Ms. Lisa Drakes, Ms. Chrystol Thomas, Roland Craigwell, and Kevin Greenidge
This paper addresses the issue of threshold effects between public debt and economic growth in the Caribbean. The main finding is that there exists a threshold debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio of 55–56 percent. Moreover, the debt dynamics begin changing well before this threshold is reached. Specifically, at debt levels lower than 30 percent of GDP, increases in the debt-to-GDP ratio are associated with faster economic growth. However, as debt rises beyond 30 percent, the effects on economic growth diminishes rapidly and at debt levels reaching 55-56 percent of GDP, the growth impacts switch from positive to negative. Thus, beyond this threshold, debt becomes a drag on growth.
The key findings of Suriname’s 2008 Article IV Consultation show that a narrow economic base, terms-of-trade swings, and a weak policy/institutional framework have in the past led to macroeconomic instability. Weak policy and institutional frameworks have contributed to higher economic volatility and lower growth than in other commodity-exporting countries. These have undermined the credibility of policies and contributed to high financial dollarization, with over half of deposits denominated in foreign currency. Aided by high commodity prices and improved confidence, GDP growth is estimated at 5½ percent, with strong performance in both the mineral and nonmineral sectors.
Suriname’s 2005 Article IV Consultation reports that economic activity has strengthened reflecting increased mining output and investment. The principal short-term challenge for Suriname is to maintain disciplined fiscal and monetary policies, especially to contain the inflation impact of the increase in domestic fuel prices. Over the medium term, the priority will be to entrench a consistent macroeconomic policy framework and advance critical public sector reforms to minimize the vulnerability to exogenous shocks and improve the competitiveness of nonmining sectors.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.