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Presentation of the Thirty-Sixth Annual Report1 by the Chairman of the Executive Board and Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department
Published Date:
November 1981
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Author(s)
J. de Larosière

Mr. Chairman, I join you and the Governor for the United States in greeting the assembled delegates and guests. We are greatly honored by the participation of President Reagan in these meetings, and all of us wish him well in carrying out the U.S. economic program—the success of which means so much to the whole world economy, as well as to the United States itself. I should like to extend a special welcome and greeting to the Governors for Bhutan and Vanuatu, which have become members since we last met a year ago.

The state of the world economy has been described in detail in the Fund’s latest Annual Report. I shall therefore spare you another analysis. Suffice it to say that the world is experiencing the ravages of persistent, unevenly controlled inflation and of economic stagnation, while still adjusting to the effects of the second increase in oil prices. These conditions are reflected in an alarming and rising level of unemployment, massive balance of payments disequilibria, high interest rates, and exchange markets more unstable than at any time since the major currency realignments of the early 1970s.

This overview suggests a clear lesson, which our medium-term analyses confirm: the world economy must adjust to the demands of the present situation if it is to embark again on a course of sound and sustainable growth. At stake is the future of our economic and financial system, and indeed the political and social stability of our countries.

This adjustment effort is already under way. It is only at its beginnings, however, and progress too often seems hesitant. The initial effects of adjustment policies are often hard to distinguish from the shocks of the crisis itself. Reactions to the measures adopted often mask the underlying progress achieved.

It is this adjustment process that I shall attempt to analyze this morning. To what extent is it taking hold? How far do we still have to go? How can we best go about it?

I shall examine the problems of adjustment both in the industrial countries and in the developing countries, and then turn to the role of the International Monetary Fund in facilitating the changes which must take place in our economies.

I. Adjustment in the Industrial Countries

The major industrial countries have made progress during the past year in the effort to fight inflation and to adjust externally. Economic policies have responded more successfully to the oil price rises of 1979–80 than to those of 1973–74. But this effort is incomplete and must not be relaxed. The measures still to be taken will require considerable political courage.

1. Let us look first at the initial evidence of adjustment as it appears today. Progress is apparent in five areas, and I shall comment on each of them in turn.

—First, the energy dependence of the industrial countries is continuing to decline. Total energy consumption in 1980 was about the same as in 1973, despite the economic growth of 19 per cent in real terms that took place over the period. In addition, the substitution of other energy sources for oil has accelerated. These developments attest to the importance of passing through the full effect of oil price rises, in order to increase energy saving and the development of alternative energy sources.

—Second, domestic monetary management in the industrial countries, which continues to bear the brunt of the fight against inflation, has generally been more prudent than it was from 1974 to 1978. One manifestation of this is the fact that interest rates in the industrial world have become positive in real terms—a development which, though initially painful, will foster adjustment.

—Third, improved control over the growth of the money supply helps to explain the more moderate behavior of prices and wages. Though still unacceptably high, inflation as measured by the consumer price index has slowed down since its peak in the first half of 1980. Wages, in turn, have reacted more moderately than after 1973 to the upsurge in prices during 1979 and 1980.

—Fourth, whereas consumption by households rose faster than total output in 1974–75, it is productive investment that has performed especially well since 1979, with enterprises protecting their profit margins more successfully.

—Fifth and last, the balance of payments on current account of the major industrial countries, which had deteriorated sharply from 1978 to 1980 in the wake of the oil price increases, is now righting itself, and in some cases very rapidly. These countries’ aggregate current account deficit (including official transfers), which rose to $35 billion in 1980, will shrink by at least two thirds in 1981.

Economic adjustment in the industrial countries had become imperative, and these are some of the signs that it is now beginning to take place. But this picture gives no grounds for complacency. Only limited progress has been achieved, and inflation remains at an intolerable level despite the human costs of the efforts that have been made. I should add that the current account deficit of the smaller industrial countries as a group, at $32 billion in 1981, remains very high.

2. At this stage in our progress, it is essential not to relax the efforts to combat inflation, but rather to press on with determination. Experience has amply demonstrated that sustained, sound growth requires that inflation first be brought under control. In some conditions, it is possible to increase economic activity temporarily through demand-stimulating policies. But an economy in the grip of inflation cannot be permanently revived by printing more money. The need today is to enable our economies to produce more, and at less cost.

The policy effort must be intensified along two basic lines: more effective demand management and measures to improve supply.

Let us look at demand management first. I observed a moment ago that the industrial countries have the growth of their monetary aggregates under better control today. Nevertheless, the burden being placed on monetary policy is undoubtedly excessive. To be effective, monetary policy must be supported by a coherent, sound fiscal policy. But it is evident that the fiscal policies of a number of industrial countries have been excessively expansionary since the early 1970s. The combined budget deficit of the industrial countries is about twice as large, in terms of GNP, as it was in 1973. A third of the industrial countries recorded a budgetary surplus in 1973; all of them are in deficit today. This weakness in public finance has stimulated demand-pull inflation and reduced the share of financing available to the private sector. It is not possible to generalize in this area, of course, since the effects of a budget deficit can be assessed only in the context of the particular economy concerned. But it is certain that, when credit demand is still strong and the rate of saving is inadequate, a budget deficit, even if relatively moderate, can intensify competition among borrowers and push interest rates upward. I might add that, beyond these direct economic effects, fiscal management is often rightly seen by the public as a test of a government’s seriousness and determination in fighting inflation.

In view of the importance of the U.S. economy and the effects of U.S. policy on the rest of the world, a few words on the United States are in order at this point. From an international standpoint, the sharp increase of U.S. interest rates and—at least until recently—their great volatility, as well as the dollar’s appreciation on the exchange markets, have become the subject of much controversy. These developments have had repercussions on many other countries, and in some cases have given rise to policy dilemmas. In the United States itself, the persistence of high interest rates has become a source of widespread dissatisfaction and disappointment. Whatever the criticisms and pressures in this area, however, I think it would be a great mistake to surrender to them by raising the monetary targets. Reduction of the rate of U.S. inflation is crucial to world economic stability; it must be achieved, and it can only be achieved if monetary policy holds firmly to its course and is consistently applied. The effort thus far to combat inflation has been encouraging; monetary targets have been set; and deep budget cuts have been made. The fact remains, however, that a decisive and sustained effort to reduce the budget deficit is necessary if inflationary expectations are to be broken and the pressures of government demands on the financial markets are to be eased.

But, vital as it may be, the control of overall demand cannot by itself eliminate inflation. The causes of inflation are rooted in our societies, and stem from a multitude of habits, attitudes, and rigidities which also demand remedy and correction. This is a long-range task, to be molded in each case by the characteristics and policies of the country concerned. But, however different the situations, the necessary structural reforms all hinge on a few simple ideas. Incentives to work and save must be strengthened. Unnecessary, paralyzing regulations must be abolished. Flexibility, a capacity to react, and a willingness to take risks—characteristics which too often have given way to rigidity, protection, and privilege—must be restored to our economies. There are no magic responses to the challenges we face; rather, we must persevere in a combination of convergent, consistently applied measures.

The analysis I have just made may appear conservative to some. But I believe it is wholly realistic. It is true that unemployment is reaching alarming levels. Who could underestimate the importance of this problem? Yet it seems certain that we can never hope to solve it by weak financial management. On the contrary, the unemployment problem was exacerbated by the inflationary policies of the years 1973 to 1979. Productive investment, the basis of all growth, can be revived not by distributing additional means of payment, but by strengthening investor confidence in the health of the economy. This, in turn, requires monetary stability above all; it is the prerequisite for increased saving. This leads me to state forcefully, as the Executive Board asked me to do a few weeks ago, that the fight against inflation must be waged courageously and with determination. This is undeniably a priority if the unemployment problem is to be attacked with any chance of lasting success. Premature relaxation of the restraints on demand in countries experiencing severe inflation would only aggravate the inflation, jeopardize the currency, and hamper growth. Perseverance is therefore required in the struggle against inflation. In the present social environment, this calls for difficult decisions; in the short term, in fact, they will probably aggravate the economic slowdown. But they are vital if we are to overcome the stagflation that has characterized the industrial economies for too long.

The Fund’s medium-term projections confirm this assessment of the likely consequences of expansionary policies. These projections show that the employment and growth picture in the mid-1980s would be much darker if anti-inflationary policies were not to be pursued with determination. The “scenarios” developed in the Fund bear out the conclusions suggested by experience: economic growth cannot be achieved through policies that worsen inflation. This does not mean that governments should remain inactive on the unemployment front; quite the contrary. But here again, the remedies chosen must be adapted to the fundamental problem. Trying to preserve employment by the use of subsidies to protect companies unable to meet the competition, or by recourse to uneconomic job creation, can only enlarge the budget deficit and reduce the productivity of the economy. Instead, it would seem better to do everything possible to promote technical training, labor mobility, and competition so as to let real wages adjust to actual labor productivity. In this connection, mechanisms for indexing wages to living costs are bound to threaten employment in a situation of sharply adverse terms of trade—a situation whose harsh consequences with respect to real incomes our societies must accept.

II. Adjustment in the Developing Countries

I turn now to adjustment in the non-oil developing countries. There has been a massive deterioration in their balance of payments deficits on current account, which rose from $37 billion in 1978 to $84 billion in 1980, and will probably approach $100 billion in 1981. Let us try to place this phenomenon in perspective and to examine its causes and scope before outlining the economic policies these countries should follow.

1. If we observe the evolution of their current accounts in the last two years, we cannot help but be struck by the intensity of the external shocks the non-oil developing countries have experienced. They have been hit by three forces: deteriorating terms of trade, slack demand in the industrial countries, and rising interest rates.

The deterioration in the developing countries’ terms of trade has been brutal, largely because of the oil price increases in 1979 and 1980 and, to a lesser extent, the increase in costs of manufactured imports and the marked weakening of raw material prices as a result of the economic recession in the major consuming countries. The recession has also hampered the growth of export volume in the developing countries, while the rise in international interest rates has severely aggravated their debt service burden.

If we consider those developing countries that are net oil importers, we find that their combined current account deficit has jumped from $30 billion in 1978 to $80 billion in 1981—a $50 billion increase. It is interesting to note that their bill for oil and interest payments alone has increased by close to $70 billion in these three years. What this means is that the net oil importers among the developing countries have succeeded in limiting the deterioration in their current accounts to $50 billion by raising their current receipts—and especially their net exports—by close to $20 billion in the same period. Indeed, the non-oil trade balance of these countries has moved into surplus. The net oil importing developing countries have thus managed to achieve a rather remarkable expansion of their exports in the face of the world recession.

2. The fact remains that the current account deficits of the non-oil developing countries are still excessive, and reinforcement of their adjustment policies is essential.

The current account deficits of the oil importing developing countries are a matter of concern. Half of these countries have deficits amounting to at least 13 per cent of GDP, more than three times as large as a decade ago. Such imbalances cannot be long sustained. The debt burden involved in financing them is growing, rising from an average of 14 per cent to 18 per cent of exports of goods and services between 1973 and 1981. In some cases, this burden is intolerable.

It must be recognized that in 1979 and 1980 most of the non-oil developing countries followed expansionary financial policies associated with large budget deficits. These policies contributed to the average inflation rate of approximately 30 per cent recorded in 1980. In many of these countries, however, a rather clear tendency to abandon expansionary policies and adopt adjustment programs has developed in the past year or so. The pace of inflation seems to be moderating, although at too slow a rate.

Clearly, the progress yet to be made in this direction will require great courage and perseverance on the part of low-income developing countries, for it is in these countries that adjustment is particularly costly in human terms. But there is no other path to follow. The resources available to non-oil developing countries are scarce and must be used as effectively as possible, while maintaining demand within the limits of available supply. To these ends, every possible effort must be made to limit unproductive expenditure, curtail deficits in current budgets, and increase domestic saving. Every instrument of economic policy—including fiscal, monetary, pricing, and investment policies—must be called upon to improve demand management and stimulate production.

This is a rough path indeed, and in some cases the outlook is not bright. It is up to the international community to smooth the path. Let me mention two areas of key importance that I have in mind.

The already formidable task facing the developing countries must not be further complicated by protectionist measures. If the developing countries are asked to reduce their current account deficits, they must be allowed to export. Protectionism is not an effective way for the industrial countries to ensure lasting employment in sectors where the ability to compete is threatened, but it certainly is a way of perpetuating economic distortions and inflation. In addition, protectionism might well be a fatal handicap to young economies whose development efforts are focused on exports. Thought should instead be given to the enormous potential for growth in international trade that the expansion of Third World export receipts would mean for the industrial countries.

International development assistance also has a key role to play in the present environment. I will not enlarge on this theme, which relates to development matters. I shall only say that an increase in development assistance on concessional terms alone can prevent a deterioration in the economic and human prospects of those low-income countries whose export potential and debt capacity are limited.

III. The Role of the International Monetary Fund in the Adjustment Process and Surveillance

I have described the main policies that need to be adopted and carried through if we are to meet the challenge of economic transformation which our member countries face. Now, I will discuss the ways in which the Fund can assist its member countries by providing finance linked to economic adjustment programs, and also through its surveillance of exchange rate policies.

(i) The Fund’s role in financing economic adjustment programs

The balance of payments problems facing our member countries reached unprecedented magnitude during 1979 and 1980. This situation required a strong International Monetary Fund, able to provide effective balance of payments assistance to its members. It had become clear that the capital base of the Fund, and members’ access to the Fund’s resources, had been dramatically eroded in real terms over the years. Thanks to the support of the membership, the Fund has been strengthened by two bold decisions taken in the past year.

First, we had to strengthen the Fund’s capacity to provide financing on a more adequate scale. Until recently, a member making full use of the Fund’s resources could normally borrow only the equivalent of 100 per cent of its quota, or 165 per cent under the extended Fund facility, to support adjustment programs. Now, countries making strong efforts to correct their payments imbalances may draw a total of up to 450 per cent of their quotas over a three-year period. This increase has helped to restore members’ access to the Fund’s resources to the level of the 1960s in real terms. To finance this enlarged access, a strengthening of the Fund’s financial resources was required. Late in 1980 the Seventh General Review of Quotas was completed, resulting in a 50 per cent increase to SDR 60 billion. In addition, substantial new lines of credit have been put in place, notably through the agreement signed with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency last May. Under this agreement, the Fund will be able to borrow up to SDR 4 billion this year and again next year, with the possibility of an additional amount in the third year. This represents an outstanding and most timely contribution to the Fund’s financial needs, and highlights the responsiveness and cooperative spirit of the Saudi Arabian authorities. The Fund has also arranged for short-term financing of SDR 1.3 billion, principally from a number of industrial countries and the BIS, whose assistance has been much appreciated. Other official borrowing arrangements, as well as a possible approach to the private markets, if required, are now under study.

More fundamental, however, for the longer-term financing of the Fund is the Eighth General Review of Quotas, on which preparatory work is now in hand. An important feature of this review, as the Governors have agreed, is that quota increases should be selective, reflecting the changes in the relative positions of member countries in the world economy. We shall endeavor to complete this work as quickly as possible. I trust that, with the strong support of member countries, the Eighth Review of Quotas will result in a substantial strengthening of the Fund’s capital base, responding to the challenges and uncertainties of the world economy in the 1980s.

The second and related decision was to concentrate access to the Fund’s enlarged resources on conditional financing. Against a background of large and widespread payments imbalances, it had become clear that members had to undertake programs of fundamental economic adjustment. The time for easy solutions was past. Thus, during the past two years some three fourths of the Fund’s new lending commitments have involved high conditionality, under programs requiring rigorous adjustment policies. By contrast, in the period following the oil price increases of 1973–74, approximately two thirds of the resources provided by the Fund to its members were made available on terms involving a low degree of conditionality. The Fund committed SDR 7.2 billion under conditional programs in 1980, and a further SDR 9.2 billion in the first eight months of this year.

The aim of these programs is to reduce current account deficits to a level that can be financed on a sustainable basis. In their design and implementation, the programs must address the fundamental problems facing members. Since the deficits of many countries are structural in origin, the Fund is placing emphasis not only on rigorous demand management (particularly in the area of public finance)—which is always at the heart of our programs—but also on measures of improved economic efficiency to strengthen the productive base of members’ economies. To these ends, realistic pricing, adaptation of exchange and interest rate policies, trade liberalization, and financial reform of the public sector or public enterprises often prove to be necessary.

In view of the more structural character of payments deficits, the Fund has stepped up its collaboration with the World Bank so as to ensure that the Fund’s adjustment programs with member countries are consistent with sound investment policies. I am confident that the Fund, and the World Bank under the leadership of Mr. Clausen, will further develop this fruitful and mutually reinforcing cooperation, and I take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Clausen to the Annual Meetings as President of the World Bank. I know I express the feelings of everyone present in wishing him every success in the challenging role he has assumed.

Having thus described the thrust of the Fund’s policies on payments adjustment and financing, I will now review briefly our experience in putting these policies into effect.

First, let me say that Fund-supported programs have not been successful in all instances. In a number of cases, drawings have had to be interrupted when programs have gone off course. However, in most cases Fund assistance has contributed substantially to adjustment. Frequently, it has also served as a catalyst for financial assistance and capital flows from other sources. The continuing expansion in the current account deficits of non-oil developing countries is now largely accounted for by those countries which do not have programs with the Fund. The combined deficit of those non-oil developing countries which entered into upper credit tranche arrangements with the Fund in either 1979 or 1980 accounted for 35 per cent of the aggregate deficit of all non-oil developing countries in 1978; this proportion is only 27 per cent today. The deficit of these countries with Fund programs has now stabilized, and is declining in real terms, while the deficit of the other countries is projected to rise by a further 30 per cent from 1980 to 1982.

Where programs with member countries have been successful, the adjustment has been brought about by the adoption of fundamental policy measures, rather than being forced on the countries involved through the sudden unavailability of external resources. In these successful cases, containment of the current account deficit has been associated with sustained export growth. This has been particularly true for some middle-income oil importers among the developing countries, where the Fund’s assistance has been sought in order to deal with problems before they reach unmanageable proportions. Certain countries with Fund programs have shown dramatically improved export performance in 1981 and are also expected to do well in 1982.

Without strong adjustment programs, a number of countries would have had to resort to severe restrictions on imports; and there might have been a number of cases of default on external commitments. A forced balancing of external payments would have occurred. But this would have been achieved at the cost of a reduction in economic activity and an exacerbation of social tensions, and the smooth functioning of the international financial system would have been affected.

In short, the evidence so far suggests that, when programs have been implemented, the Fund’s policies on adjustment and financing have been effective in the recent period. The Fund’s Executive Board and management have been vigilant, within the framework of the guidelines on conditionality, to keep its lending standards at a high level. This policy will be maintained. It has been strongly endorsed by the Interim Committee.

I would like to add that, despite the expansion in its workload, the Fund has remained a lean organization. The increase in the number of Fund programs has been accommodated without any significant increase in staff. There are now some 40 upper credit tranche and extended arrangements in effect, compared with an annual average of 10 during the period 1974–78. The Fund has thus been operating at a high level of efficiency in terms of staffing. The soundness of its internal finances has also been enhanced by the Executive Board’s decision to reform the system of charging for drawings on ordinary resources. The new system provides for an automatic adjustment in the charge rate applied, with the aim of adding modestly each year to the Fund’s capital and reserves.

(ii) The Fund’s surveillance activity

If the adjustment effort of those countries with balance of payments problems is to succeed, the world trade and payments system must be kept open and free from restrictions. This requires that all countries, particularly the industrial countries, follow appropriate exchange rate policies: policies which are consistent with domestic developments and with price objectives and external adjustment needs. Exchange rate developments in 1980 and 1981 have highlighted the importance of the Fund’s obligations with regard to surveillance.

The exercise of surveillance over members’ exchange rate policies is fundamental to the Fund’s functions. It should be conducted broadly, and should not be concerned only with countries using the Fund’s resources, on which attention is already focused in the special reports on their programs. The Fund’s surveillance function should be exercised in a uniform and symmetrical way with respect to the major creditor countries and the major industrial countries. The Fund must be concerned with the international repercussions of members’ monetary policies and focus on these international aspects, which are not always the principal concern of national authorities. We need to understand more fully the strengths—and perhaps the limitations—of monetary policies, and to reflect on these policies in an international framework.

Under the present conditions of sharp changes in exchange rates, coupled with widespread and uneven inflation and substantial adjustment problems facing many countries, it is essential that the Fund exercise actively its surveillance over members’ economic policies. Only in this manner will the Fund be able to contribute to the establishment of the sound underlying domestic economic conditions that are essential for achieving greater exchange rate stability. In April this year, the Executive Board agreed that the Fund’s surveillance should be strengthened by more active consultations with member countries. These increased contacts are proving useful, not only to countries facing serious external adjustment problems, but also in other instances where a member’s policies have significant effects on the balance of payments and exchange rates of other members. This activity should contribute to a greater understanding of the interrelationships of domestic and external policies, and help to reduce the large swings in the principal exchange rates that have at times appeared excessive in terms of underlying economic conditions.

The Fund’s discussions with member countries on issues related to their exchange rate policies touch on sensitive matters. For this reason, we will continue to conduct such discussions with members in the same cautious and confidential manner as we have in the past. It is also intended to provide for more Executive Board discussions on current exchange rate developments, both in formal sessions when examining the World Economic Outlook and in informal meetings. The Fund is a unique forum in which member countries can achieve greater mutual understanding and practical cooperation. To be effective, surveillance requires the full commitment of all members, especially the major industrial countries. I look to their continuing support as we seek to strengthen this collaboration in the coming months and to bring greater practical stability to the functioning of the monetary system.

In this context, let me emphasize that concerted efforts on the part of industrial countries to address the underlying causes of stagflation would represent a crucial contribution to improvement of the performance of the world economy. Successful handling of the stagflation problem by these countries would not only assure the renewal of a more satisfactory and sustained rate of growth, but also would contribute to the stability of real exchange rates among the key currencies and would be of great benefit to the developing countries.

* * * * *

Mr. Chairman, the vast majority of the Fund’s member countries still face an extremely difficult economic situation. If their economies are to achieve sustained growth, if the hopes and aspirations of their peoples for the coming decade are to be at all satisfied, there can be no relaxation now in economic adjustment policies. This message may seem an austere one. It is nevertheless realistic: the present state of the world economy imposes this discipline on industrial and developing members alike.

According to the medium-term analysis we have conducted in the Fund, the evolution of the world economy through the first half of this decade could prove to be reasonably satisfactory if both industrial and developing countries were to follow the kinds of adjustment policies that I have called for. Throughout the world, rates of economic growth would be generally moderate and rates of inflation would gradually decline. Among the non-oil developing countries, even with the implementation of the comprehensive programs of adjustment assumed in our “scenario,” the balance of payments picture is found to be worrisome for two groups: the middle-income countries exporting mainly primary products and the low-income countries. Some of these countries, notably in the low-income category, could encounter serious difficulties, especially if industrial countries were to increase protectionist measures or did not expand their assistance in the form of grants and concessional loans. On the whole, this scenario—while far from ideal—would have the great merit of bringing about needed adjustments throughout the world economy, and it would pave the way for a markedly better economic performance in the second half of the 1980s.

Meanwhile, in today’s difficult environment, painful political and social choices have to be made. The mission of the Fund—its unique role and responsibility—is to give financial and technical support to members linked to the adoption of economic adjustment programs. But, of course, there is a limit to what the Fund itself can accomplish. Adjustment programs require the sustained effort and wholehearted political commitment of the member countries. Such support is vital for the effective implementation and success of these programs. I urge that it be strengthened everywhere.

I have concentrated today, Mr. Chairman, on questions of economic adjustment because these are of immediate and continuing concern to the Fund and to its member countries. At the same time, it is essential that we do not lose sight of questions concerning the international monetary system itself. Vigorous and sustained growth in the world economy requires sound domestic policies, but growth can only be achieved in a stable and smoothly functioning system.

The recent period of sharply fluctuating exchange rates has served to strengthen perceptions of the SDR as the one international unit of value that is effectively stable in relation to the major currencies of the present multicurrency reserve system. In order to increase its role in the system, the Fund has simplified the SDR, which is now a basket of the five major currencies in the system. The simplified SDR has found many new uses, as evidenced by its expanding role in the private markets. In addition, the Fund has taken steps to make the SDR more attractive by giving it all the characteristics of a full-fledged reserve asset in official transactions. It is important that this role be strengthened in a continuing way in the perspective of the long-run needs of the system.

I do not believe the time is ripe for radical proposals for international monetary reform. We cannot transform the monetary system through any simple formula, new or old. Greater stability of the system can only be achieved if we reduce inflation and diminish the pressures which could otherwise fragment the world economy. Perseverance by governments in their economic adjustment policies will thus be a crucial element in the period ahead. The Fund counts on all its members to support and strengthen its activity in furthering these common objectives.

September 29, 1981.

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