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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This third edition of the Global Monitoring Report examines the commitments and actions of donors, international financial institutions, and developing countries to implement the Millennium Declaration, signed by 189 countries in 2000. Many countries are off track to meet the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in Africa and South Asia, but new evidence is emerging that higher-quality aid and a better policy environment are accelerating progress in some countries, and that the benefits of this progress are reaching poor families. This report takes a closer look at the donors' 2005 commitments to aid and debt relief, and argues that rigorous, sustained monitoring is needed to ensure that they are met and deliver results, and to prevent the cycle of accumulating unsustainable debt from repeating itself. International financial institutions need to focus on development outcomes rather than inputs, and strengthen their capacity to manage for results in developing countries.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This interim update of the IMF's latest regular reports on the World Economic Outlook (published in October 1998) and International Capital Markets (September 1998) provides a preliminary assessment of the unusual turbulence in international financial markets during much of the period August-November 1998, and its implications for the global economic outlook and for policy. 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 gathers through its consultations with member countries. For its eveluation of developments in financial markets, the report also draws, in part, on informal discussions with commercial and investment banks, securities firms, stock and futures exchanges, and regulatory and monetary authorities.

Mr. Robert L. Sharer and Ms. Piritta Sorsa

Abstract

This study asseses trade liberalization in programs supported by the IMF by reviewing multiyear arrangements in the 1990s and six detailed case studies. It also discusses the main economic factors affecting trade policy targets.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This study provides information on official financing for developing countries with the focus on low- and lower-middle-income countries. It updates the 1995 edition and reviews developments in direct financing by official and multilateral sources. Topics of interest include external debt sustainability for heavily indebted poor countries; new official financing flows to developing countries; developments in export credits; financing from multilateral institutions; debt restructuring by official bilateral creditors; plus, numerous appendices.

Mr. Christopher J. Jarvis, Mr. Balázs Horváth, and Mr. Michael G. Kuhn

Abstract

This study discusses the importance of export credits, their recent growth, and the trend toward more extensive reliance by official bilateral creditors on export credits as an instrument of financial support, and raises a number of issues regarding the role and limitations of export credit financing, espeically for economies in transition.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper focuses on the private nonfinancial sectors of the affected economies, financial liberalization provided households and businesses with greater access to credit markets. This contributed to the long period of expansion during the 1980s. Partly as a result of major changes to the financial systems, several industrial countries had a boom in asset markets associated with a period of asset accumulation, an unprecedented buildup of debt, a sharp increase in relative asset prices, and related increases in household wealth. The expansion in household financial activity in the United Kingdom during the 1980s was paralleled by a sizable boom in investment spending and an increase in corporate debt. The structure of balance sheets was also affected by mergers and acquisitions that led to a further expansion in corporate debt. New types of bank loans and accounts have prevented even greater disintermediation but have also reduced net interest margins because more deposits now earn market-related rates of return.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper analyzes the origins of the recent turbulence in government bond markets in the major industrial countries, and considers whether the role of hedge funds in that episode argues for altering present regulatory arrangements. In financial markets, it is possible for such a revision of expectations—if it is shared by all market participants—to alter asset prices almost immediately; indeed, the change in asset prices can occur without any transactions even taking place. In this case, however, trading volumes soared along with the rise in bond yields, as a broad spectrum of market participants sought to undo large positions that had been built up under the projections of a continued rise of European and US bond prices and a strengthening of the dollar against the yen and some European currencies. Although the increase in bond yields was undeniably large for such a short time period, the markets did receive new information in February and March on economic performance—especially on growth rates—and on the likely future course of macroeconomic policies.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper examines the World Economic Outlook forecasting record for the principal performance indicators for the major industrial countries and corresponding aggregates and for groups of non-oil developing countries. Several criteria were used in evaluating the forecasts: the computation and evaluation of various summary statistics of forecast accuracy, bias, and efficiency; comparisons with alternative forecasts—naive forecasts and forecasts produced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and by national forecasting agencies; the examination of turning-point errors and forecast performance in defined episodes; and, finally, some attempt to explain forecast error in terms of unanticipated developments in policy variables and oil prices. In judging the forecast performance of the World Economic Outlook, a number of points must be kept in mind. Most important, it has to be recognized that the period since the inception of the World Economic Outlook as a regular forecasting exercise has been extraordinarily rich in economic upheavals, which have made the odds against accurate forecasting formidable.