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Mr. Nooman Rebei and Rashid Sbia
This paper documents the determinants of real oil price in the global market based on SVAR model embedding transitory and permanent shocks on oil demand and supply as well as speculative disturbances. We find evidence of significant differences in the propagation mechanisms of transitory versus permanent shocks, pointing to the importance of disentangling their distinct effects. Permanent supply disruptions turn out to be a bigger factor in historical oil price movements during the most recent decades, while speculative shocks became less influential.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper investigates the reasons for the growth pickup in Paraguay and explores the potential for sustainable future growth. It shows that the growth acceleration over the past 15 years is the combined result of a few factors: a bounce back from the crisis in the late 1990s and the subpar growth of the two decades prior; a benevolent external environment, the commodity price boom in particular; and the improved macroeconomic stability. Also in terms of its composition, growth in the past has largely been extensive, mostly coming from capital deepening and increasing labor inputs, rather than productivity increase, though total factor productivity growth has played a bigger role in the most recent years. Despite strong growth in recent years, like most of the Latin America, seen over a longer period, Paraguay has not attained significant economic convergence with advanced economies. Empirical data shows a strong linkage between the GDP per capita of a country and its score in a composite structural indicator such as the World Competitiveness Index, which Paraguay ranked poorly on. Identifying and correcting Paraguay’s structural deficiencies that may be hampering productivity growth and capital accumulation will be crucial for sustainable growth.
Mr. James P Walsh and Jiangyan Yu
There is an extensive literature noting that high inflation can add to income inequality, and a parallel literature assessing the effect of rising food prices on the poor. This paper attempts to combine these strands by dividing inflation into food and nonfood inflation and assessing whether food inflation affects income inequality differently from nonfood inflation. In an international sample and a sample of Chinese provinces, nonfood inflation exacerbates income inequality while the role of food inflation is more mixed. In a sample of Indian states broken down into urban and rural areas, we find that nonfood inflation adds to income inequality in both areas, while food inflation has a neutral to positive effect on income inequality in rural areas, providing support for the theory that rural wages may respond elastically to food prices.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

A pesar del reciente deterioro del entorno económico mundial, las proyecciones para la región indican tan solo un debilitamiento moderado de las perspectivas. Sin embargo, en la edición de octubre de 2011 de Perspectivas económicas: Las Américas, el Departamento del Hemisferio Occidental advierte que los riesgos a la baja son severos. Una fuerte desaceleración en Asia, provocada, por ejemplo en respuesta a una recesión en las economías avanzadas, podría afectar a los precios de las materias primas, lo que tendría efectos negativos en los países exportadores de materias primas de América Latina. Dado que la política monetaria a nivel mundial probablemente seguirá siendo laxa, los flujos de capitales podrían exacerbar el sobrecalentamiento y agudizar las vulnerabilidades en los mercados emergentes. Las perspectivas para los países que mantienen fuertes vínculos con Estados Unidos a través de la economía real son un poco menos alentadoras. Estos países deberían dar prioridad a la reducción de la deuda pública. Si bien gran parte de la región del Caribe se está recuperando de una recesión prolongada, las perspectivas siguen estando limitadas por los altos niveles de deuda y los débiles flujos de turismo. En esta edición se señala que las políticas económicas pueden desempeñar un papel importante en mitigar el impacto económico de los shocks a los términos de intercambio y se subraya la necesidad de recomponer los márgenes de maniobra para la aplicación de políticas.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

Despite the recent deterioration in the global economic environment, projections for the region involve only a modest worsening of the outlook. The October 2011 Regional Economic Outlook: Western Hemisphere cautions, however, that there are severe downside risks. A sharp slowdown in Asia, for example in response to a recession in advanced economies, could impact commodity prices, with negative effects on Latin American commodity exporters. With global monetary policy likely to remain accommodative, capital flows could exacerbate overheating and amplify vulnerabilities in emerging markets. Countries with strong real linkages to the United States face a somewhat weaker outlook and should give priority to reducing public debt. Although much of the Caribbean is recovering from a prolonged recession, the outlook remains constrained by high public debt and weak tourism flows. This issue finds that policies can play an important role in mitigating the economic impact of terms-of-trade shocks, and underscores the need to rebuild policy buffers.

International Monetary Fund
The IMF Executive Board’s consideration of Côte d’Ivoire’s request for additional interim assistance under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative is discussed. The 2009 fiscal targets under the program were broadly met, and all but two quantitative performance criteria for end-December 2009 were observed. The performance criterion on the overall fiscal balance was missed by a small margin. Sufficient financing assurances regarding the enhanced HIPC Initiative from other external creditors are in place and represent just over 95 percent of Côte d’Ivoire’s external debt stock at end-2007 terms.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

Para América Latina y el Caribe, la actual turbulencia mundial aparece enmarcada dentro una confluencia de shocks negativos: la paralización del mercado de crédito mundial, el debilitamiento de la demanda externa y el descenso de los precios de las materias primas. Se prevé que la región podrá afrontar los actuales shocks mundiales mejor que en crisis anteriores, gracias a avances en la última década que han permitido apuntalar los fundamentos macroeconómica. Sin embargo, sobre la región aún pesan muchos riesgos adversos. En este contexto de incertidumbre, en el informe se abordan las implicaciones de la crisis financiera mundial para la región y los consiguientes desafíos a los que se enfrentan las autoridades.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The ongoing global turmoil represents a confluence of negative shocks for Latin America and the Caribbean: a freeze in global credit markets, weaker external demand, and lower commodity prices. But the region is expected to deal with these global shocks better than in previous crises, reflecting progress made in improving macroeconomic fundamentals over the past decade. Still, there are a number of downside risks going forward. Against this uncertain background, the report discusses the implications of the global financial crisis for the regional outlook and the corresponding challenges facing policymakers.

Brieuc Monfort
This paper analyses the evolution of Chile's trade between 1990 and 2007, studying in particular the impact of trade liberalization in addition to traditional price and demand determinants. The results show that export and import flows are mainly responsive to external and domestic demand, and less so to relative prices, although there is a small impact on imports. In addition, the analysis suggests that trade liberalization may have played a role in increasing exports and imports. Estimations of trade elasticities for other countries in Latin America tend to confirm the results found for Chile.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The main focus of this report is the outlook for the region in the face of the downturn now projected for the U.S. economy and the continuing risks that affect the global outlook. Overall the region is better placed than in the past to navigate the current financial turbulence, given reduced vulnerabilities and stronger policy frameworks. Nonetheless, the report points to risks that the global financial stress could curtail capital flows to the region and world commodity prices could fall more than expected. There are also risks arising from rising inflation and rapid private credit growth in a number of countries. The report then explores the policy options facing governments in the region, underscoring the need to preserve the gains of recent years