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Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, Mr. Karl F Habermeier, Mr. Marcos d Chamon, Miss Mahvash S Qureshi, and Dennis B. S. Reinhardt
With the global economy beginning to emerge from the financial crisis, capital is flowing back to emerging market countries (EMEs). These flows, and capital mobility more generally, allow countries with limited savings to attract financing for productive investment projects, foster the diversification of investment risk, promote intertemporal trade, and contribute to the development of financial markets. In this sense, the benefits from a free flow of capital across borders are similar to the benefits from free trade (see Reaping the Benefits of Financial Globalization, IMF Occasional Paper 264, 2008), and imposing restrictions on capital mobility means foregoing, at least in part, these benefits, owing to the distortions and resource misallocation that controls give rise to (see Edwards and Ostry, 1992, for an example of how capital controls interact with other distortions in the economy).
Mr. Gian M Milesi-Ferretti and Mr. Olivier J Blanchard
This chapter analyses various reasons for global imbalances and ways to tackle these issues. Current account balances reflect a plethora of macroeconomic and financial mechanisms. The overall assessment is that the pre-crisis policy advice and the conclusions from the Multilateral Consultations still largely hold. Namely, it is important to address domestic and systemic distortions. It is recommended to increase private and public US saving. The private part has largely taken place. The public part will have to take place over time. This will be good for the United States and help global rebalancing. In the fallout from the financial crisis, the adjustment process of global imbalances has started. However, stopping in midstream is dangerous—while imbalances are smaller than they used to be, the world economy is fragile. Failure to act on the remaining domestic and systemic distortions that caused imbalances would threaten the nascent recovery.
Mr. Robert M Burgess
This paper discusses initial performance of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Macroeconomic Convergence Program. The SADC’s regional economic integration agenda includes a macroeconomic convergence program, intended to achieve and maintain macroeconomic stability in the region, thereby contributing to faster economic growth and laying the basis for eventual monetary union. As macroeconomic performance in the SADC region has improved in recent years, most countries are making progress toward, and in many cases exceeding, the convergence criteria. Most SADC member states have recorded solid macroeconomic performance in recent years, in general coming close too, and in many cases surpassing, the convergence targets specified for 2008. A notable exception in this regard is Zimbabwe, which was in the grip of hyperinflation. The macroeconomic targets for later years are ambitious and, in some cases, warrant further evaluation, given that achieving the targets may be neither necessary nor enough to achieve good macroeconomic results.
Mr. Johannes Mueller, Irene Yackovlev, and Hans Weisfeld
Most WAEMU countries are likely to see economic growth deteriorate over the next two years as a result of the global economic crisis, and some WAEMU countries will be more severely affected by the crisis than others. This could have a detrimental effect on efforts to reduce poverty. Deteriorating remittances and commodity export prices are projected to negatively affect the WAEMU countries’ external current account deficit and reserves, although the impact should be cushioned by positive terms-of-trade shocks, such as declining import prices for food and fuel products. These developments should also help lower inflation pressures, bringing WAEMU inflation closer to its historical level of about 2 percent by 2010.