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Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Mr. Xuefei Bai, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

The work on the small states is an important component of the IMF’s global policy agenda. Among the 36 member countries covered by the IMF Asia and Pacific Department (APD), 13 countries are developing small states—most of which are Pacific islands. As part of APD’s ongoing effort to increase its engagement with regional small states and their development partners and enhance information sharing within the IMF, this issue marks the launch of the APD Small States Monitor, a quarterly bulletin featuring the latest economic developments, country notes from the most recent Article IV staff reports, special topics, past and upcoming events, and forthcoming IMF research on small states. In future issues, we will also host contributions from the authorities of small states and their development partners on key policy topics. Our goal is to exchange knowledge and deepen our understanding of the policy challenges these economies face to better tailor our policy advice.

International Monetary Fund

The First Review Under the Standby Credit Facility (SCF) discusses Solomon Islands’ satisfactory performance under the SCF-supported program, approved in December 2011. The current arrangement is intended to be precautionary and, given the current level of reserves, the authorities do not intend to draw on the IMF's resources unless an unexpected need arises. The outlook remains favorable, but with large near-term downside risks. Substantial progress has been made toward implementing structural benchmarks.

Mr. Yiqun Wu, Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello, and Niamh Sheridan
Regional integration of Pacific Island countries (PICs) with Australia, New Zealand, and emerging Asia has increased over the last two decades. PICs have become more exposed to the region’s business cycles, and spillovers from regional economies are more important for PICs than from advanced economies outside the region. While strong linkages with Asia would help in the event of a global downturn, PICs remain particularly vulnerable to global commodity price shocks. In this paper, we use a Vector Error Correction Model (VECM) for each PIC to gauge the impact of global and regional growth spillovers. The analysis reveals that the impact on PICs’ growth from an adverse oil shock would be substantial, and in some cases even larger than from a negative global demand shock. We also assess the spillovers to the financial sector from the deterioration of the global outlook. PICs should continue to rebuild policy buffers and implement growth-oriented structural reforms to ensure sustained and inclusive growth.
International Monetary Fund

Solomon Islands’ economy has rebounded from the 2008–09 global financial crisis. An 18-month Standby Credit Facility has been approved in June 2010 and succeeded in restoring macroeconomic and financial stability. A new resource taxation regime is the key to reap the benefits from natural resource wealth and ensure that the government receives a fair share of mining revenue. Reforms of mining legislation should be a key part of a broader set of measures to improve the investment climate and the regulatory framework.

Thomas Helbling Nese Erbil and Mrs. Marina V Rousset

'Crisis Shakes Europe: Stark Choices Ahead' looks at the harsh toll of the crisis on both Europe's advanced and emerging economies because of the global nature of the shocks that have hit both the financial sector and the real economy, and because of Europe's strong regional and global trade links. Marek Belka, Director of the IMF's European Department, writes in our lead article that beyond the immediate need for crisis management, Europe must revisit the frameworks on which the European Union is based because many have been revealed to be flawed or missing. But in many respects, one key European institution has proved its mettle—the euro. Both Charles Wyplosz and Barry Eichengreen discuss the future of the common currency. Also in this issue, IMF economists rank the current recession as the most severe in the postwar period; John Lipsky, the Fund's First Deputy Managing Director, examines the IMF's role in a postcrisis world; and Giovanni Dell'Ariccia assesses what we have learned about how to manage asset price booms to prevent the bust that has caused such havoc. In addition, we talk to Oxford economist Paul Collier about how to help low-income countries during the current crisis, while Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, writes about how African policymakers can prepare to take advantage of a global economic recovery. 'Picture This' looks at what happens when aggressive monetary policy combats a crisis; 'Back to Basics' gives a primer on fiscal policy; and 'Data Spotlight' takes a look at the recent large swings in commodity prices.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Inflation has been rising in the Pacific islands on the back of strong increases in commodity prices.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper describes the World Bank’s mission in a changing world. Conditionality of the Bank is different in several ways as it operates over a longer timeframe and relates to the more comfortable issues of economic growth rather than financial stabilization. The longer timeframes of the Bank’s programs require reaching agreement with borrowing countries on the desirability of maintaining the course that’s being advocated for an extended period. Many developing countries are unduly sensitive about the possibility that they may have to exercise their sovereignty more forcefully in the future.

Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Mr. Xuefei Bai, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

How involved is the IMF in the Pacific?

Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Mr. Xuefei Bai, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

Average growth in the small states in the Asia and Pacific region remained weak (1 percent) in 2013 and underperformed that in other small states—2 percent. However, activity within the Asia-Pacific small states was uneven, with commodity exporters growing at the rate of 3 percent which, while robust, was lower than past rates (Figure 1). Economic performance in the microstates (i.e., countries with a population below 200,000—Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu) lagged behind with growth estimated at less than 1 percent. Inflation has remained broadly in check. These countries remain highly vulnerable to natural disasters as shown by the recent cyclones in Tonga and Vanuatu, and severe floods in Solomon Islands.

Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Mr. Xuefei Bai, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller

Abstract

Fishing license fees are a major source of revenue in several Pacific island countries (Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Tuvalu). In 2013 the fee earnings ranged from 15 percent of total revenues in the Marshall Islands to 65 percent in Kiribati. Despite the large fishery-derived wealth, PICs still have enormous untapped marine resources and further efforts are under way to properly leverage and manage them. First, the ratio of the income PICs receive by selling fishing rights to foreign companies to the value of the fish catch is very low. Second, an improperly designed access right scheme could lead to the overexploitation of marine resources. This would mean a decline in the fish supply (mainly tuna) and, eventually, a depletion of fish stocks, which would undermine fiscal sustainability. Finally, the intrinsic volatility of revenue from fishing license fees poses a challenge for fiscal policy.2