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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Growth has been strong in recent years and some moderation is expected, with risks skewed to the downside. High fishing revenues improved the fiscal position, but generated pressure to increase spending. There has been progress on fiscal and structural reforms. Yet, public spending needs are large, driven by an infrastructure gap and climate adaptation costs, and the country remains at high risk of debt distress.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Solomon Islands has made substantial progress since the Tensions in the early 2000s but faces considerable economic and governance challenges and is highly vulnerable to natural disasters. The logging industry confronts depletion and new sources of growth are needed. Governance challenges are significant, stemming from weak oversight of the resource sectors, a lack of transparency and a need to strengthen public financial management.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Tuvalu is a fragile micro state. The country’s remoteness, narrow production base, and weak banking sector constrain private sector activity, leaving public expenditure as the main source of growth. The DSA finds that Tuvalu remains at high risk of debt distress.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Context. Donor-financed large infrastructure projects, increased public spending, and a pick-up in credit to households have boosted real GDP growth to close to 4 percent in 2014 and to about 3 percent in 2015. Inflation remains low, underpinned by lower food and commodity prices. Steps are being taken to reduce the many hurdles to private growth that Kiribati faces, among which are high transportation and communication costs and an increasing impact of climate change. Fiscal policy. The fiscal outlook has improved, but further efforts are needed to ensure sustainability. The recurrent balance was in large surplus in 2014 and is expected to remain positive in 2015, reflecting high revenue from license fees, and notwithstanding a large increase in expenditures. But under the historic pace of spending the sovereign wealth fund (Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund—RERF) would be depleted in about 20 years. Ensuring sustainability requires containing nominal expenditure growth to around 1½ per annum over the next five years (after accommodating climate-change-related costs), with transparent and symmetric transfers and withdrawals from the RERF around this path. Structural reforms. There is a consensus among donors that significant progress has been achieved. The State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) Reform Act is being implemented in a satisfactory way, as illustrated by the recent successful privatization of the telecommunication company. Key outstanding issues include further reforming the energy and copra sectors and improving the investment climate.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
KEY ISSUES Kiribati’s key economic challenges are to reduce large structural fiscal imbalances and increase growth and employment opportunities, while facing obstacles posed by remoteness, lack of scale, vulnerabilities to external shocks and climate change. The significant fiscal consolidation envisaged by the authorities will help stabilize Kiribati’s sovereign wealth fund (the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund, or RERF) in real per capita terms. This stabilization effort would also require that fishing license fees remain close to recent exceptionally high levels, with windfall incomes relative to the conservative budgeted baseline saved. In the event of weaker fishing license fee revenues, a more ambitious adjustment in the non-fishing budget would be needed. The small private sector share in the economy due to remoteness and weaknesses in business climate constrains growth and puts strain on public finances. Continuing the fiscal and structural reform program is essential. Climate change brings additional risks and fiscal costs. Main Recommendations: • Continue fiscal reforms designed to deliver fiscal consolidation and improved public financial management. Seek to maintain fishing license fees above the current conservative budget baseline, with windfalls saved to strengthen RERF balances. If fishing license fee windfalls cannot be sustained, explore other options to further strengthen fiscal balances. • Continue reforms of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). • Facilitate growth through improving the business climate and infrastructure, including through streamlining government services.
Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides
This paper develops the theoretical background for the Limited Information Bayesian Model Averaging (LIBMA). The proposed approach accounts for model uncertainty by averaging over all possible combinations of predictors when making inferences about the variables of interest, and it simultaneously addresses the biases associated with endogenous and omitted variables by incorporating a panel data systems Generalized Method of Moments estimator. Practical applications of the developed methodology are discussed, including testing for the robustness of explanatory variables in the analyses of the determinants of economic growth and poverty.
Shujing Li, Mr. Hamid Faruqee, and Isabel K. Yan
Despite the liberalization of foreign portfolio investment around the globe since the early 1980s, the home-bias phenomenon is still found to exist. Using a relatively new IMF survey dataset of cross-border equity holdings, this paper tests new structural equations from a consumption-based asset-pricing model on international portfolio holdings. Using of stock data allows us to provide new and clear-cut evidence on the determinants of international portfolio holdings.