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Mr. Nadeem Ilahi, Mrs. Armine Khachatryan, William Lindquist, Ms. Nhu Nguyen, Ms. Faezeh Raei, and Jesmin Rahman
In the past 25 years, exports have contributed strongly to growth and economic convergence in many small open economies. However, the Western Balkan (WB) region, consisting of small emerging market economies, has not fully availed itself of this driver of growth and convergence. A lack of openness, reliance on low value products, and weak competitiveness largely explain the insignificant role of trade and exports in the region’s economic performance. This paper focuses on how the countries in the WB could lift exports through stronger integration with global value chains (GVCs) and broadening of services exports. The experience of countries that joined the European Union in or after 2004 shows that participation in GVCs can help small economies accelerate export and income growth. WB countries are not well integrated into Europe’s vibrant GVCs. Trade within the region is also limited—it tends to be bilateral and not cluster-like. Our analysis shows that by improving infrastructure and labor skills and adopting trade policies that ensure investor protection and harmonize regulations and legal provisions, the region can greatly enhance its engagement with GVCs. Services exports are an increasingly important part of global trade, and they offer an untapped source of growth. The magnitude of services exports from the WB region compares favorably with that of peers in Europe, particularly in travel services where several of these countries have a revealed comparative advantage. But there is significant room for growth in tourism exports and an untapped potential in business and information technology services exports that these countries can materialize through policy efforts that increase openness and enhance connectivity and labor skills. Serbia offers a good example of how decisive efforts, including education policies to ensure a sustained supply of skilled labor, can help information technology services exports to take off.
Mr. Mario de Zamaroczy, Mr. Vincent Fleuriet, and Mr. Jose G Gijon
This paper discusses possible reserve management approaches in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The paper looks beyond the region’s current oil crisis and proposes a new approach to international reserve management in the medium term.
Mr. Mario de Zamaroczy, Mr. Vincent Fleuriet, and Mr. Jose G Gijon
This paper discusses possible reserve management approaches in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The paper looks beyond the region’s current oil crisis and proposes a new approach to international reserve management in the medium term.
Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Wenjie Chen, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Herve Joly, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper assesses the extent of economic and financial integration among the East African Community (EAC) along a number of dimensions and, where possible, whether integration has increased in the wake of the major regional integration policy milestones.
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Geoff Gottlieb, Mr. Gee Hee Hong, Sung Eun Jung, Jochen M. Schmittmann, and Jiangyan Yu
China’s trade patterns are evolving. While it started in light manufacturing and the assembly of more sophisticated products as part of global supply chains, China is now moving up the value chain, “onshoring” the production of higher-value-added upstream products and moving into more sophisticated downstream products as well. At the same time, with its wages rising, it has started to exit some lower-end, more labor-intensive sectors. These changes are taking place in the broader context of China’s rebalancing—away from exports and toward domestic demand, and within the latter, away from investment and toward consumption—and as a consequence, demand for some commodity imports is slowing, while consumption imports are slowly rising. The evolution of Chinese trade, investment, and consumption patterns offers opportunities and challenges to low-wage, low-income countries, including China’s neighbors in the Mekong region. Cambodia, Lao P.D.R., Myanmar, and Vietnam (the CLMV) are all open economies that are highly integrated with China. Rebalancing in China may mean less of a role for commodity exports from the region, but at the same time, the CLMV’s low labor costs suggest that manufacturing assembly for export could take off as China becomes less competitive, and as China itself demands more consumption items. Labor costs, however, are only part of the story. The CLMV will need to strengthen their infrastructure, education, governance, and trade regimes, and also run sound macro policies in order to capitalize fully on the opportunities presented by China’s transformation. With such policy efforts, the CLMV could see their trade and integration with global supply chains grow dramatically in the coming years.
Olivier Basdevant, Mr. Andrew W Jonelis, Miss Borislava Mircheva, and Mr. Slavi T Slavov
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the economies of South Africa and its neighbors (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) are tightly integrated with each other. There are important institutional linkages. Across the region there are also large flows of goods and capital, significant financial sector interconnections, as well as sizeable labor movements and associated remittance flows. These interconnections suggest that South Africa’s GDP growth rate should affect positively its neighbors’, a point we illustrate formally with the help of numerical simulations of the IMF’s GIMF model. However, our review and update of the available econometric evidence suggest that there is no strong evidence of real spillovers in the region after 1994, once global shocks are controlled for. More generally, we find no evidence of real spillovers from South Africa to the rest of the continent post-1994. We investigate the possible reasons for this lack of spillovers. Most importantly, the economies of South Africa and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa might have de-coupled in the mid-1990s. That is when international sanctions on South Africa ended and the country re-integrated with the global economy, while growth in the rest of the continent accelerated due to a combination of domestic and external factors.
Nagwa Riad, Mr. Luca Errico, Christian Henn, Christian Saborowski, Mika Saito, and Mr. Jarkko Turunen
Changing Patterns of Global Trade outlines the factors underlying important shifts in global trade that have occurred in recent decades. The emergence of global supply chains and their increasing role in trade patterns allowed emerging market economies to boost their inputs in high-technology exports and is associated with increased trade interconnectedness.The analysis points to one important trend taking place over the last decade: the emergence of China as a major systemically important trading hub, reflecting not only the size of trade but also the increase in number of its significant trading partners.