This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that during the first four years of the Third Five-Year Development Plan (2000/01–2003/04), Iran’s real GDP grew by 5.6 percent on average. The external current account was in surplus, external debt was reduced to a very low level, international reserves increased, and the unemployment rate declined. Real GDP grew by 6.7 percent in 2003/04, with strong contribution from both the oil and non-oil sectors. The unemployment rate declined to 11.2 percent from 14.1 percent in 2000/01.
Domestic demand continued to grow at rapid rates, despite corrective fiscal and monetary policy measures. Although trade and financial sector reforms advanced and foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations were liberalized, there was less progress in improving the business environment, reducing labor market rigidities, and restructuring and privatizing public enterprises. IMF staff stressed the need for further advances in trade liberalization, improved fiscal management, financial system restructuring, labor market reform, privatization, and elimination of subsidies. The managed float exchange regime remains appropriate for Iran.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
The Islamic Republic of Iran inherited a highly centralized economy. The state-owned enterprises had monopolies over large sectors of the economy, including the financial system. This was compounded by Iran's excessive dependence on the volatile oil exports. Iran's five-year development plan aims at accelerating growth to create sufficient employment opportunities for a rapidly expanding labor force. De-monopolizing the economy, liberalizing trade, promoting private investment, strengthening the financial system, and improving the fiscal and monetary policy settings is required.
This paper reviews economic developments in Turkmenistan during 1994–98. Turkmenistan reduced gas exports and suffered a decline in real GDP of close to 40 percent during 1993–95. At the same time, it stepped up foreign borrowing and constrained imports by limiting access to foreign exchange to sustain gross international reserves at the equivalent of 6–9 months of imports. The distortions associated with the perpetuation of central controls, coupled with an accommodating monetary policy, led to financial instability, raising annual average inflation rates to close to 1,500 percent during 1993–95.
This paper describes economic developments in the Republic of Armenia during 1990s. The lagged effects of the more expansionary stance of late 1996, combined with real shocks in early 1997, especially poor weather, and a loss in the momentum in structural reform, particularly privatization, led to a slowdown in growth to about 3 percent during the first nine months of 1997 compared with the same period in 1996. Inflation, measured by the 12-month increase in consumer prices, rose to 23 percent by end-September 1997 from 16½ percent a year earlier.
This paper reviews economic developments in Turkmenistan during 1994–97. To address the growing economic difficulties, the government announced an economic reform package for 1996, which aimed at achieving a recovery in output, sharply lowering inflation, maintaining a strong reserve position, and promoting private sector development. The reform package had mixed success. Monetary and credit policy was generally restrained until late 1996, contributing to a moderation in inflation. However, economy-wide public sector wages were doubled in October, against a background of continued payment difficulties in the gas sector and a decline in GDP.
International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department
The speeches made by officials attending the IMF–World Bank Annual Meetings are published in this volume, along with the press communiqués issued by the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee at the conclusion of the meetings.
This publication begins a new series, Occassional papers, designed to fill a gap in the range of publications of the IMF. Occasional Papers will not be on a particular theme but will contain studies on a variety of economic and financial subjects of importance to the work of the Fund, such as overall developments in national economies, the behavior of international capital markets, and problems related to the functioning of the international monetary system.