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Carine Meyimdjui and Jean-Louis Combes
This paper studies whether fiscal policy plays a stabilizing role in the context of import food price shocks. More precisely, the paper assesses whether fiscal policy dampens the adverse effect of import food price shocks on household consumption. Based on a panel of 70 low and middle-income countries over the period 1980-2012, the paper finds that import price shocks negatively and significantly affect household consumption, but this effect appears to be mitigated by discretionary government consumption, notably through government subsidies and transfers. The results are particularly robust for African countries and countries with less flexible exchange rate regimes.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and João Tovar Jalles
Climate change poses an existential threat to the global economy. While there is a growing body of literature on the economic consequences of climate change, research on the link between climate change and sovereign default risk is nonexistent. We aim to fill this gap in the literature by estimating the impact of climate change vulnerability and resilience on the probability of sovereign debt default. Using a sample of 116 countries over the period 1995–2017, we find that climate change vulnerability and resilience have significant effects on the probability of sovereign debt default, especially among low-income countries. That is, countries with greater vulnerability to climate change face a higher likelihood of debt default compared to more climate resilient countries. These findings remain robust to a battery of sensitivity checks, including alternative measures of sovereign debt default, model specifications, and estimation methodologies.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper discusses measures to enhance resilience to climate and natural disasters in Seychelles. Rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns, increasingly intense and frequent tropical cyclones, and massive coral bleaching are compounding economic and social risks in Seychelles. A policy mix focused on combining adaptation and mitigation strategies is ideal for Seychelles. Such policies should not only be aligned with Seychelles’ Nationally Determined Contribution, but also with the technical and financial capacity of the government. Experience from other small states suggests that small policy changes can still have a significant impact. To the extent adaptation and mitigation measures are inadequate, insurance policies and innovative financial instruments need to be exploited further.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Le taux de croissance économique de l’Afrique subsaharienne devrait descendre cette année à son plus bas niveau depuis plus de vingt ans, en raison d’un environnement extérieur moins porteur et d’une réaction insuffisante de la part des pouvoirs publics. Globalement, la région connaît en fait une croissance économique à deux vitesses : tandis que la plupart des pays peu tributaires des exportations de ressources naturelles — la moitié des pays de la région — continuent d’enregistrer de bons résultats, car ils bénéficient de la diminution de leur facture pétrolière, de l’amélioration du climat des affaires et de la poursuite des investissements d’infrastructure, la plupart des pays exportateurs de produits de base subissent de graves tensions économiques. C’est le cas en particulier des pays exportateurs de pétrole, dont les perspectives à court terme se sont nettement dégradées ces derniers mois. L’Afrique subsaharienne reste néanmoins une région dont le potentiel économique est immense, mais un ajustement des politiques publiques s’impose d’urgence dans les pays les plus touchés pour permettre un rebond de la croissance.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa this year is set to drop to its lowest level in more than 20 years, reflecting the adverse external environment, and a lackluster policy response in many countries. However, the aggregate picture is one of multispeed growth: while most of non-resource-intensive countries—half of the countries in the region—continue to perform well, as they benefit from lower oil prices, an improved business environment, and continued strong infrastructure investment, most commodity exporters are under severe economic strains. This is particularly the case for oil exporters whose near-term prospects have worsened significantly in recent months. Sub-Saharan Africa remains a region of immense economic potential, but policy adjustment in the hardest-hit countries needs to be enacted promptly to allow for a growth rebound.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes fiscal multipliers in Mexico. Estimates of fiscal multipliers––obtained from state-level spending––fall within 0.6–0.7 after accounting for dynamic effects. However, the size of multipliers varies with the output gap. The planned fiscal consolidation—under the estimated multipliers—is projected to subtract on average 0.5 percentage points from growth over 2015–20. However, there are offsetting effects. The positive growth impulse of lower costs on manufactured goods production is estimated to reach 0.5 percentage point in 2015 and 2016, largely offsetting the impact of fiscal consolidation on growth in the near term.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews the macroeconomic characteristics and performance of small states and discusses ways in which the Fund’s engagement with these countries could be better tailored to meet their needs. The Fund previously examined small states issues in 2000, informed by a Joint Task Force Report of the Commonwealth Secretariat (CS) and World Bank. Small states continue to face many of the same challenges they did then, and the 2000 Small States Report remains the foundation for much of the work in this area, both inside and outside the Fund. However, the relative macroeconomic performance of small states has deteriorated since the late 1990s, and a fresh look is warranted.
International Monetary Fund
This consultation paper explains that in addition to the adverse impact of the global slowdown and higher commodity prices, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been hit by two successive natural disasters in the last 12 months. As a result, real GDP has been contracted by a cumulative 4.7 percent since 2007 and is expected to remain slightly negative this year. Growth is expected to improve gradually toward its potential, but significant downside risks remain, largely related to developments in the global economy.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Climate Change: Stimulating a Green Recovery” looks at the global problem of climate change. With the world apparently on an economic recovery path, policymakers are looking at ways to limit the impact of climate change through broad international action. One of the challenges is to balance actions to mitigate climate change with measures to stimulate growth and prosperity. This issue of F&D also examines a variety of issues raised by the crisis—including the future of macroeconomics, explored by William White, former chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements, and the longer-term impact of the crisis on the United States, the world’s largest economy. Our “People in Economics” profile spotlights Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Laureate who “can’t get any respect at home.” We also look at the need for rebalancing growth in Asia, which is leading the world out of recession, and we interview five influential Asians on the region’s fragile rebound. We turn our “Straight Talk” column over to Barbara Stocking of Oxfam, who makes a forceful case for stepping up help to the most vulnerable around the world. “Data Spotlight” looks at trends in inflation, which has fallen into negative territory in some countries during the crisis, and in “Point-Counterpoint,” two experts discuss the pros and cons of remittances—funds repatriated by migrant workers to family and friends back home. “Back to Basics” gives a primer on international trade.