surveillance inputs, and emphasized the importance of also considering other non-risk factors. A number of Directors noted that, when allocating resources to surveillance and considering risks, the Fund should take into account that Fund surveillance is the only source of analysis for some small or non-systemic member countries. A number of Directors observed that a high staff mission turnover affects the quality and evenhandedness of surveillance.
Directors acknowledged that forming a view on evenhandedness will require a significant degree of judgment. In this regard, they noted that the proposed principles related to surveillance “inputs” in the broad areas of available resources, analytical depth, and quality of engagement aim to provide a clearer basis for assessing whether differences in surveillance represent a lack of evenhandedness or reflect appropriate tailoring to country circumstances and, thus, should support more effective engagement among the Fund, its member countries, and other stakeholders on issues related to evenhandedness. Directors also took note that the outlined principles are not an exhaustive or exclusive list.
Directors supported the establishment of a mechanism for authorities to report concerns about lack of evenhandedness, while underscoring the importance of preserving the independence and candor of staff advice. They noted that such a mechanism would complement ongoing efforts to deepen the dialogue with member countries, which also provide a basis to tackle concerns about lack of evenhandedness in surveillance. Directors emphasized that the mechanism should allow Directors to report concerns on any country cases and not just on those countries in their constituency, and noted the importance of a prompt and timely review of reported concerns. Many Directors agreed that the proposed mechanism is a balanced and clearly defined channel that will help deal with concerns in a more transparent way, ensuring that these are not left unaddressed. A number of others felt, however, that the proposed mechanism is too cumbersome and onerous for the authorities, which could discourage reporting. While some Directors encouraged the establishment of a parallel, simpler process for cases that are not deemed by the authorities to be severe enough to warrant going through the full assessment mechanism, a number of others called for evenhandedness issues to be identified earlier and discussed more candidly in the surveillance process, with some Directors considering the mechanism as a last resort.
Many Directors agreed that the proposed staff-based committee will help ensure an efficient process and familiarity with the Fund’s operational issues, and that the proposed safeguards should ensure the independence and integrity of the committee, for instance, by including an external expert where appropriate or recusal of committee members with a potential conflict of interest. Many other Directors, however, called for a more active or even permanent involvement of external experts in the committee in order to increase its independence and build confidence in the process, and emphasized that these involvement should not be limited to specific policy or technical issues. While some Directors also noted a possible role for the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) in this regard, some others only saw scope for the IEO to conduct a review of the mechanism at a later stage rather than assessing specific country cases.
Most Directors considered it appropriate to take a cautious approach to publication during the initial learning phase. They agreed that management’s annual reports to the Board will not be published at this stage; instead, the Fund will publish information on general progress toward addressing evenhandedness concerns through existing publications, such as the Fund’s Annual Report. A few Directors emphasized that these arrangements should be reviewed after the initial phase to allow for publication of management’s reports.
Directors emphasized that the framework for guiding even-handed surveillance is a new and untested approach and would need to adapt and evolve as the Fund gains experience. Many of them called for extending the scope of the exercise beyond surveillance to include other Fund operations, particularly lending. Some Directors also noted the need for a cost and benefit analysis of this framework in light of the experience. Directors agreed that the 2019 Comprehensive Review of Surveillance would provide the appropriate opportunity for a thorough evaluation of the proposed principles and mechanism.
February 26, 2016
The Acting Chairman’s Summing Up—2008 Triennial Surveillance Review—Overview Paper Executive Board Meeting 08/84, September 26, 2008
Executive Directors welcomed the opportunity to review the implementation of Surveillance. They considered that the refocusing of surveillance had steered it in the right direction. In concluding the 2008 Triennial Surveillance Review, Directors generally concurred on the thrust of many of the review’s findings and recommendations, as outlined below.
Overall value added. The review’s findings suggest that the overall quality of Fund surveillance is held in high regard by its key audiences. The value-added is most evident with regard to fiscal policy issues and policy challenges facing developing countries. New insights and value-added are rated more highly by audiences concerned with surveillance across countries than by country authorities with regard to surveillance of their own country. So Directors also felt that Fund advice has less traction in large advanced and emerging economies than in other economies. Thus, there appear to be some value-added gaps, [that] surveillance should strive to fill.
Progress. Nearly all Directors concurred that significant progress has been made against the four priority monitorable objectives identified in the 2004 surveillance review yielding: sharper focus of surveillance on the Fund’s core mandate; better quality of exchange rate analysis; greater emphasis on providing a multilateral perspective; and stronger financial sector surveillance. But challenges remain, and the Fund should further improve the effectiveness of surveillance by building on its comparative advantage.
Risk assessments. Surveillance is paying insufficient attention to risks, and communication about such risks has also sometimes been rather tentative. Surveillance countries need to assess risks around the baseline more systematically, including those identified at the multilateral level. More attention also needs to be given to “tail risks”—[that] is, risks with low probability of occurrence but with potentially severe implications. The selection of risks for such analysis must be judicious. A few Directors considered that risk assessments could be done in a “statement of risks” in all Article IV reports. Many Directors felt that surveillance communication should be bolder and should avoid excessive hedging, recognizing that such an approach does mean a risk of being proved wrong. A number of Directors under-scored the need for greater candor in the Fund’s assessment of risks to global financial stability emanating from advanced countries. It would be important to provide clear messages without undermining confidence and triggering adverse market reaction.
Macrofinancial linkages. Increased attention to financial sector surveillance is beginning to pay off, particularly in identifying financial sector vulnerabilities. However, further progress is needed to improve assessments of the relative likelihood and impact of key financial stability risks, and to integrate analysis of financial sector and macroeconomic issues more generally, including across borders. For example, surveillance in the run up to the subprime crisis identified well a number of vulnerabilities, but failed to “connect the dots” and thereby take the full measure of the risks they posed in aggregate. A clear and flexible organizing framework for macrofinancial surveillance will thus need to be developed and put in place. The forthcoming guidance on financial sector surveillance should also contribute to better mainstreaming best practices in this area. Also, the financial sector surveillance toolkit should be further enhanced, and high priority placed on improving mechanisms for early warning on risks to global financial stability.
To enhance financial sector surveillance, macrofinancial expertise must be further built and used strategically. Most Directors saw merit in a risk-based approach, whereby allocation of expertise should be prioritized according to the criteria of systemic or regional importance, importance of vulnerabilities, and importance of financial development issues for present or prospective macroeconomic or external stability. Capacity for financial sector analysis should be further developed through new training programs and flexible human resource policies. Well-focused FSAPs continue to be important and should be better integrated into Article IV reports.
Multilateral perspective. Much more attention is being devoted to multilateral perspectives, but this work is not being used effectively enough and is not always well-matched with demand. As regards spillovers, surveillance needs to better place countries in the global context by discussing cross-border economic linkages more explicitly. Article IV consultations need to make full use of the conjunctural analysis in the World Economic Outlook (WEO), Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR), and Regional Economic Outlooks (REOs); analyze relevant transmission channels of cross-border risks; and discuss policy implications. Lessons from cross-country experience need to be brought out more effectively to inform Article IV consultations, for example, through more policy-oriented, illustrative case studies that discuss other countries’ experiences and draw concrete policy lessons. Cross-country findings from analytical work in the WEO, GFSR, and REOs also need to be more fully leveraged. Changing incentives and making cross-country knowledge more accessible, including through the review process, should help encourage more such analysis. Recent initiatives to bring together expertise across Fund departments on issues of broad interest were seen as useful in this context.
External stability and exchange rate assessments. Following the adoption of the 2007 Surveillance Decision, work on exchange rate issues has strengthened significantly. Most staff reports now describe the de facto exchange rate regime adequately, with advice on any recommended changes generally well supported. Nearly all reports provide a clear assessment of the exchange rate level, and in most cases, this is based on multiple indicators and techniques. However, there is widespread skepticism about the consistency of treatment across countries and the methodological soundness of exchange rate assessments. In addition, the so-called “fear of labeling” under the 2007 Decision may have weakened the candor of some assessments. Further efforts will be needed to ensure that these assessments are candid, evenhanded, and fully integrated into the broader assessment of external stability and overall macroeconomic policies—including the policy mix—and present transparently the analysis underlying the assessment. Greater consistency across countries in terms of the choice of methods and the presentation of the results was stressed. While recognizing the ongoing progress, a number of Directors stressed that further efforts are needed to refine the analytical toolkit for equilibrium exchange rate assessments. At the same time, many Directors were of the view that undue importance should not be attached to precise calculations, given the inherent methodological and data limitations. More generally, Directors stressed that challenges related to the implementation of the 2007 Surveillance Decision should be addressed expeditiously, and they considered that consistent implementation of the recently issued guidance should be helpful in this regard.
Methodology. The methodology used to conduct this surveillance review, as described in Supplement 2, establishes a robust framework, and should be used in future surveillance reviews with further improvements. Some Directors also welcomed the use of an independent consultant as a component of the review.
Conclusion. Directors considered that the findings of this surveillance review provide a good basis for defining operational priorities, and looked forward to the upcoming discussion of the Statement of Surveillance Priorities (SSP), which would lay out the medium-term priorities for Fund surveillance. SUR/08/104, October 8, 2008
The Acting Chair’s Summing Up—Macroeconomic Issues in Small States and Implications for Fund Engagement Executive Board Meeting 13/21, March 11, 2013
Executive Directors welcomed the opportunity to undertake a preliminary review of the Fund’s engagement with small states. They underlined the diversity of small state experience, while also noting common challenges arising from diseconomies of scale in production and trade, lack of economic diversity, remoteness, and vulnerability to natural disasters. Directors noted that, despite these handicaps, the longer-term economic performance of small states has been generally good. They recognized, however, that small states have not matched the improved economic performance of larger countries since the late 1990s. With slower and more volatile growth than larger peers and higher public spending during this period, a number of small states now face high debt burdens and reduced policy buffers. The ability of small states to manage economic shocks has also been hampered by their weak financial systems. Micro states face particular challenges, marked by more volatile growth and external accounts and more costly banking services.
Directors noted that the evidence suggests that small states are generally well-served by the Fund’s surveillance, technical assistance, and financing facilities, especially after the 2009 reforms to the low-income facilities, and many Directors encouraged consideration of ways to continue to improve the Fund’s engagement with small states. Some Directors looked forward to discussing how possible further refinements in the low-income facilities and in PRGT eligibility could meet the needs of small states. Other Directors, however, stressed that the current facilities provide sufficient flexibility to meet small states’ needs.
Directors concurred that Fund policy advice should help small states rebuild policy buffers to the extent possible and strengthen institutions and governance. Many Directors suggested that consideration be given to more frequent staff contacts in between Article IV consultations, as well as the possibility of increasing the frequency of the consultations. Some Directors encouraged the consideration of ways to strengthen staffing practices to enhance the Fund’s engagement with small states. Directors suggested the possible preparation of a staff guidance note for Fund engagement with small states or an annex to the existing guidance note for Article IV consultations.
Directors concurred that a strong analytical agenda, as well as an active dialogue with the small states communities, should inform the Fund’s policy advice to small states and help strengthen the design and traction of economic adjustment programs. Important priorities include fostering improved growth, promoting debt sustainability, further developing financial systems, assessing the effectiveness of exchange rate policies, and helping small states manage volatility associated with natural disasters and other shocks. In addition, strengthening regional initiatives to foster integration and cooperation will be key. Directors also saw merit in tailoring the Fund’s analytical tools to the needs of the small states.
Directors stressed the importance of technical assistance and training in helping small states build their capacities. They encouraged closer collaboration with other international institutions and development partners in meeting the needs of small states, based on their respective mandates and areas of expertise. Directors saw merit in staff exchanges to strengthen small states institutions. They also agreed that the Fund could sometimes play a coordinating role with other institutions, including through its resident representative offices. Directors encouraged staff to discuss its analysis with small states and associated development partners. Following this outreach, they looked forward to discussing a more refined set of operational conclusions with resource implications.
March 14, 2013
Surveillance over Monetary Unions
Surveillance over Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies: Members of Euro Area
The Executive Board approves the modalities for conducting surveillance over the monetary and exchange rate policies of the members of the euro area, as set out in SM/98/257 (11/25/98).
Decision No. 11846-(98/125),
December 9, 1998,
effective December 11, 1998
The current frequency of Article IV consultations with individual euro-area countries, which are generally on the standard 12-month cycle, would be maintained, at least during the initial period of Stage 3 of EMU.1
There would be twice-yearly staff discussions with EU institutions responsible for common policies in the euro area.2 For practical reasons, these discussions would be expected to be held separately from the discussions with individual euro-area countries, but would be considered an integral part of the Article IV process for each member. The discussions with individual euro-area countries would be clustered, to the extent possible, around the discussions with the relevant EU institutions.
There would be an annual staff report and Board discussion on “The Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies of Euro-Area Countries in the Context of the Article IV Consultations with these Countries,” which would be considered part of the Article IV consultation process with individual euro-area countries. The paper would also cover economic policies from a regional perspective to provide an adequate setting for the discussions on monetary and exchange rate policies.1 A report on the second (follow-up) set of discussions would also be issued to the Board for information and to provide adequate context for bilateral consultations with euro-area countries that did not coincide broadly with the annual Board discussion on the euro area.
There would be a summing up of the conclusion of the Board’s annual discussion on “The Monetary and Exchange Rate Policies of the Euro Area Countries in the Context of the Article IV Consultations with these Countries.” It would be cross-referenced in the summings up for the Article IV consultations with euro-area countries, which would be given at the conclusion of the Article IV process for each country. This approach would have the advantage of recognizing clearly the obligation of euro-area countries to consult with the Fund in this context. …
Modalities for Surveillance over Euro-Area Policies in Context of Article IV Consultations with Member Countries
The current frequency of Article IV consultations with individual euro-area countries, which are generally on the standard 12-month cycle, will be maintained.
There will be twice-yearly staff discussions with EU institutions responsible for common policies in the euro area. These discussions will be held separately from the discussions with individual euro-area countries, but are considered an integral part of the Article IV process for each member. The discussions with individual euro-area countries will be clustered, to the extent possible, around the discussions with the relevant EU institutions.
There will be an annual staff report and Board discussion on Euro-Area Policies in the Context of the Article IV Consultations with Member Countries, which will be considered part of the Article IV consultation process with individual members. In addition to monetary and exchange rate policies, the staff report will also cover from a regional perspective other economic policies relevant for Fund surveillance. Staff will report informally to the Board on the second round of discussions with EU institutions to provide adequate context for bilateral consultations with euro-area countries that do not coincide broadly with the annual Board discussion on the euro area.
There will be a summing up of the conclusion of the Board’s annual discussion on Euro-Area Policies in the Context of the Article IV Consultations with Member Countries. It will be incorporated by reference into the summings-up for the Article IV consultations with individual Euro-Area members that take place before the next Board discussion of the Euro-Area common policies.1 To the extent that the summing up for the euro area covers economic policies that apply to all EU member countries and that are considered relevant for Fund surveillance, the pertinent parts of the summing up for the euro area could also be referred to in the bilateral Article IV consultations with EU member countries that are not part of the euro area. (SM/02/359, 11/21/02)
Decision No. 12899-(02/119),
December 4, 2002,
as amended by Decision No. 14062-(08/15)
February 12, 2008
Modalities for Surveillance over Central African Economic and Monetary Union Policies in Context of Article IV Consultations with Member Countries
Staff will hold annual discussions with the regional institutions responsible for common policies in the Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CEMAC). These discussions will be held separately from the discussions with individual CEMAC members.
There will be an annual staff report and Board discussion of the common policies of CEMAC. Both staff’s discussions with CEMAC institutions and the Board discussion of the annual staff report will be considered an integral part of the Article IV consultation with each member of CEMAC.
In addition to common policies in CEMAC that are relevant for surveillance, including monetary and exchange rate policies, the annual staff report will cover from a regional perspective other economic policies relevant for Fund surveillance for which responsibility remains at the national level. There will be a summing up of the conclusion of the Board’s annual discussion on CEMAC’s common policies. It will be incorporated by reference into the summings-up for the Article IV consultations with individual CEMAC members that take place before the next annual Board discussion of CEMAC’s common policies.1 The Board discussions for the Article IV consultations with individual CEMAC members will be clustered, to the extent possible, around the Board discussion on the common policies of CEMAC.
If considered necessary by the Managing Director, staff will hold a second round of discussions during the year with regional institutions and report to the Board informally on these discussions to provide adequate context for bilateral consultations with the individual CEMAC members that do not coincide broadly with the annual Board discussion on the CEMAC’s policies.
The frequency of Article IV consultations with individual CEMAC members shall be determined in accordance with the Board decisions on consultation cycles. (SM/05/429, 12/22/05)
Staff reports and related documents pertaining to Fund surveillance under Article IV concerning (i) the common monetary and exchange rate policies of CEMAC, and (ii) the policies of each individual Fund member that forms part of CEMAC, shall be communicated to the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) at the same time the relevant staff report is made available to the Executive Board, provided, however, that a staff report or related document concerning the policies of an individual Fund member will only be shared with BEAC with that member’s consent.1
Decision No. 13654-(06/1),
January 6, 2006,
as amended by Decision No. 14059-(08/15),
February 12, 2008
Modalities for Surveillance over Eastern Caribbean Currency Union Policies in Context of Article IV Consultations with Member Countries
Staff will hold annual discussions with the regional institutions responsible for common policies in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). These discussions will be held separately from the discussions with individual ECCU members.
There will be an annual staff report and Board discussion of the common policies of ECCU. Both staff’s discussions with ECCU institutions and the Board discussion of the annual staff report will be considered an integral part of the Article IV consultation with each member.
In addition to common policies in ECCU that are relevant for surveillance, including monetary and exchange rate policies, the annual staff report will cover from a regional perspective other economic policies relevant for Fund surveillance for which responsibility remains at the national level. There will be a summing up of the conclusion of the Board’s annual discussion on ECCU’s common policies. It will be incorporated by reference into the summings-up for the Article IV consultations with individual ECCU members that take place before the next annual Board discussion of ECCU’s common policies.1 The Board discussions for the Article IV consultations with individual members will be clustered, to the extent possible, around the Board discussion on the common policies of ECCU.
If considered necessary by the Managing Director, staff will hold a second round of discussions during the year with regional institutions and report to the Board informally on these discussions to provide adequate context for bilateral consultations with the individual members that do not coincide broadly with the annual Board discussion on the ECCU’s policies.
The frequency of Article IV consultations with individual members shall be determined in accordance with the Board decisions on consultation cycles. (SM/05/429, 12/22/05)
Staff reports and related documents pertaining to Fund surveillance under Article IV over the (i) common monetary and exchange rate policies of ECCU, and (ii) the policies of each individual Fund member that forms part of ECCU, shall be communicated to the East Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) at the same time the relevant staff report is made available to the Executive Board, provided, however, that a staff report or related document concerning the policies of an individual Fund member will only be shared with ECCB with that member’s consent.2
Decision No. 13655-(06/1),
January 6, 2006,
as amended by Decision No. 14060-(08/15),
February 12, 2008
Modalities for Surveillance over West African Economic and Monetary Union Policies in Context of Article IV Consultations with Member Countries
Staff will hold annual discussions with the regional institutions responsible for common policies in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). These discussions will be held separately from the discussions with individual WAEMU members.
There will be an annual staff report and Board discussion of the common policies of WAEMU. Both staff’s discussions with WAEMU institutions and the Board discussion of the annual staff report will be considered an integral part of the Article IV consultation with each member of WAEMU.
In addition to common policies in WAEMU that are relevant for surveillance, including monetary and exchange rate policies, the annual staff report will cover from a regional perspective other economic policies relevant for Fund surveillance for which responsibility remains at the national level. There will be a summing up of the conclusion of the Board’s annual discussion on WAEMU’s common policies. It will be incorporated by reference into the summings-up for the Article IV consultations with individual WAEMU members that take place before the next annual Board discussion of WAEMU’s common policies.1 The Board discussions for the Article IV consultations with individual WAEMU members will be clustered, to the extent possible, around the Board discussion on the common policies of WAEMU.
If considered necessary by the Managing Director, staff will hold a second round of discussions during the year with regional institutions and report to the Board informally on these discussions to provide adequate context for bilateral consultations with the individual WAEMU members that do not coincide broadly with the annual Board discussion on the WAEMU’s policies.
The frequency of Article IV consultations with individual WAEMU members shall be determined in accordance with the Board decisions on consultation cycles. (SM/05/429, 12/22/05)
Staff reports and related documents pertaining to Fund surveillance under Article IV over the (i) common monetary and exchange rate policies of WAEMU, and (ii) the policies of each individual Fund member that forms part of WAEMU, shall be communicated to the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) at the same time the relevant staff report is made available to the Executive Board, provided, however, that a staff report or related document concerning the policies of an individual Fund member will only be shared with BCEAO with that member’s consent.1
Decision No. 13656-(06/1),
January 6, 2006,
as amended by Decision No. 14061-(08/15),
February 12, 2008
Capital Flows Trade, and Sovereign Wealth Funds
The Acting Chair’s Summing Up Capital Flows—Review of Experience with the Institutional View Executive Board Meeting 16/110, December 5, 2016
Executive Directors welcomed the review of experience with the institutional view on the liberalization and management of capital flows since its adoption in 2012. They considered that the institutional view remains relevant in the current environment, and that there is no need for substantive adjustment at this point. However, as recognized at the time of its adoption, this institutional view would need to remain flexible and evolve over time to incorporate new experience and insights. Directors broadly agreed with the main findings and the view that a few emerging issues identified in the review could benefit from further clarification. As highlighted in the institutional view, Directors underscored that capital flows provide significant benefits, but at the same time they also acknowledged that such flows carry risks if they are large and volatile. Accordingly, Directors emphasized the importance of implementing sound macroeconomic and financial sector policies, including exchange rate flexibility, which would enable countries to reap the full benefits of capital flows while mitigating risks. Directors recognized that full liberalization of capital flows may not be an appropriate goal for all countries at all times, although many of them remained of the view that capital account liberalization should be an important long-term objective and emphasized that the Fund should clearly communicate its support for this objective. Directors also reiterated that capital flow management measures (CFMs) should not be used to substitute for warranted macroeconomic adjustment. They recognized that both push and pull factors remain important for capital flows, highlighting that source and recipient country policies have implications for the size and volatility of capital flows.
Directors noted that the capital flow environment has changed significantly since 2012. The policy challenge for recipient countries, which reflect substantial heterogeneity, has generally shifted from handling capital inflow surges to dealing with capital flow reversals, while continuing to manage volatility. Directors observed that policy responses have generally been along the lines envisioned in the institutional view. Countries have relied primarily on macroeconomic policies to manage capital flow reversals. CFMs on outflows were generally used in crisis or imminent crisis circumstances as part of a broad policy package, except in a few cases where countries faced particular challenges. Countries that had experienced large inflows also responded mainly with macroeconomic policies. Some countries used macroprudential measures to manage financial risks arising from capital flows. A few Directors would have preferred deeper analysis of country experiences with CFMs on inflows and their consistency with the institutional view, including in the context of Fund surveillance.
Directors took positive note of the continued gradual trend toward greater capital account liberalization. They welcomed the finding that, in general, countries’ pace and sequencing of liberalization have taken into account macroeconomic and financial sector policies and conditions, complemented by supporting reforms, broadly in line with the integrated approach in the institutional view.
Directors recognized the role that the institutional view has played in Fund surveillance, providing an analytical framework and basis for consistent policy advice for both source and recipient countries, as well as informing capacity building, particularly in low-income countries and frontier markets. In so doing, the institutional view does not alter members’ rights and obligations under the Fund’s Articles of Agreement. Directors appreciated the discussion in Fund surveillance, both bilateral and multilateral, of spillovers and alternative policies that achieve similar domestic objectives while minimizing negative spillovers. Many Directors encouraged staff to pay more attention in its surveillance to the role of source countries in internalizing policy spillovers. Directors welcomed the progress in implementing the global financial regulatory and supervisory agenda and in international cooperation to address financial risks and spillovers that can affect capital flows. They also supported ongoing efforts to address gaps in capital flow data, in collaboration with other international organizations and member countries, mindful of the resource implications of these efforts.
Directors supported follow-up work on the interaction between macroprudential and capital flow policies, especially the role of macroprudential policy frameworks in addressing systemic financial risks arising from capital flows, taking into account countries’ financial and institutional development. They called for continued close cooperation with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), respecting each other’s mandate. Directors called on staff to continue to assess the effectiveness of CFMs, including the extent to which CFMs are circumvented, although they acknowledged that differentiating the effects of CFMs from those of other policies could be challenging.
Directors also saw merit in clarifying further the conditions that could lead to the reimposition of CFMs during liberalization and when countries, while not in crisis or imminent crisis circumstances, face other specific challenges. With regard to other issues that have arisen in the debate, a number of Directors were skeptical about the structural use of CFMs to influence the composition of capital flows or to enhance policy autonomy; however, some others felt that this topic, while going beyond the institutional view, deserves further examination, particularly in the context of emerging and frontier markets.
Directors generally saw value in the Fund promoting a more consistent global approach to handling capital flows, including among bilateral and multilateral agreements. They stressed in particular the need to take into account country-specific macroeconomic and financial stability considerations in determining the appropriate policy response, as emphasized in the institutional view. Directors encouraged further analysis and communication of country experiences, and continued engagement with member countries and other relevant regional and international organizations on capital flow issues. To this end, they supported, in particular, the Fund’s continued engagement with the OECD, including in the ongoing review of the OECD Code of Liberalization of Capital Movements.
December 9, 2016
The Acting Chair’s Summing Up—The Liberalization and Management of Capital Flows—An Institutional View Executive Board Meeting 12/105, November 16, 2012
Executive Directors welcomed the opportunity to consider the proposal for a Fund institutional view on capital flows and policies related to them, in their meetings on November 7 and on November 16.1 They recognized that the institutional view builds on previous Fund policy papers and Board discussions on capital flows, drawing on country experiences and analytical work by Fund staff and others.
Most Directors agreed that the institutional view, as presented in SM/12/250, Revision 1, is comprehensive, flexible, and balanced. They agreed that it provides a good basis for Fund policy advice and, where relevant for bilateral and multilateral surveillance, assessments on issues of liberalization and management of capital flows. They stressed that this institutional view would need to remain flexible and evolve over time to incorporate new experience and insights, also taking into account specific country circumstances, and to be reviewed periodically. A few Directors noted therefore that adopting an institutional view at this stage would seem premature and would have preferred further work and discussion.
Many Directors emphasized that the role of source countries in capital flows should be adequately integrated into the institutional view. Directors underscored that the institutional view in no way alters members’ rights and obligations under any international agreements, including the Fund’s Articles. While recognizing that the institutional view is fully described in the main text of the paper, most Directors agreed that Box 3 offers a useful summary of its key elements. Some Directors would, however, have liked to see in the box a more comprehensive summary from the main text, as well as more discussion in general of the risks associated with capital flows.
Capital Flow Liberalization
Directors noted that capital flows can have important benefits for individual countries and for the global economy, including by enhancing financial sector competitiveness, facilitating productive investment, and easing the adjustment of imbalances. At the same time, the risks associated with the size and volatility of capital flows and with premature liberalization should be clearly recognized.
Directors observed that a country’s net benefits from liberalization, and therefore its appropriate degree of liberalization, would depend on its specific circumstances, notably the stage of institutional and financial development. Countries with extensive and long-standing measures to limit capital flows could benefit from further liberalization in an orderly manner. Directors agreed that there should be no presumption, however, that full liberalization is an appropriate goal for all countries at all times, although a number of them viewed capital account liberalization as a worthy long-term goal for all countries. A number of Directors highlighted the costs of maintaining capital controls, both for the country itself and for other countries and the international system as a whole.
Directors emphasized that capital flow liberalization needs to be well planned, timed, and sequenced, so as to minimize possible adverse domestic and multilateral consequences. Most viewed the “integrated approach” to liberalization as appropriate, consistent with countries’ individual circumstances, particularly their institutional and financial development, and taking into account macroeconomic and financial sector prudential policies. A number of Directors stressed the importance of a cautious approach to liberalizing capital flows, paying due attention to the potential risks, which can be magnified if prerequisites are not adequately in place. Even where adequate prerequisites are in place or in long-open economies, including advanced economies which have drawn benefits from capital flows, the size and volatility of flows can pose risks to which policymakers need to remain vigilant.
Managing Capital Flows
Directors noted that rapid inflow surges or disruptive outflows pose policy challenges, notwithstanding the benefits of capital flows. They underscored the importance of enhancing the economy’s resilience in normal times by implementing sound macroeconomic policies, deepening financial markets, strengthening financial regulation and supervision, and improving institutional capacity. Directors also emphasized that macroeconomic policies—monetary, fiscal, and exchange rate management—have to play a key role in managing inflow surges or disruptive outflows, supported by sound financial supervision and regulation and strong institutions.
Directors agreed that, in certain circumstances, capital flow management measures (CFMs), i.e., measures that are designed to limit capital flows, can be useful and appropriate. These circumstances include situations in which the room for macroeconomic policy adjustment is limited, or appropriate policies take undue time to be effective. Directors stressed that CFMs should not substitute for warranted macroeconomic adjustment. Directors generally agreed that CFMs should seek to be targeted, transparent, and temporary, being lifted once inflow surges abate or disruptive outflow pressures subside, that CFMs should seek to avoid discriminating on the basis of residency, and the least discriminatory measure that is effective should be preferred. While most Directors expressed a preference for avoiding discrimination between residents and non-residents, a few Directors emphasized that when failure to differentiate between residents and non-residents would render the policy ineffective, residency-based measures may be justified. Directors concurred that certain CFMs can continue to be useful over the longer term for safeguarding financial stability. For responding to disruptive out-flows, most Directors shared the view that CFMs should generally be used only in crisis situations or when a crisis is considered to be imminent, and in combination with sound macroeconomic policies and financial regulation.
Many Directors emphasized that both push and pull factors drive capital flows and, therefore, that policies in countries that generate large capital flows deserve adequate focus, in order to ensure a balanced approach. Most Directors concurred that policies in source countries play an important role in promoting the stability of the international monetary system, and accordingly policymakers should seek to better internalize the risks associated with their policies. Indeed, policymakers in all countries need to take into account how their policies may affect economic and financial stability in other countries, and globally. Directors stressed that better cross-border coordination of relevant policies, including at the regional level, would help to mitigate the riskiness of capital flows.
Role of the Fund
Directors noted that the Fund’s legal framework for surveillance has long recognized the importance of capital flows and policies to manage them, even though the Fund’s mandate with respect to international capital movements is more limited than that on payments and transfers for current international transactions. With this in mind, most Directors noted that the Fund is well-placed to provide policy advice and, where relevant and in accordance with the Integrated Surveillance Decision, assessments on issues related to capital flows, in close cooperation with country authorities. Specifically, most Directors endorsed the proposal set forth in paragraph 60 of SM/12/250, Revision 1, for use of the institutional view in policy advice and in bilateral and multilateral surveillance. Moreover, many Directors stressed the need for surveillance in important source countries to assess properly the potential impact of policies on cross-border capital flows. Directors emphasized that CFMs maintained outside of the proposed institutional view would not be considered measures that the Fund could require members to eliminate as a condition for the use of Fund resources.
Directors generally called on staff to continue to strengthen collaboration with other international organizations and institutions involved in the design and promotion of international frameworks in the area of capital flows, including on data issues. In particular, they noted that the proposed institutional view could help the Fund play a useful role in promoting a more consistent approach toward the treatment of CFMs under other international agreements.
Directors underscored the importance of providing operational clarity on the institutional view in a guidance note to staff, reflecting the specific points of emphasis made by Directors, with a view to ensuring effective, consistent, and evenhanded implementation. They looked forward to an opportunity to be consulted prior to finalization of the guidance note.
November 29, 2012
The Chairman’s Summing Up—Review of the Role of Trade in the Work of the Fund Executive Board Meeting 15/21, February 27, 2015
Executive Directors welcomed the review of the role of trade in the work of the Fund and broadly agreed with its main findings. They noted that the trade landscape has changed rapidly in recent years. Directors considered that trade is an essential component of the global policy agenda to bolster growth and saw a need to reignite the multilateral trade system. They noted that there are potentially large global gains to be derived from further trade liberalization and integration, including from traditional trade liberalization in many countries and sectors, lowering barriers in new trade policy frontiers, and additional expansion of global supply chains. Directors also noted that trade reforms can complement and augment the benefits of other structural reforms, spur additional infrastructure investment, and support the strengthening of policy and institutional frameworks.
Directors welcomed the high quality and policy-relevant work done by the Fund. They emphasized that the Fund’s work in this area should remain within its mandate, addressing trade issues deemed macro-critical and taking into account resource constraints and limited trade expertise. This would require careful prioritization and continued collaboration with other international institutions, including the World Trade Organization and the World Bank.
Directors emphasized that the coverage of trade issues in Fund surveillance should be tailored to the specific needs of individual countries. Recognizing differences across countries, Directors noted that for advanced countries, a key issue would be the implications of their efforts to pioneer and advance new trade policy areas such as services, regulations, and investment. For emerging market economies, there are still benefits from traditional liberalization and anchoring to global supply chains. For low-income countries, greater integration requires sustained efforts to reduce trade costs, including upgrading trade infrastructures and improving economic institutions both at national and regional levels, supported by relevant technical assistance.
Directors agreed that better embedding trade in surveillance work would require a concerted effort on several fronts. They saw merit in enhancing efforts to translate key implications from the evolving trade landscape and continuing analytical work, and in further developing a work agenda for the Fund for the next five years based on the key considerations discussed. Several Directors suggested that staff should consider a range of issues for further work. Some Directors were open to having a clearer institutional view. In this regard, Directors noted that the 2010 reference note on trade policy will be updated to provide staff guidance on macro-relevant trade and trade policy issues. Directors stressed the importance of ensuring that the Fund's approach to trade policies is evenhanded. Going forward, Directors considered it important to regularly review the role of trade in the Fund’s work.
March 11, 2015
The Acting Chair’s Summing Up—Sovereign Wealth Funds—The Santiago Principles—Generally Accepted Principles and Practices Developed by the International Working Group Executive Board Meeting 08/87, October 3, 2008
Executive Directors commended the International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IWG) for its intensive and collaborative efforts, which have led to a consensus on a voluntary set of generally accepted principles and practices (GAPPs)—also known as the Santiago Principles. The Principles represent a significant achievement by a group of 23 diverse countries with sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). Directors welcomed the professional role played by the Fund staff in facilitating, coordinating, and providing secretarial support to the Group. They also appreciated the contribution by the OECD and the World Bank, and the engagement of recipients of SWF investments to maintain an open investment regime.
Directors viewed the development of the Santiago Principles as a good example of collaborative engagement between countries with SWFs and the recipient countries. It is the first time that SWFs have set out a comprehensive framework to guide their institutional arrangements, governance structures, and investment decisions. The Principles, together with the SWF survey conducted by the Fund staff, also provide a useful point of reference for policymakers, financial markets, and the general public.
Directors stressed that the principles are voluntary in nature, and that their implementation is subject to home country laws, regulations, requirements, and obligations. Most Directors agreed that the Santiago Principles appropriately recognize a number of key elements. In particular, the Principles recognize the need for:
First, sound and clear legal frameworks, and a governance framework that ensures separation of responsibilities and promotes operational independence in the management of SWFs and accountability, including through high-quality auditing and accounting standards;
Second, SWF operations to be conducted in compliance with applicable regulatory and disclosure requirements in the countries in which they operate;
Third, close coordination between the SWF’s activities and macroeconomic policy formulation where the SWF’s activities have direct domestic macroeconomic implications, and provision of data to the government, or other relevant agencies, for inclusion where appropriate in macroeconomic datasets;
Fourth, the publication of relevant financial information relating to the SWF to demonstrate its economic and financial orientation;
Fifth, investment decisions to be based on economic and financial grounds;
Sixth, adequate risk management frameworks and regular internal reporting of investment performance;
Seventh, public disclosure of an SWF’s general approach to voting securities of listed entities; and
Eighth, regular review of the implementation of the Santiago Principles by the SWF or by its owner or governing bodies.
Most Directors believed that the implementation of the Santiago Principles by countries with SWFs will improve the understanding of SWF investment operations, and help alleviate concerns raised by countries that are recipients of SWF investments. This will help foster trust and confidence in the global operations of SWFs, and strengthen an open environment for cross-border investments. From the perspective of the SWF countries, the Principles provide SWFs with strong incentives to hold themselves to high standards. They will be helpful, in particular, in guiding the management of countries’ fiscal and external surpluses through SWFs in a sound, prudent, and accountable manner. In this way, the Principles should help to further strengthen the stabilizing benefits that SWFs bring to the global financial markets.
Notwithstanding the progress achieved, the IWG recognizes the need to keep the Santiago Principles under review as capital markets develop and sovereign institutional arrangements evolve, and to work to further improve the Principles over time. In particular, several aspects of the Principles could benefit from further work, such as those relating to the provision of comprehensive and reliable information about SWF activities, and potential risks to investment operations and SWF balance sheets. In this respect, a number of Directors encouraged SWFs to work toward public disclosure of their financial information, including annual reports and ex post voting records. Some other Directors stressed the need to ensure a level playing field vis-à-vis other institutional investors. A few Directors also underscored that, to preserve full ownership of the Principles by the SWFs, it will be important to continue with the voluntary approach going forward.
The issue of how to monitor the implementation of the Santiago Principles remains to be agreed upon by the owners of SWFs. Directors welcomed the intention of the IWG to consider establishing a Standing Group that could review the Principles and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas among SWFs and with recipient countries, as well as examine ways in which aggregate information on SWF operations could be collected and made available to the public. If established, it will be important for the Standing Group to take full cognizance of the relevance of the macroeconomic and financial stability perspectives in its work.
Directors stressed the importance of clear and nondiscriminatory policies by recipient countries toward SWF investments. They welcomed the progress being made by the OECD in this area, and encouraged continued dialogue and coordination between the OECD and SWFs. Directors also noted that several countries with SWFs are also becoming recipients of investments from other SWF countries. They looked forward to the guidelines by the OECD for recipient countries.
Most Directors agreed that the Fund staff should continue to play a constructive role in support of the work of the IWG. Most Directors also felt that the Fund staff can play a helpful role in facilitating the activities of the Standing Group once it is established. Some Directors emphasized, however, that, in the current tight budgetary environment facing the Fund, staff resources should remain focused on strategic priorities. A few Directors suggested that the possible modalities of future Fund involvement should be worked out in light of the experience gained with the Standing Group, and with the updated guidelines for recipient countries.
October 9, 2008
Governance Issues and Military Expenditures
The Role of the Fund in Governance Issues—Guidance Note EBS/97/125, July 2, 1997
1. Reflecting the increased significance that member countries attach to the promotion of good governance, on January 15, 1997, the Executive Board held a preliminary discussion on the role of the Fund in governance issues, followed by a discussion on May 14, 1997 on guidance to the staff.1 The discussions revealed a strong consensus among Directors on the importance of good governance for economic efficiency and growth.2 It was observed that the Fund’s role in these issues had been evolving pragmatically as more was learned about the contribution that greater attention to governance issues could make to macroeconomic stability and sustainable growth in member countries. Directors were strongly supportive of the role the Fund has been playing in this area in recent years through its policy advice and technical assistance.
2. The Fund contributes to promoting good governance in member countries through different channels. First, in its policy advice, the Fund has assisted its member countries in creating systems that limit the scope for ad hoc decision making, for rent seeking, and for undesirable preferential treatment of individuals or organizations. To this end, the Fund has encouraged, inter alia, liberalization of the exchange, trade, and price systems, and the elimination of direct credit allocation. Second, Fund technical assistance has helped member countries in enhancing their capacity to design and implement economic policies, in building effective policymaking institutions, and in improving public sector accountability. Third, the Fund has promoted transparency in financial transactions in the government budget, central bank, and the public sector more generally, and has provided assistance to improve accounting, auditing, and statistical systems in all these ways, the Fund has helped countries to improve governance, to limit the opportunity for corruption and to increase the likelihood of exposing instances of poor governance, in addition, the Fund has addressed specific issues of poor governance, including corruption,3 when they have been judged to have a significant macroeconomic impact.
3. Building on the Fund’s past experience in dealing with governance issues and taking into account the two Board discussions, the following guidelines seek to provide greater attention to Fund involvement in governance issues, in particular through:
a more comprehensive treatment in the context of both Article IV consultations and Fund-supported programs of those governance issues that are within the Fund’s mandate and expertise;
a more proactive approach in advocating policies and the development of institutions and administrative systems that aim to eliminate the opportunity for rent seeking, corruption, and fraudulent activity;
an evenhanded treatment of governance issues in all member countries; and
enhanced collaboration with other multilateral institutions, in particular the World Bank, to make better use of complementary are as of expertise.
II. Guidance for Fund Involvement
Responsibility for good governance
4. The responsibility for governance issues lies first and foremost with the national authorities. The staff should, wherever possible, build on the national authorities’ own willingness and commitment to address governance issues, recognizing that staff involvement is more likely to be successful when it strengthens the hands of those in the government seeking to improve governance. However, there may be instances in which the authorities are not actively addressing governance issues of relevance to the Fund. In such circumstances, the staff should raise their specific concerns in this regard with the authorities and point out the economic consequences of not addressing these issues.
Aspects of governance of relevance to the Fund
5. Many governance issues are integral to the Fund’s normal activities. The Fund is primarily concerned with macroeconomic stability, external viability, and orderly economic growth in member countries. Therefore, the Fund’s involvement in governance should be limited to economic aspects of governance. The contribution that the Fund can make to good governance (including the avoidance of corrupt practices) through its policy advice and, where relevant, technical assistance, arises principally in two spheres:
improving the management of public resources through reforms covering public sector institutions (e.g., the treasury, central bank, public enterprises, civil service, and the official statistics function), including administrative procedures (e.g., expenditure control, budget management, and revenue collection);
supporting the development and maintenance of a transparent and stable economic and regulatory environment conducive to efficient private sector activities (e.g., price systems, exchange and trade regimes, banking systems and their related regulations).
6. Within these areas of concentration, the Fund should focus its policy advice and technical assistance on areas of the Fund’s traditional purview and expertise. Thus, the Fund should be concerned with issues such as institutional reforms of the treasury, budget preparation and approval procedures, tax administration, accounting, and audit mechanisms, central bank operations, and the official statistics function. Similarly, reforms of market mechanisms would focus primarily on the exchange, trade, and price systems, and aspects of the financial system. In the regulatory and legal areas, Fund advice would focus on taxation, banking sector laws and regulations, and the establishment of free and fair market entry (e.g., tax codes and commercial and central bank laws). In other areas, however, where the Fund does not have a comparative advantage (e.g., public enterprise reform, civil service reform, property rights, contract enforcement, and procurement practices), the Fund would continue to rely on the expertise of other institutions, especially the World Bank. But, consistent with past practice, policies and reforms in these areas could, as appropriate, be part of the Fund staff’s policy discussions and conditionality for the Fund’s financial support where those measures were necessary for the achievement of program objectives.
7. Although it is difficult to separate economic aspects of governance from political aspects, confining the Fund’s involvement in governance issues to the areas outlined above should help establish the boundaries of this involvement. In addition, general principles that are more broadly applicable to the Fund’s activities should also guide the Fund’s involvement in governance issues. Specifically, the Fund’s judgments should not be influenced by the nature of a political regime of a country, nor should it interfere in domestic or foreign politics of any member. The Fund should not act on behalf of a member country in influencing another country’s political orientation or behavior. Nevertheless, the Fund needs to take a view on whether the member is able to formulate and implement appropriate policies. This is especially clear in the case of countries implementing economic programs supported by the Fund from the guidelines on conditionality that call on Fund management to judge that “the program is consistent with the Fund’s provisions and policies and that it will be carried out.”1 As such, it is legitimate for management to seek information about the political situation in member countries as an essential element in judging the prospects for policy implementation.
The criteria for Fund involvement
8. The Fund’s mandate and resources do not allow the institution to adopt the role of an investigative agency or guardian of financial integrity in member countries, and there is no intention to move in this direction. The staff should, however, address governance issues, including instances of corruption, on the basis of economic considerations within its mandate.
9. In considering whether Fund involvement in a governance issue is appropriate, the staff should be guided by an assessment of whether poor governance would have significant current or potential impact on macroeconomic performance in the short and medium term, and on the ability of the government to credibly pursue policies aimed at external viability and sustainable growth. The staff could draw upon comparisons with broadly agreed best international practices of economic management to assess the need for reforms.
10. As regards possible individual instances of corruption, Fund staff should continue raising these with the authorities in cases where there is a reason to believe they could have significant macroeconomic implications, even if these effects are not precisely measurable. Such implications could arise either because the amounts involved are potentially large, or because the corruption may be symptomatic of a wider governance problem that would require changes in the policy or regulatory framework to correct. Instances could include, for example, the diversion of public funds through misappropriation, tax (including customs) fraud with the connivance of public officials, the misuse of official foreign exchange reserves, or abuse of powers by bank supervisors that could entail substantial future costs for the budget and public financial institutions. Corrupt practices could also occur in other government activities, including the regulation of private sector activities that do not have a direct impact on the budget or public finances, such as ad hoc decisions made in relation to the regulation of foreign direct investment. Such practices would be counter to the Fund’s general policy advice aimed at providing a level playing field to foster private sector activity.
11. Instances of corruption that do not meet the threshold of having significant macroeconomic implications are best addressed through the Fund’s efforts to promote transparency and remove unnecessary regulations and opportunities for rent seeking—consistent with the broad principles that apply to other issues of economic governance. Staff recommendations could include improvements in government management processes and systems that would have the beneficial side effect of preventing a recurrence of corrupt practices, or advice to the authorities to seek the assistance of competent institutions for advice in these areas.
The modalities of Fund involvement in governance issues
12. Governance issues are relevant to all member countries although the problems differ depending on the economic systems, institutions, and the economic situation. The mode of Fund involvement will have implications for the manner in which governance concerns are addressed by staff in different member countries. Nonetheless, whatever the mode of involvement, the Fund’s main contribution to improving governance in all countries—both countries receiving financial support from the Fund and other countries—will continue to be through support for policy reforms that remove opportunities for rent-seeking activities and through sustained efforts to help strengthen institutions and the administration capacity in member countries.
Article IV consultation discussions
13. In Article IV consultation discussions, the staff should be alert to the potential benefits of reforms that can contribute to the promotion of good governance (e.g., reduced scope for generalized rent seeking, enhanced transparency in decision making and budgetary processes, reductions in tax exemptions and subsidies, improved accounting and control systems, improvements in statistical dissemination practices, improvements in the composition of public expenditure, and accelerated civil service reform). The potential risks that poor governance could adversely affect private market confidence and, in turn reduce private capital inflows and investment—even in countries enjoying relatively strong growth and private capital inflows—should also be brought to the attention of the authorities. Fund policy advice should also make use of the broad experience of countries with different economic systems and institutional practices and be based on the broadly agreed best international practices of economic management, and on the principles of transparency, simplicity, accountability, and fairness. In the case of international transactions that involve corruption, the staff should pay equal attention to both sides of corrupt transactions and recommend that such practices be stopped if they have the potential to significantly distort economic outcomes (e.g., the tax deductibility of bribes in member countries or certain operations of official agencies). Where poor governance with a significant economic impact is evident and brought to the staff’s attention in its surveillance activities, the staff should discuss the issue with the authorities.
Use of Fund resources
14. While the policy advice indicated above in relation to Article IV consultations is also relevant in the case of Fund-supported programs, the need to safeguard the Fund’s resources must also be taken into account.
15. The use of conditionality related to governance issues emanates from the Fund’s concern with macroeconomic policy design and implementation as the main means to safeguard the use of Fund resources. Thus, conditionality, in the form of prior actions, performance criteria, benchmarks, and conditions for completion of a review, should be attached to policy measures including those relating to economic aspects of governance that are required to meet the objectives of the program. This would include policy measures which may have important implications for improving governance, but are covered by the Fund’s conditionality primarily because of their direct macroeconomic impact (e.g., the elimination of tax exemptions or recovery of nonperforming loans). While the Fund staff should rely on other institutions’ expertise in areas of their purview (e.g., public enterprise reform by the World Bank), it could nevertheless recommend conditionality in these areas if it considers that measures are critical to the successful implementation of the program.
16. Weak governance should be addressed early in the reform effort. Financial assistance from the Fund in the context of completion of a review under a program or approval of a new Fund arrangement could be suspended or delayed on account of poor governance, if there is reason to believe it could have significant macroeconomic implications that threaten the successful implementation of the program, or if it puts in doubt the purpose of the use of Fund resources. Corrective measures that at least begin to address the governance issue should be prior actions for resumption of Fund support and, if necessary, certain key measures could be structural benchmarks or performance criteria. Examples of such measures include recuperation of foregone revenue and changes in tax or customs administration. The staff would need to exercise judgment in assessing whether the actions adopted by the authorities were adequate to address the governance concerns; as in the case of other policies in which the track record is weak and the commitment of the authorities is in doubt, it may be appropriate in some circumstances to call for a period of monitoring prior to a resumption of financial support. The authorities’ policy response could also entail changes in management in public institutions and, as appropriate, the removal of individuals from involvement in particular operations where corruption had occurred, and efforts to recover government funds that have been misappropriated. The staff must, of course, be mindful of the need to avoid action prejudicial to any related domestic legal processes in a particular case.
17. The Fund’s technical assistance programs should continue to contribute to improving economic aspects of governance. This would apply to areas of Fund expertise, including budget management and control, tax and customs administration, central bank laws and organization, foreign exchange laws and regulations, and macroeconomic statistical systems and dissemination practices. In these areas, technical assistance missions should bring to the attention of the authorities areas in which procedures and practices fall short of best international practices.
Identification of governance problems
18. In the context of Article IV consultations, program negotiations, and technical assistance missions, the staff should be alert to aspects of poor governance that would influence the implementation and effectiveness of economic policies and private sector activities. For example, this could be related to a weak and poorly remunerated civil service, which could be addressed through civil service reforms encompassing a restructuring or selective increase in pay scales or the process and transparency of the privatization process. The staff should also pay attention to inconsistencies or improbabilities in the various data and accounts in member countries. For instance, tax collection might fall short of the expected potential yields as a result of weak administration of tax laws, procedural complexities or the widespread abuse of exemptions. The staff should bring data inconsistencies that are not judged to be the result of problems in statistical collection and compilation to the attention of the authorities. The staff should also advise that greater transparency in macroeconomic policy implementation could help build private sector confidence in government policies, for example, the consolidation of all extra budgetary accounts within the budget, the early publication of the budget, and early reporting on the outcome at the end of the fiscal year.
19. It is recognized that there are clear practical limitations to the ability of the staff to identify deficiencies in governance. The availability, quality, and reliability of information are likely to be important factors affecting Fund involvement in corruption cases. The staff should continue to rely on information provided by the authorities. If inconsistencies in public accounts and reports suggest that a problem exists, the staff should, in the first instance, raise the issue with the authorities. In its endeavor to seek information, the staff may need to be prepared to face some tension in the working relationship with country authorities in specific cases potentially involving corrupt practices. The staff may also point out that, in an atmosphere of widespread rumors of corrupt practices, and where the rumors have some genuine credence, an independent audit may be desirable to address such concerns. If the staff considers that further information is required to resolve an issue that has a significant macroeconomic impact, it may be appropriate to make use of information from third parties, including other international organizations and donors. In view of the confidential nature of the information obtained by the staff from member countries, staff enquiries will need to be handled with due discretion and regard for the sensitive nature of the issue.
Coordination with bilateral donors and other multilateral institutions
20. The Fund should collaborate with other multilateral institutions and donors in addressing economic governance issues. Recognizing that the interests of these bodies are more diverse than the Fund’s—ranging from political aspects of governance to specific project-related issues—the Fund staff should exercise independent judgment in formulating policy advice. In addition, the staff should focus its analysis and technical assistance only on those issues that are within its expertise. However, as noted in paragraph 6, conditionality may apply to measures to address governance concerns in areas outside the Fund staff’s expertise. Fund staff should also keep abreast of changes in the policies of partner organizations and specific efforts in member countries on governance issues. This should include the activities of partner organizations, particularly the World Bank, in addressing governance issues in areas which are outside Fund staff’s competence but nonetheless important for the achievement of the economic policies advocated by the Fund (e.g., the reliable enforcement of contracts).
21. Given the commonality of interest with other multilateral institutions, the Fund should seek to strengthen its collaboration on issues of governance with them, and in particular with the World Bank. This should include, especially when requested by the authorities concerned, coordination of action to improve governance.
22. As regards bilateral donors, it is useful to distinguish two different cases in which donor responses to economic and noneconomic governance issues affect the Fund’s relations with its members, although in practice there is seldom a clear separation between such economic and noneconomic aspects:
In cases where bilateral donors or creditors withhold or interrupt external support because of concern over political and/or economic aspects of governance, the Fund should have an independent view on the economic implications. The Fund staff should examine whether these issues have a direct and significant impact on macroeconomic developments in the short or medium term. If this is the case, the staff should seek to assist the member country concerned through policy advice and technical assistance in areas of its expertise and coordinate as appropriate with donors with a view to helping to address the governance issues before recommending provision of Fund financial support. If this is not the case, but donors continue to withhold support, the staff should seek to assist the authorities in reformulating a program with greater internal adjustment to compensate for reduced external financing, paying due regard to the medium-term sustainability in the absence of a resumption of external assistance. If this were not feasible because of a lack of financing assurances, i.e., adequate external financing for the reformulated program is not in place, as a last resort, the staff should recommend that the Fund withhold its own financial support but continue to provide technical assistance support.
In cases where governance issues significantly affect short- or medium-term economic developments but donors and creditors continue their financial assistance to the country concerned and do not assist the government in improving governance, Fund staff nevertheless has an independent responsibility for raising the governance issue with the authorities and for reporting to the Board on this issue. There may be occasions when the Fund staff may raise its concerns with donors and creditors, including at consultative group meetings and in round tables. But these instances would need to be addressed with care with the guidance of the Board and due regard to the confidential nature of such information. There are clear limitations to what the Fund’s contribution to improvements in governance in member countries can achieve without the active support from the rest of the international community.
Reporting to the Executive Board
23. The Executive Board will be kept informed about developments in significant cases involving governance issues and will have the opportunity to comment on the operation of these guidelines as country cases are brought forward. In addition, there will be a periodic review by the Executive Board of the Fund’s experience in governance issues.
Concluding Remarks by the Acting Chairman—Military Expenditure and the Role of the Fund Executive Board Meeting 91/138, October 2, 1991
During the discussions on the World Economic Outlook, Directors touched on the issue of military spending in the context of the need to raise global savings and to help meet new investment demands. The scale of global resources devoted to military spending—estimated at nearly 5 percent of world GDP—underscores its importance. In the more recent discussion on Military Expenditure and the Role of the Fund, most Directors indicated that as military expenditures can have an important bearing on a member’s fiscal policy and external position, information about such expenditures may be necessary to permit a full and internally consistent assessment of the member’s economic position and policies. At the same time, Directors emphasized that national security, and judgments regarding the appropriate level of military expenditures required to assure that security, were a sovereign prerogative of national governments and were not in the domain of the work of the Fund.
While many Directors saw a limited, albeit important, role for the Fund in the collection and analysis of data on military spending, a number questioned the role of the Fund in this area. Since the collection of data from all members in the context of Article IV consultations requires the cooperation of members, Directors felt it important, in light of the diverse views expressed during this meeting, to find a common ground that commands a wide degree of support. This common ground should be based on the Fund’s mandate in the Articles.
In the context of the Fund’s surveillance responsibilities, the staff needs to request of members certain data to provide the analytic basis for an effective assessment of members’ macroeconomic policies. At a minimum and for all members, aggregate data which include fiscal expenditures (including off-budget accounts), international trade, and external assets and liabilities, must be reported fully to the Fund. These data should therefore encompass military transactions, even if not separately identified. It has been the policy and practice of the Fund staff to seek comprehensive macroeconomic data for this purpose. In those instances when inconsistencies in data suggested significant reporting gaps, Fund staff has informed the Board and supplemented data from the authorities to the extent possible with data from other sources. Most Directors agreed that the Fund staff should enhance its work to improve the comprehensiveness, comparability, and timeliness of such data reported by authorities.
As military spending is a highly sensitive area, however, several Directors expressed concern about the degree of data disaggregation that might be requested by the staff. In the past, the staff has generally requested, or been offered by authorities of members countries, more detailed information on the breakdown of government expenditures, either on a national or fiscal accounts basis, which have been part of the documentation in staff reports. Such disaggregation, say, as between consumption and capital items, may be necessary in order fully to assess growth prospects and external viability. The staff will continue to request a breakdown of government expenditures, but still at a highly aggregated level, in the context of the Article IV consultation process in order to assess the consistency and sustain-ability of a member’s policies. The staff will continue to rely on the voluntary cooperation of the authorities in the submission of data. Data deficiencies, which were thought to impair the ability to assess a member’s economic position and prospects and to conduct meaningful policy discussions, would be brought to the attention of the Board in the manner in which such data deficiencies are normally so reported. Directors agreed that data on military expenditures should not serve as a basis for establishing performance criteria or similar conditions associated with Fund-supported programs.
Countries, when contemplating downsizing their military establishments, may wish to be assisted by the staff in assessing the possible effects of such downsizing on macroeconomic performance. In such cases, the authorities may wish to provide such data as would permit more detailed economic analysis and facilitate economic policy discussions. The Fund staff would work closely with Bank staff in these cases on the structural issues associated with shifting domestic resources to other uses.
The macroeconomic effects of military spending could also be analyzed from a regional and global perspective in the WEO.
October 3, 1991
Article IV Consultation Cycles
This Decision is adopted pursuant to Article IV, Sections 3 (a) and (b) of the Fund’s Articles. It establishes a framework for the periodicity of consultations between the Fund and each member on the member’s policies under Article IV, Section 1.
1. Except as provided for in paragraphs 2 and 3 below, consultations with members shall be conducted in accordance with the principles set out in this paragraph.
In principle, Article IV consultations with members will take place annually. Article IV consultations that take place on the standard twelve-month cycle will be subject to a grace period of 3 months and, accordingly, will be expected to be completed within 15 months of the date of the completion of the most recent consultation.
The Fund may decide to place a member on a consultation cycle that is longer than 12 months but, in any event, is not longer than 24 months (hereinafter an “extended cycle”) only if the member does not meet any of the following criteria:
(a) the member is of systemic or regional importance;
(b) the member is perceived to be at some risk because of policy imbalances or particular threats from exogenous developments, or the member is facing pressing policy issues of broad interest to the Fund membership; or
(c) the member has outstanding credit to the Fund under all facilities above one hundred forty-five percent (145%) of the member’s quota.
The Fund will place a member on an extended cycle only after consulting with the Executive Director for the member and obtaining the member’s consent.
2. Whenever a Fund arrangement (other than an arrangement under the Flexible Credit Line (FCL) or Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL)) or a Policy Support Instrument (PSI) is approved for a member, that member shall automatically be placed on a 24-month consultation cycle. Article IV consultations with such members shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures specified below:
(a) Article IV consultations with such a member will be expected to be completed within 24 months of the date of completion of the previous Article IV consultation with that member. The consultation cycle will be shortened where a program review under an arrangement for the member is not completed by the date for completion specified in the arrangement: in these circumstances the next Article IV consultation with that member will be expected to be completed by the later of (i) 6 months after the date specified in the arrangement for completion of the review, and (ii) 12 months, plus a grace period of 3 months, after the date of completion of the previous Article IV consultation, provided, however, that, where the relevant program review is completed before the later of the dates specified in (i) and (ii) above, the next Article IV consultation will be expected to be completed within 24 months of the date of completion of the previous Article IV consultation with that member.
(b) A member that has completed an arrangement (other than an FCL or PLL arrangement) by drawing all amounts, or a PSI by completing all reviews, shall remain on the cycle determined pursuant to paragraph 2(a) above, unless at the time of the final review under the arrangement or the PSI, the Executive Board determines, based on the criteria specified in paragraph 1, that a different cycle shall apply. Where the arrangement or PSI is cancelled by the member, or the arrangement expires with undrawn amounts or the PSI expires with uncompleted reviews or is terminated, the member concerned shall remain on the cycle determined pursuant to paragraph 2(a) above, unless the Executive Board determines, based on the criteria specified in paragraph 1, that a different cycle will apply.
3. Whenever an FCL or a PLL arrangement is approved for a member, that member will automatically be placed on a 12-month consultation cycle. Article IV consultations with such members will be conducted in accordance with the procedures specified below:
(a) if, prior to the approval of the FCL or PLL arrangement, the member was on an extended cycle, the next Article IV consultation with that member will be expected to be completed by the later of (i) 6 months after the date of approval of the arrangement, and (ii) 12 months, plus a grace period of 3 months, after the date of completion of the previous Article IV consultation;
(b) if an FCL or a PLL arrangement is completed by drawing all amounts, expires with undrawn amounts, or is cancelled by the member, that member will remain on the standard 12-month cycle, unless the Executive Board determines that a different cycle will apply.
4. At the conclusion of each Article IV consultation with a member, the Fund will specify the cycle that will apply to the next Article IV consultation with the member.
5. Decision No. 12794-(02/76), adopted July 15, 2002, as amended, is hereby repealed. (SM/10/253, 9/21/10)
Decision No. 14747-(10/96), September 28, 2010,
as amended by Decision Nos. 15017-(11/112), November 21, 2011, and 15945-(16/14), February 17, 2016
Proposed Steps to Address Excessive Delays in the Completion of Article IV Consultations
This decision is adopted pursuant to Article IV, Section 3(a) and (b) of the Fund’s Articles. It establishes a framework for addressing cases where there are delays in the completion of Article IV consultations or mandatory financial stability assessments.
1. Whenever an Article IV consultation for a member or a mandatory financial stability assessment pursuant to Decision No. 14736-(10/92), September 21, 2010 (a “mandatory financial stability assessment”) has not been concluded within 12 months of the expected deadline for conclusion, and staff discussions with the member have not been completed, the Managing Director shall notify the member in writing of the delay. The notification shall be calibrated to the circumstances of the member and, where appropriate, shall remind the member of its obligation to consult. Subsequent notifications shall be sent to the member at 12 month intervals as long as the Article IV consultation or mandatory stability assessment has not been concluded and staff discussions with the member have not been completed. If the Managing Director determines that: (i) the Article IV consultation or mandatory financial stability assessment has been delayed because of exceptional circumstances, such as extreme natural disaster, extreme civil unrest or war, or (ii) there is uncertainty as to the views of the international community regarding the recognition of an administration in effective control of the country, the Managing Director may postpone sending the notification of the delay to the relevant member until the Managing Director decides that the situation leading to the postponement no longer exists. The Managing Director will promptly inform the Executive Board of any decision to postpone or resume sending notifications to a member.
2. The Fund shall, at intervals of not more than six months, publish a list of all members whose Article IV consultation or mandatory financial stability assessment has, as of the date of publication, not been concluded within 18 months of the expected deadline for conclusion. For each such member, the list shall, in particular, specify (i) the fact of the delay in completion and (ii) the reasons for the delay. Where applicable, the list will note the cases when staff discussions with members have been completed.
3. Whenever an Article IV consultation or a mandatory financial stability assessment for a member has not been concluded within 18 months of the expected deadline for conclusion, staff shall, except as provided below, informally brief Executive Directors on the economic developments and policies of the member or on its financial sector, as applicable. No such briefing shall be required to the extent that (i) staff discussions with the member for the Article IV consultation or mandatory financial stability assessment have been completed, or (ii) Executive Directors have, within the previous twelve months, been briefed on the member's economic developments and policies or on its financial sector, as applicable, in another context, or (iii) the Managing Director, in exceptional circumstances, determines that the available information is so inadequate as to seriously undermine the ability of Fund staff to conduct a meaningful analysis of the member's economic developments and policies or of its financial sector, as applicable. Following the initial briefing and, for so long as the conditions set out in (i), (ii) and (iii) have not been met, staff shall, in cases of delayed Article IV consultations, brief the Executive Directors on the economic development and policies of the relevant member every 12 months thereafter; and in cases of delayed mandatory financial stability assessments, brief the Executive Directors on the financial sector of the relevant member every 60 months thereafter. Whenever a briefing under this paragraph is held, the Fund will make public the fact that the briefing took place. The Fund may authorize the publication of documents prepared for such briefings only if: (1) a member requests such publication; and (2) the Fund determines that the member is cooperating with the Fund in resolving the delay in completing an Article IV consultation or a mandatory financial stability assessment and that publication would facilitate such a resolution. The publication will be accompanied by a disclaimer clarifying that: (a) the documents do not represent the views of the Executive Board; (b) the documents were prepared based on publicly available data and without consultation with the member; and (c) the informal briefing does not constitute an Article IV consultation with the member. Whenever the Managing Director makes the determination specified in (iii) above, the Managing Director will inform the Executive Board that no such briefing will be held and the Fund will make public the fact that no briefing was held due to the lack of adequate information.
4. Any calculation of the deadlines in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 above shall be made in accordance with Decision No. 14747-(10/96), September 28, 2010, as amended and Decision No. 14736-(10/92), September 21, 2010, as amended, taking into account any grace period, as applicable.
5. Paragraph 1 of this Decision shall begin to apply one month after the date of adoption of this Decision.
6. Paragraph 2 of this Decision shall begin to apply immediately upon the date of adoption of this Decision provided, however, that the first public announcement required under that paragraph shall take place no later than six months following the date of adoption of the Decision.
7. Paragraph 3 of this Decision shall begin to apply six months after the date of adoption of this Decision. (SM/12/24, 02/03/12)
Decision No. 15106-(12/21), February 29, 2012, as amended by Decision Nos. 15494-(13/110), December 2, 2013, and 15950-(16/18), February 25, 2016
Surveillance Procedures—Implementation of Three-Month Period
The Executive Board approves the proposed method of applying the three-month rule for implementing the procedures for surveillance, set forth in EBD/83/161, 6/3/83.
Decision No. 7427-(83/83),
June 8, 1983
The document entitled “Surveillance over Exchange Rate Policies,” attached to Decision No. 5392-(77/63), includes certain Procedures for Surveillance. Of these, Procedure II states that “Not later than three months after the termination of discussions between the member and the staff, the Executive Board shall reach conclusions and thereby complete the consultation under Article IV.” This three–month period begins from the last day of discussions between the authorities and the staff mission and it is counted off on a calendar basis. Accordingly, the first Board day (viz., Monday, Wednesday, or Friday) upon the completion of the three-month period is regarded as the deadline for Executive Board discussion. Sometimes Executive Board consideration and completion of the Article IV consultation are delayed beyond the three-month deadline (see SM/83/43, 3/1/83, pages 29–30), and in such cases, Board approval is usually sought on a lapse-of-time basis for an extension of the period. The procedure is administered flexibly in the sense that if Board discussion is scheduled just one or two Board days after the deadline, the three–month waiver paper seeking Board approval is not necessarily circulated.
However, there are certain periods during the year when Board meetings would normally be avoided for the convenience of Executive Directors. For example, in 1983 Board meetings were not scheduled in the weeks of February 7–11 and April 25–29 because of Interim and Development Committee meetings, respectively. For the same reason, Board meetings are not likely to be scheduled during August 8–19, 1983 because of the informal Board recess and during approximately September 16–30 because of the Annual Meetings and ancillary meetings, including caucus meetings. It would be appropriate and convenient to recognize these recurrent and normal gaps in the Board’s schedule when applying the three-month rule. Accordingly, if a three-month deadline falls in a period such as one of those mentioned above when a Board meeting would normally not be scheduled, the Friday of the week immediately following such a period would be regarded as the applicable deadline for the purposes of the rule. …
Article IV Consultation Documentation—Recent Economic Developments
Article IV consultation documentation shall no longer include Recent Economic Development reports. Instead, the staff could incorporate, as needed, the appropriate information on recent economic developments in a Selected Issues paper as analytical background for key policy issues.
Decision No. 12661-(02/6),
January 22, 2002
Guidelines on Minimum Circulation Periods for Executive Board Documents—Amendment
1. Staff reports for Article IV consultations with members shall be subject to a minimum circulation period of two weeks for all members. The Guidelines on Minimum Circulation Periods for Executive Board Documents, EBD/97/66, Sup. 2 are amended accordingly.
2. The circulation period provided for in Paragraph 1 will apply to all Article IV consultations for which staff reports are issued after the effective date of this decision. (EBD/09/8, 1/27/09)
Decision No. 14260-(09/11),
February 3, 2009
Lapse of Time Procedures for Article IV Consultations
1. The completion of an Article IV consultation on a lapse of time basis may be proposed by the Managing Director with the approval of the Executive Director for the member concerned, or by the Executive Director for the member concerned, in accordance with the procedures set forth herein.
2. Eligibility: (a) Subject to 2(b) below, the lapse of time procedure would be proposed for Article IV consultations where the following conditions apply: (i) there are no acute or significant risks, or general policy issues requiring Board discussion; (ii) policies or circumstances are unlikely to have a significant regional or global impact in the near term; (iii) in the event a parallel program review is being completed, it is also being completed on a lapse of time basis; and (iv) the use of Fund resources is not under discussion or anticipated.
(b) The lapse of time procedure for an Article IV consultation will not be proposed where: (i) the last Article IV consultation was concluded on a lapse of time basis; (ii) more than 24 months has elapsed since Board discussion of an Article IV consultation; or (iii) the country is on a 24-month consultation cycle and has not been considered by the Executive Board under a program review in the preceding twelve months.
3. Procedures for Proposing Lapse of Time for Article IV Consultations:
(a) By the Managing Director: On the basis of the eligibility criteria set forth in paragraph 2 above, a judgment would be made by the Managing Director on whether a country meets the eligibility criteria. If the criteria are met, the Managing Director, with the approval of the Executive Director for the member concerned, would propose completion of an Article IV consultation on lapse of time at the time the staff paper is circulated to the Executive Board. The cover memorandum for the circulated staff paper will: (i) include a deadline for Executive Directors to object to a proposal by the Managing Director for lapse of time completion that is consistent with paragraph 4 below; (ii) specify the date upon which the decision will become effective if no objection to the proposal for lapse of time is received; (iii) specify a reserved date, consistent with minimum circulation periods for Article IV consultations, for discussion if an Executive Director objects to the proposal for lapse of time consideration; and (iv) explain the reasons why lapse of time completion is warranted. Should the Managing Director judge that a member meets the lapse of time criteria, but the Executive Director for the member concerned does not approve, the cover memorandum circulating the staff paper would include a notation to this effect.
(b) By the Executive Director for the Member Concerned: On the basis of the eligibility criteria set forth in paragraph 2 above, the Executive Director for the member concerned may propose the completion of an Article IV consultation by lapse of time no more than two business days after the issuance of the staff paper to the Executive Board, and preferably, as soon as possible after the circulation of the staff paper. The Executive Director’s notification will: (i) include a deadline for Executive Directors to object to the proposal by the Executive Director for the member concerned for lapse of time completion that is consistent with paragraph 4 below; (ii) specify the date upon which the decision will become effective if no objection to the proposal for lapse of time is received; (iii) specify a reserved date, consistent with minimum circulation periods for Article IV consultations, for discussion if an Executive Director objects to the proposal for lapse of time consideration; and (iv) explain the reasons why lapse of time completion is warranted.
4. Objections: An Executive Director may object to a proposal for lapse of time consideration up to two business days before the end of the lapse of time period. A Director need not announce the reasons for an objection, but would be expected to inform the Executive Director for the member concerned of those reasons.
5. Effective Date: If no objection is received to a proposal for lapse of time completion of an Article IV consultation, the decision recording the completion of the Article IV consultation will be recorded in the minutes of the next Board meeting with effect on the date of effectiveness stated in the cover note described in paragraph 3(a) or 3(b) above.
6. Review: A review of the lapse of time procedures for Article IV consultations is expected to be conducted 12 months after the date of the effectiveness of this Decision.
7. Transitional Provisions and Repeal of Earlier Procedures:
(a) The provisions of this Decision concerning lapse of time procedures for Article IV consultations shall apply to staff reports issued following the date of the effectiveness of this Decision.
(b) The “Procedures for Completion of Article IV Consultations on a Lapse of Time Basis” set forth in SM/96/214, Supp. 1, 11/6/96 are hereby repealed.
Part A of Decision No. 14766-(10/115), November 29, 2010, as amended by Decision No. 15207-(12/74), July 19, 2012
However, it is envisaged that there would be some scaling back of resources devoted to individual Article IV consultations in the area of monetary and exchange rate policies to provide the resources needed for surveillance of the common policies of the euro area.
As is done for Article IV consultations with national authorities, the staff would leave a concluding statement with the ECB at the end of the discussions.
As noted in BUFF/98/93 (9/24/98), while for each member of the EU fiscal policy remains the responsibility of national authorities, discussions at the EU level would also need to evaluate the fiscal position of the euro area as a whole in order to assess the stance of monetary and exchange rate policies and the coherence of macroeconomic policies. They would also need to cover developments in structural areas relevant to the Fund’s surveillance over the policies of members of the euro area as a whole. In this context, the staff missions referred to above would visit the European Commission.
Ed. Note: Decision No. 14062-(08/15), February 12, 2008 provides that this sentence shall take effect from the next annual Board discussion of Euro-Area policies. See SM/08/50, 2/5/08.
Ed. Note: Decision No. 14059-(08/15), February 12, 2008 provides that this sentence “shall become effective from the time of the next annual Board discussion of CEMAC’s common policies.”
Ed. Note: Decision No. 14059-(08/15), February 12, 2008 provides that this paragraph “shall become effective upon receipt by the Managing Director of a certification from the Governor of BEAC that it will, in the manner specified by the Fund, preserve the confidentiality of all information and documents communicated by the Fund to BEAC and that any such information and documents shall be solely for the internal use of BEAC. (SM/08/50, 2/5/08)”
Ed. Note: Decision No. 14060-(08/15), February 12, 2008 provides that this sentence “shall become effective from the time of the next annual Board discussion of ECCU’s common policies.”
Ed. Note: Decision No. 14060-(08/15), February 12, 2008, provides that this paragraph “shall become effective upon receipt by the Managing Director of a certification from the Governor of ECCB that it will, in the manner specified by the Fund, preserve the confidentiality of all information and documents communicated by the Fund to ECCB and that any such information and documents shall be solely for the internal use of ECCB. (SM/08/50, 2/5/08)”
Ed. Note: Decision No. 14061-(08/15), February 12, 2008, provides that this sentence “shall become effective from the time of the next annual Board discussion of WAEMU’s common policies.”
Ed. Note: Decision No. 14061-(08/15), February 12, 2008, provides that this paragraph “shall become effective upon receipt by the Managing Director of a certification from the Governor of BCEAO that it will, in the manner specified by the Fund, preserve the confidentiality of all information and documents communicated by the Fund to BCEAO and that any such information and documents shall be solely for the internal use of BCEAO. (SM/08/50, 2/5/08)”
Ed. Note: The following summings-up on capital flows are found in Selected Decisions, 37th Issue, pp. 72-79: The Chairman’s Summing Up—The Fund’s Role Regarding Cross-Border Capital Flows, Executive Board Meeting 10/122, December 17, 2010; The Chairman’s Summing Up—Recent Experiences in Managing Capital Inflows—Cross-Cutting Themes and Possible Policy Framework, Executive Board Meeting 11/28, March 21, 2011; and The Acting Chair’s Summing Up—The Multilateral Aspects of Policies Affecting Capital Flows, Executive Board Meeting 11/09, November 14, 2011.
The Interim Committee Declaration of September 26, 1996 on Partnership for Sustainable Global Growth also attached particular importance “to promoting good governance in all its aspects.”
Concluding Remarks by the Chairman, SUR/97/48 (5/21/97).
Corruption could be defined as the abuse of public office for private gain, a definition also used by the World Bank.
Guidelines on Conditionality, Decision No. 6056-(79/138), paragraph 7.