The statistical appendix presents historical data, as well as projections. It comprises four sections: Assumptions, Data and Conventions, Classification of Countries, and Statistical Tables.

The statistical appendix presents historical data, as well as projections. It comprises four sections: Assumptions, Data and Conventions, Classification of Countries, and Statistical Tables.

The assumptions underlying the estimates and projections for 1997–98 and the medium-term scenario for 1999–2002 are summarized in the first section. The following section provides a general description of the data, and the conventions used for calculating country group composites. The classification of countries in the various groups presented in the World Economic Outlook is summarized in the third section. Note that the group of advanced economies, previously labeled industrial countries, includes Israel and four newly industrialized Asian economies, which all were added to the industrial country group in the May 1997 issue of the World Economic Outlook.

The last, and main, section comprises the statistical tables. Data in these tables have been generally compiled on the basis of information available at the end of August 1997. The figures for 1997 and beyond are shown with the same degree of precision as the historical figures, solely for convenience; since they are projections, the same degree of accuracy is not to be inferred.


Real effective exchange rates for the advanced economies are assumed to remain constant at their average levels during the four-week period July 18–August 14. 1997, except that the bilateral exchange rates among the ERM currencies are assumed to remain constant in nominal terms. For 1997 and 1998, these assumptions imply average U.S. dollar/SDR conversion rates of 1.374 and 1.360, respectively.

Established policies of national authorities are assumed to be maintained. The more specific policy assumptions underlying the projections for selected advanced economies are described in Box 1.

It is assumed that the price of oil will average $19.39 a barrel in 1997 and$19.03a barrel in 1998. In the medium term, the oil price is assumed to remain unchanged in real terms.

With regard to interest rates, it is assumed that the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) on six-month U.S. dollar deposits will average 5.9 percent in 1997 and 6.3 percent in 1998; that the three-month certificate of deposit rate in Japan will average 0.4 percent in 1997 and 0.9 percent in 1998; and that the three-month interbank deposit rate in Germany will average 3.2 percent in 1997 and 3.8 percent in 1998.

Data and Conventions

Data and projections for 181 countries form the statistical basis for the World Economic Outlook (the World Economic Outlook database). The data are maintained jointly by the IMF’s Research Department and area departments, with the latter regularly updating country projections based on consistent global assumptions.

Although national statistical agencies are the ultimate providers of historical data and definitions, international organizations are also involved in statistical issues, with the objective of harmonizing methodologies for the national compilation of statistics, including the analytical frameworks, concepts, definitions, classifications, and valuation procedures used in the production of economic statistics. The World Economic Outlook database reflects information from both national source agencies and international organizations.

The completion in 1993 of the comprehensive revision of the standardized System of National Accounts 1993 (SNA) and the IMF’s Balance of Payments Manual (BPM) represented important improvements in the standards of economic statistics and analysis.1 The IMF was actively involved in both projects, particularly the new Balance of Payments Manual, which reflects the IMF’s special interest in countries’ external positions. Key changes introduced with the new Manual were summarized in Box 13 of the May 1994 World Economic Outlook, The process of adapting country balance of payments data to the definitions of the new Balance of Payments Manual began with the May 1995 World Economic Outlook. However, full concordance with the BPM is ultimately dependent on the provision by national statistical compilers of revised country data, and hence the World Economic Outlook estimates are still only partly adapted to the BPM.

Composite data for country groups in the World Economic Outlook are either sums or weighted averages of data for individual countries. Arithmetically weighted averages are used for all data except inflation and money growth for the developing and transition country groups, for which geometric averages are used. The following conventions apply.

  • Country group composites for exchange rates, interest rates, and the growth rates of monetary aggregates are weighted by GDP converted to U.S. dollars at market exchange rates (averaged over the preceding three years) as a share of world or group GDP.

  • Composites for other data relating to the domestic economy, whether growth rates or ratios, are weighted by GDP valued at purchasing power parities (PPPs) as a share of total world or group GDP2

  • Composite unemployment rates and employment growth are weighted by labor force as a share of group labor force.

  • Composites relating to the external economy are sums of individual country data after conversion to U.S. dollars at the average market exchange rates in the years indicated for balance of payments data, and at end-of-year market exchange rates for debt denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars. Composites of changes in foreign trade volumes and prices, however, are arithmetic averages of percentage changes for individual countries weighted by the U.S. dollar value of exports or imports as a share of total world or group exports or imports (in the preceding year).

For central and eastern European countries, external transactions in nonconvertible currencies (through 1990) are converted to U.S. dollars at the implicit U.S. dollar/ruble conversion rates obtained from each country’s national currency exchange rate for the U.S. dollar and for the ruble.

Unless otherwise indicated, multiyear averages of growth rates are expressed as compound annual rates of change.

Classification of Countries

Summary of the Country Classification

The country classification in the World Economic Outlook divides the world into three major groups: advanced economies, developing countries, and countries in transition.3 Rather than being based on strict criteria, economic or otherwise, this classification has evolved over time with the objective of facilitating analysis by providing a reasonably meaningful organization of data. A few countries are presently not included in these groups, either because they are not IMF members, and their economies are not monitored by the IMF, or because databases have not yet been compiled. Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are examples of countries that are not IMF members, whereas San Marino, among the advanced economies, and Brunei Darussalam, among the developing countries, are examples of economies for which databases have not been completed. It should also be noted that, owing to lack of data, only three of the former republics of the dissolved Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Slovenia) are included in the group composites for countries in transition.

Each of the three main country groups is further divided into a number of subgroups. Among the advanced economies, the seven largest in terms of GDP, collectively referred to as the major industrial countries, are distinguished as a subgroup, and so are the 15 current members of the European Union and the four newly industrialized Asian economies. The developing countries are classified by region, as well as into a number of analytical and other groups. A regional breakdown is also used for the classification of the countries in transition, Table A provides an overview of these standard groups in the World Economic Outlook, showing the number of countries in each group and the average 1996 shares of groups in aggregate PPP-valued GDP, total exports of goods and services, and population.

Table A.

Classification by World Economic Outlook Groups and Their Shares in Aggregate GDP, Exports of Goods and Services, and Population, 19961.

(In percent Of total for group or world)

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The GDP shares are based on the purchasing-power-parity (PPP) valuation of country GDPs.

General Features and Compositions of Groups in the World Economic Outlook Classification

Advanced Economies

The composition of advanced economies (28 countries) is shown in Table B. The seven largest countries in this group in terms of GDP—the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Canada—constitute the subgroup of major industrial countries, often referred to as the G-7 countries. The current members of the European Union (15 countries) and the newly industrialized Asian economies are also distinguished as subgroups. Composite data shown in the tables under the heading “European Union” cover the current 15 members of the European Union for all years, even though the membership has increased over time.

Table B.

Advanced Economies by Subgroup

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On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was returned to the People’s Republic of China and became a Special Administrative Region of China. In this World Economic Outlook, it is referred to as “Hong Kong, China.”

In 1991 and subsequent years, data for Germany refer to west Germany and the eastern Lander (i.e., the former German Democratic Republic). Before 1991, economic data are not available on a unified basis or in a consistent manner. Hence, in tables featuring data expressed as annual percent change, these apply to west Germany in years up to and including 1991, but to unified Germany from 1992 onward. In general, data on national accounts and domestic economic and financial activity through 1990 cover west Germany only, whereas data for the central government and balance of payments apply to west Germany through June 1990 and to unified Germany thereafter.

Developing Countries

The group of developing countries (127 countries) includes all countries that are not classified as advanced economies or as countries in transition, together with a few dependent territories for which adequate statistics arc available.

The regional breakdowns of developing countries in the World Economic Outlook conform to the IMF’s International Financial Statistics (IFS) classification—Africa. Asia, Europe. Middle East, and Western Hemisphere—with one important exception. Because all of the developing countries in Europe except Cyprus, Malta, and Turkey are included in the group of countries in transition, the World Economic Outlook classification places these three countries in a combined Middle East and Europe region. It should also be noted that in both classifications, Egypt and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya are included in this region, not in Africa. Three additional regional groupings—two of them constituting part of Africa and one a subgroup of Asia—are included in the World Economic Outlook because of their analytical significance. These are sub-Sahara, sub-Sahara excluding Nigeria and South Africa, and Asia excluding China and India.

The developing countries are also classified according to analytical criteria and into other groups. The analytical criteria reflect countries’ composition of export earnings and other income from abroad, a distinction between net creditor and net debtor countries, and, for the net debtor countries, financial criteria based on external financing source and experience with external debt servicing. Included as “other groups” are currently the heavily indebted poor countries, the least developed countries, and Middle East and north Africa. The detailed composition of developing countries in the regional, analytical, and other groups is shown in Tables C through E.

Table C.

Developing Countries by Region and Main Source of Export Earnings

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The first analytical criterion, by source of export earnings, distinguishes among five categories: fuel (Standard International Trade Classification—SITC 3); manufactures (SITC 5 to 9, less 68); nonfuel primary products (SITC 0, 1, 2, 4, and 68); services, income, and private transfers (exporters of services and recipients of income from abroad, including workers’ remittances); and diversified export earnings. Countries whose 1990–93 export earnings in any of the first four of these categories accounted for more than half of total export earnings are allocated to that group, while countries whose export earnings were not dominated by any one of these categories, are classified as countries with diversified export earnings (see Table C for listing of countries).

The financial criteria first distinguish between net creditor and net debtor countries. Net creditor countries are defined as developing countries with positive net external assets at the end of I995.4 Countries in the much larger net debtor group are differentiated on the basis of two additional financial criteria: by main source of external financing and by experience with debt servicing during the 1992–96 period.5

Within the classification main source of external financing, three subgroups, based on country estimates of the composition of external financing, are identified: countries relying largely on official financing, countries relying largely on private financing, and countries with diversified financing source. Net debtor countries arc allocated to the first two of these subgroups according to whether their official financing, including official grants, or their private financing, including direct and portfolio investment, accounted for more than two-thirds of their total 1991–95 external financing. Countries that do not meet either of these two criteria are classified as countries with diversified financing source (see Table D for listing of countries).

Table D.

Developing Countries by Region and Main External Financing Source

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The other groups of developing countries (listed in Table E) constitute the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs), the least developed countries, and countries in the Middle East and north Africa (MENA). The first group comprises 40 of the countries (all except Nigeria) considered by the IMF and the World Bank for their debt initiative, known as the HIPC Initiative.6 The group of least developed countries comprises 46 of the 47 developing countries classified as “least developed” by the United Nations (Tuvalu, not being a Fund member, is excluded). Finally, Middle East and north Africa, also referred to as the “MENA countries” is a new World Economic Outlook group, whose composition straddles the Africa and Middle East and Europe regions. It is defined as the Arab League countries plus the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Table E.

Other Developing Country Croups

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Countries in Transition

The group of countries in transition (28 countries) comprises central and eastern European countries (including the Baltic countries), Russia, the other states of the former Soviet Union, and Mongolia. The transition country group is divided into three regional subgroups: central and eastern Europe. Russia, and Transcaucasus and central Asia. The detailed country composition is shown in Table F.

Table F.

Countries in Transition by Region

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One common characteristic of these countries is the transitional state of their economies from a centrally administered system to one based on market principles. Another is that this transition involves the transformation of sizable industrial sectors whose capital stocks have proven largely obsolete. Although several other countries are also “in transition” from partially command-based economic systems toward market-based systems (including China. Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Vietnam, and a number of African countries), most of these are largely rural, low-income economies for whom the principal challenge is one of economic development. These countries are therefore classified in the developing country group rather than in the group of countries in transition.

List of Tables

Medium-Term Baseline Scenario

Table A1.

Summary of World Output1

(Annual percent change)

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Real GDP.

Table A2.

Advanced Economies: Real GDP and Total Domestic Demand

(Annual percent change)

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From fourth quarter of preceding year.

Data through 1991 apply to west Germany only.

Average of expenditure, income, and output estimates of GDP at market prices.

Based on revised national accounts for 1988 onward.