Thursday, November 29, 2007

Recently from the Fund

What Explains India's Real Appreciation?
Summary: We examine the evolution of nontradable and tradable prices in the Indian economy over 1980-2002 and find widening differentials: the real exchange rate has been appreciating. This might seem unsurprising, since India's rapid per capita income growth suggests Balassa-Samuelson factors at play. However, after 1990, the tradable-nontradable labor productivity gap, the driver of real appreciation according to Balassa-Samuelson, virtually disappeared. So what explains the real appreciation? Assessing the role of both demand and supply factors, we find that demand pressures arising from higher income growth accounted for much of the relative price increase during the post-reform period. Falling import prices also contributed significantly, along with an increase in government spending.

China's Changing Trade Elasticities
Summary: China's sectoral trade composition, product quality mix, and import content of processing exports have all changed substantially during the past decade. This has rendered trade elasticities estimated using aggregate data highly unstable, with more recent data pointing to significantly higher demand and price elasticities. Sectoral differences in these parameters are also very wide. All this suggests greater caution in using historical data to simulate the response of the China's economy to external shocks and exchange rate changes. Analyses based on models whose estimated coefficients largely reflect the China of the 1980s and 1990s are likely to turn out to be wrong, perhaps even dramatically.

The Optimal Level of Foreign Reserves in Financially Dollarized Economies: The Case of Uruguay
Summary: This paper extends the framework derived by Jeanne and Rancière (2006) by explicitly incorporating the dollarization of bank deposits into the analysis of the optimal level of foreign reserves for prudential purposes. In the extended model, a sudden stop in capital flows occurs in tandem with a run on dollar deposits. Reserves can smooth consumption in a crisis but are costly to carry. The resulting expression for the optimal level of reserves is calibrated for Uruguay, a country with high dollarization of bank deposits. The baseline calibration indicates that the gap between actual and optimal reserves has declined sharply since the 2002 crisis due to a substantial reduction in vulnerabilities. While the results suggest that reserves are now near optimal levels, further accumulation may be desirable going forward, partly because banks' currently high liquidity levels are likely to decline as the credit recovery matures.

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2007 Article IV Consultation with Sri Lanka

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