Front Matter

Front Matter

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
November 1998
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©1998 International Monetary Fund

World economic outlook (International Monetary Fund)

World economic outlook: a survey by the staff of the International Monetary Fund.—1980- —Washington, D.C.: The Fund, 1980-

v.; 28 cm.—(1981–84: Occasional paper/International Monetary Fund ISSN 0251-6365)


Has occasional updates, 1984–

ISSN 0258-7440 = World economic and financial surveys

ISSN 0256-6877 = World economic outlook (Washington)

1. Economic history—1971- —Periodicals. I. International Monetary Fund. II. Series: Occasional paper (International Monetary Fund)





Library of Congress 8507

Published biannually.

ISBN 9781557757739

The cover, charts, and interior of this publication were designed and produced by the IMF Graphics Section

Price: US$36.00

(US$25.00 to full-time faculty members and students at universities and colleges)

Please send orders to:

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Tel.: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201




Assumptions and Conventions

A number of assumptions have been adopted for the projections presented in the World Economic Outlook. It has been assumed that real effective exchange rates will remain constant at their average levels during July 27–August 24, 1998 except for the bilateral rates among the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM) currencies, which are assumed to remain constant in nominal terms; that established policies of national authorities will be maintained (for specific assumptions about fiscal and monetary polices in industrial countries, see Box 2.1); that the average price of oil will be $13.28 a barrel in 1998 and $14.51 a barrel in 1999, and remain unchanged in real terms over the medium term; and that the six-month London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) on U.S. dollar deposits will average 5.7 percent in both 1998 and 1999. These are, of course, working hypotheses rather than forecasts, and the uncertainties surrounding them add to the margin of error that would in any event be involved in the projections. The estimates and projections are based on statistical information available in mid-September 1998.

The following conventions have been used throughout the World Economic Outlook:

  • … to indicate that data are not available or not applicable;

  • — to indicate that the figure is zero or negligible;

  • – between years or months (for example, 1997–98 or January–June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;

  • / between years or months (for example, 1997/98) to indicate a fiscal or financial year.

“Billion” means a thousand million; “trillion” means a thousand billion.

“Basis points” refer to hundredths of 1 percentage point (for example, 25 basis points are equivalent to ¼ of 1 percentage point).

In figures and tables, shaded areas indicate IMF staff projections.

Minor discrepancies between sums of constituent figures and totals shown are due to rounding.

As used in this report, the term “country” does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice. As used here, the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states but for which statistical data are maintained on a separate and independent basis.

* * *

Inquiries about the content of the World Economic Outlook, including questions relating to the World Economic Outlook database and requests for additional data, should be sent by mail, electronic mail, or telefax (telephone inquiries cannot be accepted) to:

World Economic Studies Division

Research Department

International Monetary Fund

700 19th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20431, U.S.A.

E-mail: Telefax: (202) 623-6343


The projections and analysis contained in the World Economic Outlook are an integral element of the IMF’s ongoing surveillance of economic developments and policies in its member countries and of the global economic system. The IMF has published the World Economic Outlook annually from 1980 through 1983 and biannually since 1984.

The survey of prospects and policies is the product of a comprehensive interdepartmental review of world economic developments, which draws primarily on information the IMF staff gathers through its consultations with member countries. These consultations are carried out in particular by the IMF’s area departments together with the Policy Development and Review Department and the Fiscal Affairs Department.

The country projections are prepared by the IMF’s area departments on the basis of internationally consistent assumptions about world activity, exchange rates, and conditions in international financial and commodity markets. For approximately 50 of the largest economies—accounting for 90 percent of world output—the projections are updated for each World Economic Outlook exercise. For smaller countries, the projections are based on those prepared at the time of the IMF’s regular Article IV consultations with those countries or in connection with the use of IMF resources: for these countries, the projections used in the World Economic Outlook are incrementally adjusted to reflect changes in assumptions and global economic conditions.

The analysis in the World Economic Outlook draws extensively on the ongoing work of the IMF’s area and specialized departments, and is coordinated in the Research Department under the general direction of Michael Mussa, Economic Counsellor and Director of Research. The World Economic Outlook project is directed by Flemming Larsen, Deputy Director of the Research Department, together with Graham Hacche, Assistant Director for the World Economic Studies Division.

Primary contributors to the current issue include Francesco Caramazza, John H. Green, Staffan Gorne, Mark De Broeck, Donogh McDonald, Ramana Ramaswamy, Jahangir Aziz, Phillip Swagel, Ranil Salgado, and Cathy Wright, Other contributors include Anthony Boote, Philip Gerson, Sanjeev Gupta, Peter Heller, Kalpana Kochhar, Laura Kodres, Guy Meredith, Doris Ross, Blair Rourke, Christian Schiller, Steven Symansky, and Andrew Tweedie. The Fiscal Analysis Division of the Fiscal Affairs Department computed the structural budget and fiscal impulse measures. Gretchen Gallik, Mandy Hemmati, Yutong Li, and Anthony G. Turner provided research assistance. Allen Cooler, Nicholas Dopuch, Isabella Dymarskaia, Yasoma Liyanarachchi, Olga Plagie, and Irim Siddiqui processed the data and managed the computer systems, Susan Duff, Caroline Bagworth, and Lisa Marie Scott-Hill were responsible for word processing. James McEuen of the External Relations Department edited the manuscript and coordinated production of the publication.

The analysis has benefited from comments and suggestions by staff from other IMF departments, as well as by Executive Directors following their discussion of the World Economic Outlook on September 9 and 11, 1998. However, both projections and policy considerations are those of the IMF staff and should not be attributed to Executive Directors or to their national authorities.

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