Economic surveillance is, along with financial assistance and technical assistance, one of the IMF's three key missions. It includes two aspects, multilateral surveillance, i.e. of the global economy, and bilateral surveillance. Consultations under Article IV are the foundation for the latter.
Article IV consultations are thus named in reference to the article of the IMF Articles of Agreement, which requires a review of developments and economic policies in each of the 188 members of the Fund. Such reviews cover a range of subjects viewed as critical – budgetary, financial, exchange rate, monetary and structural – to highlight the risks and vulnerabilities present as well as possible economic policy responses.
These consultations are viewed by the Fund as an economic policy dialogue between itself and the authorities of each country, not as a unilateral evaluation. The mission generally meets with members of the government and the central bank, as well as with other stakeholders such as members of parliament, business leaders and trade union representatives. The IMF team then presents a report to the Executive Board, which proceeds to a final declaration and the conclusion of the mission. A summary of discussions is then communicated to the country authorities.
In 2015 the IMF conducted 131 Article IV consultations. For France, the talks took place in May 2015, the report was communicated on 23 June, and the Executive Board met on 8 July. The report states that an annual evaluation is planned for France, indicating the country's importance to the global economic environment, given that Fund staffing does not enable all IMF members to be evaluated annually.
This annual consultation may be supplemented by an intermediate staff visit, briefer and intended to monitor economic developments more closely. Such staff visits took place in November 2015, as previously in October 2014.
Updated on: 12/01/2016 12:07