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Trade and Development Report 1999

Fragile Recovery and Risks - Trade, Finance and Growth

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A valuable resource for those involved in international business and economic development, the Trade and Development Report (TDR) 1999, issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), examines current performance and prospects in the world economy. It offers further reflections on the Asian financial crisis and discusses the euro and the international financial system. The report also examines asymmetries in the international trading and financial systems, which continue to hamper growth prospects in developing countries.

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Capital flows to developing countries

The size, composition and geographical distribution of external capital flows to developing countries have undergone fundamental shifts during the past three decades. Until the early 1970s the most important sources of external financing for developing countries were official loans and aid, the provision of which was based on the recognition that developing countries suffered from resource gaps resulting from their low levels of income and savings and that their ability to fill these gaps through commercial borrowing at market terms was severely limited. Official development assistance (ODA) continued to expand rapidly in the 1970s thanks, in part, to cold war politics. Simultaneously, however, there was also a rapid expansion of private financial flows, primarily in the form of syndicated credits from banks in industrial countries, which served to recycle the surpluses of major oil exporters. This expansion was greatly facilitated by the liberalization of capital markets following the demise of the Bretton Woods system.

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