In 1989, the five Maghreb countries—Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia—established the Arab Maghreb Union to promote cooperation and economic integration. Thirty years later, there is still a largely untapped potential for regional trade among Maghreb countries. (more…)
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By Tao Zhang
March 22, 2018
Versions in Português (Portuguese)
Government debt in some of the world’s poorest countries is rising to risky levels, a new IMF report shows. The report looks at economic developments and prospects among the world’s low-income countries, which account for a fifth of the world’s population but only four percent of global output. (more…)
Seventy percent of the world’s poorest people live in countries rich in oil, natural gas or minerals, making effective taxation of these extractive industries critical to alleviating poverty and achieving sustained growth. But national borders make that task much harder, opening possibilities for tax avoidance by multinationals and raising tough jurisdictional issues when resource deposits cross frontiers. (more…)
(Version in Español)
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” With these words Charles Dickens opens his novel “A Tale of Two Cities”. Winners and losers in a “tale of two commodities” may one day look back with similar reflections, as prices of metals and oil have seen some seismic shifts in recent weeks, months and years.
This blog seeks to explain how demand — but also supply and financial market conditions — are affecting metals prices. We will show some contrast with oil, where supply is the major factor. Stay tuned for a deeper analysis of the trends in a special commodities feature, which will be included in next month’s World Economic Outlook.
US$5.3 trillion; 6½ percent of global GDP—that is our latest reckoning of the cost of energy subsidies in 2015. These estimates are shocking. The figure likely exceeds government health spending across the world, estimated by the World Health Organization at 6 percent of global GDP, but for the different year of 2013. They correspond to one of the largest negative externality ever estimated. They have global relevance. And that’s not all: earlier work by the IMF also shows that these subsidies have adverse effects on economic efficiency, growth, and inequality.
What are energy subsidies
We define energy subsidies as the difference between what consumers pay for energy and its “true costs,” plus a country’s normal value added or sales tax rate. These “true costs” of energy consumption include its supply costs and the damage that energy consumption inflicts on people and the environment. These damages, in turn, come from carbon emissions and hence global warming; the health effects of air pollution; and the effects on traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and road damage. Most of these externalities are borne by local populations, with the global warming component of energy subsidies only a fourth of the total (Chart 1).
Zeine Zeidane, a national of Mauritania, is Assistant Director in the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department. He was previously an advisor in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, leading the work on the United Arab Emirates, as well as on Islamic Finance. He also served as mission chief for Algeria. Before joining the IMF in March 2012, he held several positions in Mauritania, notably as Prime Minister, Governor of the Central Bank, and Economic Advisor to the President. He has also worked with the World Bank and the banking sector. Mr. Zeidane holds a PhD in Applied Mathematics and a Post-graduate Degree in Macroeconomics from the University of Nice, France.