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International Monetary Fund
This staff report discusses Israel’s 2009 Article IV Consultation on economic developments and policies. The economy has been shielded from the global downturn by the absence of prior housing or bank credit booms, high household savings rates, and the fact that investment goods and consumer durables are mostly imported from abroad. Safe-haven factors that have put upward pressure on the currency appear to have eased along with the global financial sector stabilization, and concerns about the excessive strength of the shekel have not entirely been put to rest.
Mr. John Cady
Does macroeconomic data transparency-as signaled by subscription to the IMF's Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS)-help reduce borrowing costs in private capital markets? This question is examined using detailed data on new issues of sovereign foreign currency-denominated (U.S. dollar, yen, and euro) bonds for several emerging market economies. Panel econometric estimates indicate that spreads on new bond issues declined by about 75 basis points following SDDS subscription.
Mr. David A. Grigorian
In recent years, the number of countries which have borrowed in international capital markets by issuing sovereign bonds has increased substantially. For these countries, capital market access meant a de facto acknowledgement of their policy successes and improvements in their creditworthiness that enabled them to graduate from the group of official financing recipients into a more advanced group of emerging market economies. The paper looks at the determinants of sovereign bond issuances and derives the relationship between internal and external factors and market access using a simple macro model. The market access condition is then translated into a simple rule that requires an excess demand for the sovereign bonds in question. Regression results based on this model offer some insights into peculiarities of first-time sovereign bond issues that could be used in policy deliberations.
Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, Mr. Olumuyiwa S Adedeji, and Lamin Njie
What determines the ability of low-income developing countries to issue bonds in international capital and what explains the spreads on these bonds? This paper examines these questions using a dataset that includes emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) that issued sovereign bonds at least once during the period 1995-2013 as well as those that did not. We find that an EMDE is more likely to issue a bond when, in comparison with non-issuing peers, it is larger in economic size, has higher per capita GDP, and has stronger macroeconomic fundamentals and government. Spreads on sovereign bonds are lower for countries with strong external and fiscal positions, as well as robust economic growth and government effectiveness. With regard to global factors, the results show that sovereign bond spreads are reduced in periods of lower market volatility.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Latvia entered the euro area in January 2014 with the fastest rate of growth in Europe. The 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that a slowdown in investment and exports was partly compensated by robust consumption demand, supported by rising real wages, bringing GDP growth in 2013 to 4.1 percent. Strong job creation reduced the unemployment rate to 11.3 percent by end-2013, close to its structural level. Consumer price inflation fell to an average of about zero in 2013, mainly owing to weakening energy prices. The 2013 general government deficit outturn of 1.0 percent of GDP was below the target of 1.4 percent.
Mr. Mauro Mecagni, Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Cheikh A. Gueye, Mr. Yibin Mu, Mr. Masafumi Yabara, and Mr. Sebastian Weber
This African Department Paper examines the rise in international sovereign bonds issued by African frontier economies and recommends policies for potential first-time issuers.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following is the text of the communiqué issued by the finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 10 on September 21.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper describes the importance of luck, timing, and political institutions in beating inflation. The paper highlights that countries experiencing high inflation typically make several disinflation attempts, some of which succeed only temporarily. If a country trying to stabilize prices and wages is unlucky enough to be exposed to severe external shocks—for example, a decline in demand for its exports—during its disinflation, the likelihood of failure is increased. A shock such as an increase in U.S. interest rates makes failure more likely for a country with an open capital account.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following is the text of the communiqué issued by the Group of 10 at the conclusion of its meeting in Washington, D.C., on October 3.

International Monetary Fund

The staff report for the 2010 Article IV Consultation underlies that in recent years, Mongolia’s economy has performed quite well. The inflation pressures reflected a relaxation of monetary and fiscal policies and large increases in prices for food and fuel. The debt service burden and international reserves are expected to remain at comfortable levels. Executive Directors welcomed the authorities’ purpose to review plans for the establishment of a development bank, taking account of the know-how elsewhere so as to avoid creating unfair competition in the financial sector.