Mr. Mark A Horton, Hossein Samiei, Mr. Natan P. Epstein, and Mr. Kevin Ross
Since late 2014, exchange rates (ERs) and ER regimes of the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries have come under strong pressure. This reflects the decline of oil and other commodity prices, weaker growth in Russia and China, depreciation of the Russian ruble, and appreciation of the U.S. dollar, to which CCA currencies have historically been linked. Weaker fiscal and current account balances and increased dollarization have complicated the picture. CCA countries entered this period with closely managed ER regimes and, in many cases, currencies assessed by IMF staff to be overvalued. CCA central banks have price stability as their main policy objective, and most have relied on ER stability to achieve this objective. Thus, the first policy response involved intervention in local foreign exchange (FX) markets, often with limited communication. In this context, the IMF staff has reviewed ER policy advice and implementation strategies for CCA countries.
This Selected Issues paper investigates the economic importance of institutions in Ukraine, and attempts to quantify the potential benefits of market-friendly structural reforms. The paper reviews some of the key findings of the development-accounting literature, which has tried to explain the significant differences in income that persist across countries. It introduces the stochastic-frontier approach, outlining its key assumptions and strengths, and results obtained with the stochastic-frontier model. The implications of the results for the specific case of Ukraine are discussed. The paper also analyzes external risks and opportunities for Ukraine.
The International Monetary and Finance Committee at its 2004 Annual Meetings called on the international community to provide assistance including “further debt relief” to low-income countries for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It reaffirmed the Fund’s “important role” in supporting lowincome countries and called on the Fund to consider “further debt relief and its financing.” More impetus for this request was provided by various recent proposals (summarized in Annex I). At their meeting in London in February, G7 Finance Ministers expressed their willingness to provide as much as 100 percent multilateral debt relief.
Drawing on recent examples of corruption in the Baltics and former Soviet Union, this pamphlet analyzes the links between governance and corruption, and emphasizes the high economic cost that corruption exacts. The pamphlet outlines how the IMF is working with the countries of the former Soviet Union to curb corruption, and put in place the regulatory and legal changes needed to support good government.
Ms. Nada Mora, Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, and Mr. Pietro Garibaldi
Between 1991 and 1999, capital flows to 25 transition economies in Europe and the former Soviet Union differed widely in terms of overall levels and the share and composition of private flows. With some exceptions (notably Russia), the main form of private inflows was foreign direct investment. Portfolio investment was volatile and concentrated in a handful of countries. Regressions show that direct investment can be well explained in terms of economic fundamentals, whereas the presence of a financial market infrastructure and a property-rights indicator are the only explanatory variables that seem to have had a robust effect on portfolio investment.
Georgia's medium-term economic goals are to reestablish fiscal and external sustainability and reduce poverty. The conduct of monetary policy has remained sound. Fiscal consolidation has been supported by important measures to strengthen public expenditure management and improve fiscal transparency. Measures to combat corruption, restructure the energy sector, and privatize key enterprises must be accelerated in order to underpin faster growth and poverty reduction. Georgia's efforts to restore its solvency will require continued international support, including further concessional lending and external debt rescheduling.
This paper examines how institutional conditions in transition economies compare with those in the rest of the world using various indicators of governance. The focus is on the countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union but, when possible, transition countries, in Asia and Africa are also considered. The main findings are that transition economies, as a group, are no longer distinguishable from other economies, but at the same time, there are large differences in institutional performance within the group of transition economies. A formal cluster analysis is conducted in order to map transition economies into homogeneous groupings of countries. The results of this analysis highlight that transition economies are found at all clusters (from best to worst institutional performers) and also that a group of five countries, all of which are EU accession countries, appear to have “graduated”: when taking into account their level of income, their institutional conditions are no longer distinguishable from those in the most advanced industrialized countries.
The centerpiece of the program is fiscal consolidation, to put Georgia on a path to fiscal sustainability, establish the ability of the government to meet its commitments, and underpin efforts to resolve the large external debt burden. Expenditure restraint should be complemented by reforms to increase fiscal transparency and strengthen expenditure monitoring and control. Maintaining low inflation and a stable exchange rate is required. Combating corruption and improving governance will be the key to attracting the investment needed to ensure strong, sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
Recent studies have highlighted the adverse impact of corruption on economic performance. This paper advances the hypothesis that corruption is largely a symptom of underlying weaknesses in public policies and institutions, a formulation that provides deeper insights into economic performance than do measures of “perceived corruption.” The hypothesis is tested by assessing the relative importance of structural reforms vs. corruption in explaining macroeconomic performance in the transition economies. The paper finds that for four widely used measures of economic performance—growth, inflation, the fiscal balance, and foreign direct investment—structural reforms tend to dominate the corruption variable.