Abstract

Quite apart from the approach selected for measuring the effects of programs, it is clear that the global impact of Fund-supported programs will be strongly influenced by the structural and behavioral characteristics of the program countries themselves. In this section, four of these characteristics are examined: the share of program countries in world trade; the degree of trading interdependence among them; the share of program countries in international capital flows; and the typical size of changes in import volumes, export prices, and real exchange rates that emanate from program countries. One might expect that, other things being equal, the larger these four parameters or disturbances are, the larger would be their global effects. In Sections IV and VI, these global effects of programs are considered within more general equilibrium models and in greater detail. Nevertheless, the characteristics of program countries examined below place natural bounds on the size of these global effects.

Quite apart from the approach selected for measuring the effects of programs, it is clear that the global impact of Fund-supported programs will be strongly influenced by the structural and behavioral characteristics of the program countries themselves. In this section, four of these characteristics are examined: the share of program countries in world trade; the degree of trading interdependence among them; the share of program countries in international capital flows; and the typical size of changes in import volumes, export prices, and real exchange rates that emanate from program countries. One might expect that, other things being equal, the larger these four parameters or disturbances are, the larger would be their global effects. In Sections IV and VI, these global effects of programs are considered within more general equilibrium models and in greater detail. Nevertheless, the characteristics of program countries examined below place natural bounds on the size of these global effects.

Share of Program Countries in World Trade

Table 6 provides a capsule picture of the share of program countries in world trade over the 1973–83 period. Two groups of program countries are considered to cover the sensitivity of the results to alternative definitions of the program-country population. Group A contains countries with stand-by arrangements or extended facility programs with the Fund in a given year; Group B is Group A plus those countries that used the Fund’s compensatory financing facility in the same year.

Table 6.

Share of Program Countries in World Trade, 1973–83

(In percent)

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Source: Fund staff estimates.Note: Group A countries are those with stand-by or extended Fund facility arrangements, Group B countries are Group A plus countries drawing under the compensatory financing facility. NODC stands for non-oil developing countries.

Excludes the United Kingdom and Italy.

The story told by Table 6 can be summarized under three points. First and most important, even though the share of program countries in world trade has risen steadily over the past decade, it is still quite modest, accounting in 1983 for about 7 percent of global trade and roughly 40 percent of the trade of all non-oil developing countries.21 To place those figures in perspective, in 1983 the seven largest industrial countries took 49 percent and the United States alone accounted for over 15 percent of world imports. So even with nearly 40 countries under Fund-supported adjustment programs in 1984, the potential for shifts in import demand in these countries to affect economic activity in the rest of the world would seem to be quite limited, especially compared with the industrial countries. In this sense, the fact that most world trade models are designed to trace the transmission of economic activity from the North to the South can be seen as no accident.

A second point that emerges from Table 6 is that the share of world trade attributable to program countries (looking first at the narrower Group A) varies quite a bit over time with changes in the size and composition of the program-country population. The program countries’ share of world imports for 1983, for example, was 10 times larger than their average share in 1973–75 (0.68 percent), and more than 4 times larger than their share in 1982 (1.53 percent). The main reason for the sudden increase in their share of world imports in 1983 is that several “large” trading countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, and Turkey) were added to the program-country group in that year. Likewise, the program-country share of world trade hit a peak of over 12 percent of world imports in 1977 because the United Kingdom and Italy had programs then. Perhaps the main implication of this temporal instability in shares of world trade is that one should not expect any transmission effects from program countries to be stable from year to year. This of course complicates the estimation of the global effects of programs.

Finally, Table 6 also demonstrates that in recent years (1979–82) the share of world trade accounted for by program countries is not much altered when the group of program countries is enlarged to include those with compensatory financing facility drawings. The reason is simply that most countries with stand-by arrangements or extended Fund facility programs also made compensatory facility purchases during the 1979–83 period. Hence, the country composition of Groups A and B is quite similar. This was not so between 1976 and 1978, when Group B was considerably larger than Group A. In short, the estimates of the global effects of Fund programs over the past four or five years will not be very sensitive to the inclusion of recipients of compensatory financing.

The fact that program countries as a group typically have rather a modest share of world imports (3.6 percent, on average, over 1973–83) does not mean either the individual countries or even industries could not be seriously affected by changes in the import behavior of program countries, or that these induced effects on exports would be roughly similar across countries and industries. While this study cannot explore such disaggregated distribution effects in great detail, Tables 7 and 8 provide some basic information on the share of exports from individual countries to program countries, and on the commodity composition of the imports of program countries.

Perhaps the most interesting finding to arise out of Table 7 is that group averages on the share of exports going to program countries conceal quite a bit of individual country variation. For example, even among the seven largest industrial countries, the United States and Japan seem, on average, to have been about twice as dependent on program countries for export markets over the past decade as the other five largest industrial countries.22 Similar inter-country variations can be seen among smaller industrial countries and among oil exporting countries. The export shares of individual countries to program countries are also quite variable over time—the U.S. share increased from 2.1 percent in 1982 to 14.1 percent in 1983 for instance; again this reflects the large changes in the country composition of the program-country group over time.

Table 7.

Share of Total Exports of Individual Countries or Groups Going to Program Countries, 1973–83

(In percent)

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Source: Fund staff estimates.

Excludes Italy and the United Kingdom from program countries.

Turning to the commodity composition of the imports of program countries, Table 8 shows that in 1980 the bulk (61 percent), of these imports were manufactured goods, followed by fuels (22 percent), foods (9 percent), and other primary commodities (8 percent). This calculation is based on the 1983 program-country group but it is likely that the predominant share of manufactures would also emerge for earlier groups of program countries.23 This suggests of course that the major beneficiaries or victims of sharp changes in the imports of program countries are likely to be those countries for which manufactures bulk large in total exports. Table 8 indicates that these are the industrial countries and the middle-income oil importing developing countries. The data do not permit us to go much beyond that.

Table 8.

Commodity Structure of Imports and Exports: 1983 Program Countries and Other Country Groups

(In percent of total imports or exports)

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Source: World Development Report 1983 (World Bank), Tables 10 and 11, pp. 166–69.

Weighted averages using 1981 value of imports as weights.

Textiles and clothing, machinery and transport equipment, and other manufactures.

To summarize, although the share of program countries in global imports and exports has grown rapidly over the past decade, it was still modest (7–8 percent) in 1983 compared with the shares of other country groups. The share of program countries has moreover been quite variable over time, as the number and trading size of program countries have varied. There has also been a great deal of inter-country variation in the share of exports going to program countries over the past decade. The bulk of imports of program countries seems to have been manufactured goods.

Trade Interdependence Among Program Countries

The greater the trade interdependence among program countries, the higher, ceteris paribus, would be the risk that any program-induced changes in the demand for imports would be mutually reinforcing—perhaps with larger multiplier effects on aggregate demand than desired or anticipated.

Table 9 shows the share of each program country’s total imports and total exports that come from, or go to, all other program countries.24 To get an upper-bound estimate of trade interdependence among program countries, Group B as well as Group A program countries for 1983 were covered in the calculations. In addition, 1981 and 1982 trade data were used, to safeguard the findings from being unduly influenced by the contemporaneous effects of programs themselves. Since the results were quite similar, the following discussion is based on the calculations using 1981 data.

Table 9.

Share of Trade Among 1983 Program Countries

(In percent)

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Source: Fund staff estimates.Note: The calculations use 1981 trade data for 37 program countries (Group A).

Using 1981 values of imports or exports as weights.

Two conclusions arise out of the data on inter-dependence. First, the average degree of trade interdependence among program countries is rather low. For the 37 program countries (Group B) shown in Table 9, the (unweighted) mean shares of imports to and exports from other program countries were 9 percent and 8 percent, respectively; if only Group A program countries are considered, these means fall to 8 and 7 percent, respectively. This rather low average level of trade interdependence among program countries reflects the more general facts that most program countries are non-oil developing countries and that, as mentioned earlier, these trade most with industrial countries. In 1983, for example, industrial countries accounted for 59 percent of the total imports of non-oil developing countries and for 57 percent of their exports.25 Trade among non-oil developing countries represented 20 percent of total imports and 24 percent of total exports of non-oil developing countries in 1983.26

The second conclusion is that although average interdependence is low, there clearly are some program countries where intra-program country trade is significant. Out of the 37 program countries listed, 11 have more than 10 percent of their trade (an average of imports and exports) with other program countries; for four of them (Bolivia, Malawi, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe), that average is above 25 percent. At least in these four countries, the multiplier effects of programs in other countries could only be ignored with peril, but there are also some relatively large program countries (such as Hungary, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, and South Africa) where intra-program country trade is quite limited. Again, the aggregate figures conceal quite a bit of inter-country variation.

Because the extent of trade interdependence among Latin American countries has sometimes been cited as an example of why the global effects of programs are apt to be much larger than domestic effects,27 Table 10 provides a more detailed breakdown of intra-program-country trade for five Latin American countries that had programs in 1983—namely Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Uruguay. The tale told by that table is that aside from Uruguay, and to a lesser extent Argentina, trade among these Latin American countries, even prior to the program period, was rather limited and certainly less important than their trade, say, with the United States. If we take these five 1983 program countries as a group, what happens to the U.S. demand for imports and to the U.S. supply of exports would in quantitative terms be a significantly more powerful transmission for their own trade accounts than what happens in partner program countries.

Table 10.

Trade Interdependence Among Selected 1983 Latin American Program Countries

(In percent of total exports or total imports)

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Exports and imports from country listed in heading to country listed in column 1.

Regarding the commodity structure of intra-program-country trade, is there any reason to believe that it would differ from the structure of the, overall trade of program countries? The answer appears to be “yes” based on the observations that most program countries are non-oil developing countries and that trade among these is apparently more capital intensive than are their exports to industrial countries. Table 11, adapted from Havrylyshyn and Wolf (1981), provides rough figures on the commodity composition of both exports and imports for a sample of 33 non-oil developing countries in 1977. It shows that the weight of capital goods in exports to other non-oil developing countries is more than twice as high as in exports to industrial countries. Similarly, the weight of capital goods is more than twice as high for imports by non-oil developing countries from industrial countries as for exports from non-oil developing countries as a whole. One interesting implication of this difference in the commodity structure of trade is that changes in trade among program countries would presumably have smaller effects on employment per unit of exports than changes in trade with industrial countries (because the former is more capital intensive than the latter).

Table 11.

Commodity Composition of Trade Among Non-Oil Developing Countries and Between These and Industrial Countries, 1977

(In percent)

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Source: Havrylyshyn and Wolf (1981), Tables 8 and 10, pp. 58 and 60.

To sum up, for the majority of program countries, trade with other program countries accounts for only a small share of total exports or imports. Such trade has, however, been increasing, and there are some program countries where it is unmistakably important. Finally, it appears that intra-program-country trade is more capital intensive than the trade of program countries with industrial countries.

Share of Program Countries in World Capital Flows

Policies in program countries could affect other countries through trade in financial assets as well as trade in goods and services. In addition, because the availability and terms of financing strongly influence the speed of external adjustment, and because current account deficits create a need for financing, the effects of programs on capital flows can often not be divorced from the effects on trade flows.

As with trade flows, one would expect the global effects of programs to be larger, the larger the weight of program countries in international capital flows. Table 12 shows the size and structure of the external liabilities of all non-oil developing countries in both 1973 and 1983. Three main points arise from Table 12. First, non-oil developing countries have been more attractive as a destination for international lending than as one for foreign investment, with the stock of external debt in 1983 about four times larger than the stock of foreign direct investment, with the former having grown much faster over the decade before 1983 than the latter (18 percent versus 12 percent a year). Second, private creditors have become much more important as a source of external lending to these countries over the past decade, with their share of long-term debt rising from 54 percent in 1973 to 62 percent in 1983. Finally, financial institutions, primarily commercial banks, have been at the forefront of this “privatization” of lending to the developing world, increasing their share in long-term debt from 15 percent in 1973 to 36 percent in 1983—an increase that was reflected in an annual average growth rate of 28 percent a year versus the 18 percent a year growth of all long-term debt to the same countries.28

Table 12.

Non-Oil Developing Countries: Changes in External Liabilities, 1973–83

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Source: Fund staff estimates.

What then about the share of program countries in the external liabilities of all non-oil developing countries? The piecemeal data on foreign direct investment that exist suggest: (1) that program countries accounted for roughly 55 percent of the total foreign direct investment in non-oil developing countries in 1983; (2) that only three countries of the program-country group (Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa), accounted for about 70 percent of the total in 1983; and (3) that in earlier years, program countries seem to have had only a small share (less than 10 percent) of total foreign direct investment in non-oil developing countries.

The same pattern seems to have prevailed with external debt (Table 13). Prior to 1983, Group A program countries had only a modest share of total debt, ranging from a low of about 8 percent in 1982 to a high of roughly 23 percent in 1980. However, with the inclusion of 11 “major borrowing” developing countries in the program-country group in 1983, the situation changes dramatically, as (Group A) program countries then account for 56 percent of the total outstanding debt of non-oil developing countries, 79 percent of their short-term debt, and 67 percent of the long-term debt owed to private financial institutions. This sudden change reflects the concentration of bank lending to developing countries in a relatively small number of major borrowers (see Chart 1), the serious debt-servicing difficulties of these few borrowers in 1982–83 in response to a harsh external environment and inappropriate past domestic policies, and the adoption of Fund-supported adjustment programs by these same countries.

Table 13.

Program Countries’ Share of the External Debt of Non-Oil Developing Countries, 1977–83

(In percent)

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Source: Fund staff estimates.Note: This table covers Group A program countries only.
Chart 1.
Chart 1.

Concentration of International Bank Claims, 1973–83

Note: Bank claims exclude interbank transactions within the 15 BIS reporting countries.Source: Staff estimates based on BIS data from International Banking Developments.1 Exclude Fund member countries.

To place in perspective the historically high share of the 1983 program countries in total bank lending to non-oil developing countries, Chart 1 indicates that this group of countries accounted for roughly 30 percent of banks’ international claims in 1983 and that international claims, in turn, represented about 18 percent of total claims of banks in that year. All told then, even in the peak year of 1983, program countries probably accounted for only 3–4 percent of banks’ total (domestic and international) claims. The problem of course, and this has been brought home vividly in the last few years, is that some large individual commercial banks have much higher exposure in program countries (related to their capital) than the average.29

International bank lending is not the only source of net lending through international capital markets. International bond issues are also important. As Table 14 shows, however, non-oil developing countries have not been major borrowers in the foreign and Eurobond markets between 1978 and 1983, while industrial countries and international organizations have. In 1983, non-oil developing countries accounted for only 3 percent of all foreign bonds and for only 4 percent of Eurobonds offered; the corresponding percentages for industrial countries and international organizations, taken together, were 96 percent and 94 percent, respectively. Presumably, the preference of investors for “low risk” investments in the turbulent global financial environment of 1982–83 contributed to determining these shares. In any case, the data do not reveal a significant role for program countries as borrowers in international bond markets.

Table 14.

International Bond Issues and Placements, 1978–83

(In millions of U.S. dollars)

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Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Financial Market Trends.Note: The country classifications are those used by the Fund.

Excluding Fund member countries.

What about the role of program countries as a source of funds for international lending and investment? As shown in Table 15, non-oil developing countries have contributed about 9 percent of the total sources of funds for external bank lending over 1978–83, with that contribution, not surprisingly, varying with the severity of their current account pressures. Again, since program countries are mainly non-oil developing countries, their weight in global financial aggregates, this time as a source of funds for external bank lending, is limited.

Table 15.

External Lending by and Deposit Taking of Commercial Banks, 1978–83

(In billions of U.S. dollars)

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Source: Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and Fund staff estimates.Note: Covering banks in the BIS reporting area.

On goods, services, and private transfers.

Finally, when considering the global effects of Fund supported programs that operate via international capital flows, it is crucial to account for the distinction between the influence of Fund-supported programs and that of program countries. In recent years a number of important Fund-supported programs have involved an understanding not only between the Fund and the program country (the borrower) but also between the Fund and various private financial institutions (the lenders)—and this precisely out of concern for the global or systemic effects that might follow if lenders and borrowers in international capital markets took too narrow a view of their own self interest.30 In these much-discussed programs with major borrowing countries, lenders have been encouraged to maintain enough new financing to program countries so that the speed and costs of adjustment (in terms of cuts in expenditure and imports) do not become too onerous and so that the Fund’s own contribution to filling the financing gap is not merely offset by lower bank lending. Borrowers have also been encouraged to take firm adjustment measures to restore the economic basis for sound debt servicing. The discussion of the domestic effects of programs in Section II raised the concern that without programs in 1982–83, private lenders might have cut back even more sharply on their loans—not only to programs countries but to other borrowers in the developing world as well.31 (This is sometimes referred to as the contagion effect in international bank lending.)32 The global effects of even lower new private lending to developing countries could well have been serious; it would inevitably have meant larger cutbacks in imports than actually occurred, to say nothing of its adverse effects on borrowers’ willingness to pay.

The point of all this is not to arrive at a consensus scenario of what would have happened in the absence of some recent Fund-supported programs with major international borrowers. Instead, it is to suggest that because such programs involve lenders as well as borrowers, and because international capital flows seem to be more susceptible than international flows of goods to abrupt changes and to contagion effects, it will be difficult to gauge the global financial effects of programs from shares of program countries in various financial flows or stocks alone.33

Size of Initial Changes in Program Countries

The characteristics of program countries reviewed so far are relevant for determining how strongly a given income or price change in these countries might be transmitted to the rest of the world. But the global effects of programs also depend on how large these initial changes are themselves. If the initial changes are very large, programs could transmit significant effects, even when program countries account for relatively small shares of global aggregates.

This sub-section reviews the average size of three types of developments in program countries between 1975 and 1983: changes in import volumes; in export prices; and in real effective exchange rates.34 Changes in import volumes are the main channel by which income or output changes in program countries affect those countries that export to them. Export prices are included because they are the channel for transmitting price changes in program countries abroad. Finally, changes in real exchange rates are considered a rough indicator of changes in the competitiveness of exports and import-competing products in program countries; such changes in competitiveness presumably affect production, consumption, and development in tradable goods industries in other countries. Ceteris paribus, one would expect the global effects of programs to be larger, the larger are the average size of these initial changes in program countries.

Taking imports first, Table 16 shows that the (weighted) mean change in import volumes for Group A program countries was a fall of 5.5 percent over the past nine years; for Group B program countries, it was a smaller decline of 2.5 percent. In this light, the 7.7 percent fall in import volumes recorded by 1983 program countries is unusual and reflects the strenuous adjustment efforts made by these countries, as well as their reduced access to external finance, especially bank lending.35 The average import volume figures also show that the very large reductions in imports recorded in 1983 by Argentina (17 percent), Brazil (15 percent), Mexico (42 percent), and Uruguay (34 percent) are not representative of all Fund programs; the higher imports in 1983 of Hungary (19 percent), Korea (14 percent), and Thailand (25 percent) also need to be taken into account. In any case, a 5 percent change in the imports of program countries, when multiplied by the mean 7 percent share of program countries in world imports, implies (as a first approximation) a 0.35 percent change in world exports. Even though this admittedly represents only the first round in the transmission of income effects from program countries to the rest of the world, it hardly seems likely to initiate or even seriously exacerbate global recessions.

Table 16.

Average Size of Changes in Program Countries, 1975–83

(In percentage change)

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Source: Fund staff estimates.

Nominal rate deflated by the consumer price indices.

Turning to prices, the (weighted) mean change in the export prices (in U.S. dollars) of program countries over 1975–83 was about 4.5 percent. The annual data show that this mean figure conceals two quite different sub-periods; 1981–83 when the export prices of program countries (and of all non-oil developing countries) were falling under the influence of the world recession, and 1976–80 when those export prices were buoyant under the influence of more satisfactory growth in export markets.36 Relatively small rises in export prices are found around the time of the large 1979–80 oil price increases because oil exporting countries rarely had programs during that period. (For comparison, the export price for net oil exporters among developing countries increased by 39 percent in 1979 and 33 percent in 1980.) Again employing a rough calculation, an average increase in export prices of, say, 5 percent, multiplied by an average program-country share of world exports of 8 percent, yields a 0.40 percent increase in world export prices. In short, nothing in Table 16 suggests that export price changes in program countries over the past nine years have had major global effects.

Last but not least, the real effective exchange rate of program countries depreciated on average by about 3 percent per annum during 1975–83. Again, 1983 is unusual, and the 11 percent real depreciation recorded by program countries in that year is yet another indication of the strength of their adjustment effort. The fact that the real effective exchange rate of program countries has usually depreciated during the program year is understandable once one recalls (see Table 4) that program countries typically face relatively large current account deficits at the inception of the program period and that improvements in competitiveness are one of the main avenues for reducing such deficits. In fact, it might be argued that any global effects of programs on output are minimized by such expenditure-switching policies (as changes in the real exchange rate) because they reduce the need to rely on expenditure-reducing policies as a means of securing external adjustment. As for the size of the real exchange rate depreciation experienced by program countries in 1983, it was somewhat larger than that either for all non-oil developing countries (which was 8 percent) or for the 25 major borrowing developing countries (which was 9 percent). (Note that these three groups overlap to a significant extent because 11 major borrowing developing countries had Fund programs in 1983—a group which also contained some of the largest non-oil developing countries.) Again, this probably reflects the more pressing needs to adjust of the program countries. Since the real exchange rates of the largest industrial countries have been much more variable over the past few years, it would also be difficult to argue that the real exchange rate movements recorded by program countries were “disrupting” the system. At least on the surface, therefore, there is little indication that the changes in competitiveness of program countries over the past few years were inappropriate—either in direction or in magnitude.

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